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Urgent - breaking waters

(20 Posts)
kaz33 Thu 29-May-03 17:03:50

Now in labour and not progressing very well. The doctor has suggested that i could have my waters broken to help things along if things stay the same.

What does this entail ? And, are there any down sides ?

pie Thu 29-May-03 17:13:08

No medical advice here, but from personal experience it turned out ok. My labour progressed really really slowly, 36 hours in all. It took about 30 hours for me to get to 6cm dilation. At that point the midwife suggested she brake my waters, I think that this increases the bodies natural contraction stimulaiting hormones, or maybe they are in the amniotic fluid.

All she did was take a small plastic implement, about 10 inches long which a tiny hook at the top. Its was so quick, she just sort of tugged at the sac and woosh. I'm quite glad they did as it sped up the labour, also there was meconium in the water so there was a doctor on hand to check DD as soon as she was born.

I don't know if there are any medical downsides, but from personal experience it did speed things up and in my exhausted state that was a good thing.


BTW how are you getting on line if you are in labour??

kaz33 Thu 29-May-03 17:17:30

At home, been sent home by hospital as only 3cm dilated at 10.30 this morning. Contractions only 7 minutes apart at the moment. Now been in labour since 3am this morning and this is my second baby !! Looks like another all nighter.

Blame it on the sex last night - hope DP realises its last for a while.

M2T Thu 29-May-03 17:17:40

My mum had her waters broken with my brother (he's now 11). SHe has informed me that it was totally painless..... the doc literally put a small hook type thing in and burst the amniotic sac. My brother came whooshing out with the amniotic fluids and one little push!

Good Luck!!

So excited for you!!!!!!!!!

WedgiesMum Thu 29-May-03 17:18:13

The thing about breaking your waters is that it removes the 'cushion' for your baby's head on your cervix and increases the pressure down from the inside nand thus helping you dilate quicker - and in my experience the baby was able to help with the pushing process by actually shoving from the inside!

Good luck!

pie Thu 29-May-03 17:19:32

Fouund this:

When is it Safe to Rupture Membranes?
Just so I'll be prepared when it's my time, in everyone's opinion, when is it acceptable to let the ob or midwife break your water? Is there a possibility of prolapsed cord if you don't? It will speed things up correct?


This is a complicated topic. Some things to consider:

If the membranes rupture "naturally", it is likely to be during a contraction, when there's the most pressure on the membranes. During a contraction, there's also the most force pushing the baby into the pelvis, and the baby has a better chance of getting there before the cord, if it is in any way likely to prolapse (long cord or high baby)..

When the membranes are artificially ruptured, the person doing it may opt to do it in between contractions, because most moms aren't thrilled about having somebody's hands in up to their cervix during a contraction, and the safest technique often involves putting two hands inside. When the membranes are ruptured in between contractions, the baby's head isn't being naturally pressed into the pelvis to keep the cord from prolapsing. However, it is possible for an assistant to hold the baby so that the head is deep enough into the pelvis that it would lessen the chance of prolapse. And, it is often possible to do a pinprick rupture of membranes by holding the membranes between your fingers and tearing them slightly or pricking them with a pin and then continuing to hold them like this while letting the fluid drain out slowly. If you do these last two together, you can greatly reduce the likelihood of any possible prolapse. And I've never seen it done in the hospital. (Probably too midwifey - have you ever noticed that hospital staff rarely touch the mom's belly - they don't seem to palpate for the baby's position to check for posterior or surprise breech, and they never seem to know where the baby's heart is likely to be - they just keep searching with the Doppler, which is apparently the ultimate authority.)

So, there's a little background on the prolapse issue.

There are midwives I know who would consider it a very grave intervention to rupture membranes and would only do it if:

The mom's been in active labor for several hours and the baby isn't descending, apparently because of lots of fluid.
You've been seeing funky heart tones that might suggest the baby's been releasing meconium, and the mom's at 8 cm and you want to be sure there's not thick meconium that would best be transported. (Legally anyway - it's not clear it's medically useful. The parents might want to make this choice.)
Birth is imminent. There's some fear that babies born in the caul might aspirate the fluid after they're born. This is similar to the fear that babies will breathe in water at a waterbirth, although I've never seen any studies to indicate that either fear was well founded.
Risks of artificial rupture of membranes include prolapse, risk of infection if vaginal exams are done after the membranes break, and increased stress on the baby.
Most caregivers are bright enough to prevent prolapse, and some are smart enough not to rupture membranes until active labor is well established.

However, there's not much you can do about the added stress on the baby. The biggest danger is that without all that fluid cushioning the cord, there may be cord compression that compromises the baby's oxygen supply. You know how antsy OBs get if you go postdates and they worry that you might not have "enough fluid"? Well, the concern about too little fluid before labor is because:

Too little fluid may reflect a degradation of the placenta.
Regardless of cause, too little fluid may increase the likelihood of cord compression.
With membranes ruptured during labor, you know what caused it and aren't worried about placental degradation. However, the issue of cord compression is even more serious because the baby is under the added stress of labor. It's usually not a big deal and listening periodically to the baby's heart rate will let you know whether the baby's in distress, but it's an avoidable risk.

