The rupture of membranes

The rupture of membranes


In my previous blog I wrote about pregnancy, pesticides and bisphenol A. This week I'm going to tell you more about the rupture of the membranes. How to recognize it and what should you do when it happens.

The rupture of membranes

In about 10 percent of the cases, the birth begins with a small pop, followed by a big splash of amniotic fluid flowing over your legs. It is clear that the membranes have ruptured. In movies, everyone starts panicking, calls the ambulance, the woman is taken to the hospital with sirens and in a short time the baby is born.

In real life, it usually goes differently. Many women feel a very little amniotic fluid flow and are not sure at all whether the membranes are ruptured or not. Usually after the rupture of the membranes you can just get a few hours sleep, don't panic and forget about sirens.

With the rupture of the membranes, prostaglandin comes into your body. It is the hormone that gives a boost to start the contractions. There is a big chance that the contractions will soon come, do not panic, just let the childbirth go naturally.

How to recognize the amniotic fluid?

  • The well-known splash water;
  • The slightly sweet fragrance;
  • Small white flakes floating in it (if you can catch something in a glass);
  • Sometimes amniotic is green or brownish, it means that the baby pooped in the water.

So if you have all the time some translucent, odorless secretion, probably it's not amniotic fluid. It is quite normal to have more secretion at the end of your pregnancy. If you are still not sure - call your midwife and ask what they think. Probably they will just come over and gently do a little "shake" of the baby's head. Some babies are lying in your pelvis with their head sort of blocking the exit so that little amniotic fluid can pass. If you do a little shake of the baby's head, some moisture can flow out and you know for sure: the membranes have ruptured. Further you can check if it is amniotic fluid or not.

High rupture of membrane

Another possible reason for a small amount of amniotic fluid is a high rupture of the membrane. You can imagine that if there is a small hole in the membrane at the baby's feet at your ribs, it will take some time for the amniotic fluid to flow out.

The color of the amniotic fluid

Amniotic fluid is generally transparent as water, or light pink which is caused by a mixture of blood. Sometimes the baby has already pooped in your belly for the first time and you the amniotic fluid of green or brown color. This risk increases with gestational age. 20 percent of women who are 42 weeks pregnant have their babies pooped in the amniotic fluid. It is unsafe for the baby to spend some time surrounded by the meconium. The only risk is that the baby gets the meconium into his lungs. Although the risk is small, this is why we advise against a home birth in meconium amniotic fluid.

What to do now?

  • First just enjoy the fact that your baby is coming. There is a high chance you will have contractions in the night. 
  • Look closely at the color of the amniotic fluid. If it is it green or brown, it is wise to call your midwife or doctor. If it is transparent, then you can calmly wait for your contractions to start. 70 percent of women have labor within 24 hours.
  • When it is night: try to sleep as much as possible. At daytime: let your midwife know that your membranes have ruptured, read a book, watch a movie, take an afternoon nap. Relax and take it easy. Possibly make point massage to induce labor (see blog next week).

What not to do?

Now, the membranes have been broken, the protective layer between the baby and the outside world no longer exist. This gives a slightly increased risk of infection. The following precautions ensure that there are no bacteria in your vagina, and therefore not in the baby.

  • Do not insert tampons
  • Do not have sex
  • Do not take bath
  • Call the doctor if you have a fever (temperature above 37.8 degrees).