Can You Not Know When Your Water Breaks?

QUESTION

Dear Midwife,
I had a very hard and long labor with my second child. My midwife tried to break my bag of waters and found out that it had already broke.

The only thing is...I didn't notice it. I know my bag of waters did not break or I would have noticed. Apart from that I was full term, but my daughter only weighed in at 5# 3oz. What do you make of this? Could I have problems in a future pregnancy with low amniotic fluid?

ANSWER

Sometimes if the bag of waters breaks on the toilet, and then the baby's head is wedged in tightly enough so that there isn't much (or any) leaking, it is possible for a woman to miss the fact that her water has actually broken. Usually there is a little dripping that doesn't seem to quit, but just keeps coming off and on, but not necessarily.

What happened before doesn't mean anything for this pregnancy. If you drink your gallon of water plus other fluids every day, it is unlikely that your baby will have low fluid.

-- Cynthia, CNM. PhD.

Cynthia Flynn

Cynthia Flynn, CNM. PhD, is the General Director of the Family Health and Birth Center which provides prenatal, birth, postnatal, gynecological and primary health care to underserved women and their families in Washington, D.C. Recently Cynthia served as Associate Professor of Nursing at Seattle University. There she not only taught, but remained in full scope clinical midwifery practice at Valley Medical Center where she cared for pregnant and birthing women, and practices well-woman gynecology, family planning, and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases.

Cynthia founded Columbia Women's Clinic and Birth Center, where she took care of pregnant women and infants up to two weeks of age and attended both birth center and hospital births. Before Cynthia earned her CNM, she worked as a registered nurse in labor and delivery and postpartum and is a certified Doula and Doula trainer.