In 10% of cases, labour begins with rupturing of membranes — also known as your water breaking. Once your water have broken, contractions don’t necessarily begin immediately. If your water break in the night, ask yourself: was the baby’s head in the ideal position (fully engaged in the pelvis) at the most recent check up and is your amniotic fluid clear? If the answer is yes, try to have some more sleep. Contractions will often start within 24 hours but sometimes this may take a little longer. Give us a ring during the day when your water have broken but if you feel more comfortable with someone to speak to during the night, of course please ring us.
The process of labour usually goes through different stages. Initial contractions are not as strong and are irregular. During this phase your body is preparing itself for the upcoming birth. The initial phase can sometimes last between 10 and 12 hours, it is beneficial to experience this phase calmly. Once the contractions start, try not to focus on them too much and attempt to carry on with whatever you were doing at that time. Sometimes there is the opportunity to have some sleep between initial contractions. Once the contractions become more painful try to relax as much as possible: get rest when you are still able and breathe calmly or apply the breathing technique you have been taught at the pregnancy class. Find the best relaxing body position for yourself and try to have a calm and relaxing mood in the house. Usually this means to limit the amount of people around you. Warmth will help you relax, a warm house or a warm bath/shower.
When to contact us
- At 37 weeks of pregnancy you are full term, if you start labour before this time, please contact us immediately.
- Always contact us if you or your partner is concerned or if you need a consultation and/or advice.
- Contact us if the baby has stopped moving or moves less than before.
- Contact us if you are discharging bright red blood, don’t throw away the sanitary pads.
Loss of amniotic fluid
- Try to collect some of the fluid.
- Is the fluid green/dark brown? Call us immediately.
- Was the amniotic fluid clear/white/pink and was the baby’s head in the optimal position at your most recent check up? Then have a good night’s sleep and ring us in the morning to tell us your water have broken.
- Are you giving birth for the first time? Call us when contractions are 3 to 5 minutes apart over the space of an hour and last 1 minute.
- Have you given birth before? Call us when your contractions are regular at every 5 minutes and are the same as the previous birth.
In any case: if you are worried and/or need advice: call!