More medically useful....hey you got a webcam??

Or second thoughts maybe not.

nobby Thu 29-May-03 17:49:51

God, I'm so impressed that you are on mumsnet whilst in labour... maybe one day we'll have a birth live on the site - with a typist, of course, for when things really get moving

StripyMouse Thu 29-May-03 18:08:08

kaz - I am also impressed you can still type!! Consider having it done carefuly if I were you. With dd1 I had mine broken for me (not given much choice in the matter - pushy mw) and was totally unprepared for the results. For me, hte pain of having two hands inside me (ouch) was nothing compared with the shock and pain of the increased severity of contractions. The pain level went through the roof and I felt very frightened and out of control as i had been totally unprepared for it. I ended up taking more pain relief than I had initially wanted because I was so scared and in pain. I am not trying to frighten you - just letting you know that it may well help to speed things up and this could well hurt! If I have to have my waters broken for me next time I will first make sure that it is only a last resort and for the health of the baby and then take pain relief before it is done (ie. epidural). I am sure I could have coped better if I were prepared for the sudden increase and strength of contractions. Good Luck - i hope that it doesn’t come to having your waters broken but if it does, be prepared and go with it - it could speed everything up for you and get you nearer to that point where you will be holding your baby. Good Luck

kaz33 Thu 29-May-03 18:08:09

Well there is nothing on the TV and where better to be than with loads of people who know exactly what i am going through.

Just been reading the second labour thread to find inspiration. No one has said there second was worse, thats cheered me up.

StripyMouse Thu 29-May-03 18:10:24

I have just read that again Kaz - hope it doesn’t worry you - just letting you know of my own experiences and have heard of plenty other women who were also shocked at how it moved things on so quickly. Stay positive.

ames Thu 29-May-03 18:11:01

can only add my experience of having my waters broken which is in itself painless but I did find contractions went from being managable too continous and absolute hell which i was not prepared for. dd was born 7 hours afterward. with ds my waters didnt break until very near the end (and i didn't want them broken) and labour was no way near as painfull. i'm sure not having my aters broken had something to do with this. good luck anyway!

kaz33 Thu 29-May-03 18:16:00

Thanks Stripymouse - we have decided that going back into hospital won't probabaly help so are trying to maintain a level of control by staying at home as long as possible. Also i don't want my waters broken if possible, a feeling of loss of control in my last labour totally stressed me out. My parents can get here within 10 minutes and DP is just cooking me some pasta - carbo loading for the long night ahead.

kaz33 Thu 29-May-03 18:23:54

DP has just got a glass of his prized white burgundy out to go with my pasta - delicious. Wouldn't get that at the Chelsea & Westminster !!

Thanks ladies, the info on having your waters broken has really helped. I feel a lot clearer about what we are going to do.

lou33 Thu 29-May-03 18:51:01

When I had my waters broken ds was born 22 minutes later. I was 4cm up to that point.

mears Thu 29-May-03 19:55:44

Kaz33 - if you are still there it sounds very much as if you are in the pre-labour phase. That is not to say you are not having contractions, it means that they are not effectively dilating the cervix at the moment ( they might be now though). This is a normal start but it is important to remember it is not active labour. Enjoy this time at home, eating, drinking and being merry
If you had gone back to the hospital this morning to have your waters broken, you would really have been getting induced. You have been so wise to stay at home and let labour start gently and naturally.

It is a different story if you cannot cope with the contractions, and you are not dilating. That is perhaps when breaking the waters can get things going. There is no doubt that contractions become more painful after your waters have been broken.

If nature does it's job efficiently, your waters break during second stage. That means the baby is cushioned more throughout labour. Hopefully everything will happen for you as nature intends.

You sound as though you are coping beautifully at home - stay there as long as you can. Best wishes, mears.

kaz33 Thu 29-May-03 20:14:01

Thanks Mears. Contractions are getting more frequent and stronger but still coping.

M2T Thu 29-May-03 20:30:44

WOW - And you're still posting! You really are a Mumsnet addict.

Good luck....... breeeeeeeath.

judetheobscure Thu 29-May-03 20:35:15

kaz - just to say I had my waters artificially ruptured with my first two (they were both premature so the medical staff wanted to speed things up a bit). I don't remember any sudden increase in pain etc. and the process was much like an internal, ie. ouch inducing but short-lived.

However, although my experience of the procedure was fine, I'm not convinced that it was necessary. You sound like you want to avoid it if possible and I would be the same; but if it does have to happen it won't necessarily be unbearable.

Anyway, wishing you all the best and looking forward to an announcement in due course.

mears Fri 30-May-03 09:16:45

should be news soon eh?

tigermoth Fri 30-May-03 10:03:51

Wow, Kaz, how are you? there you were last evening, at home, sipping best white burgundy, posting on mumnset while gently going into labour. Fantastic Hope you are feeling OK this morning.

I wonder if mumsnet will be responsible for a rise in the number of women wanting home births? I can picture it now - mumsnetters going into contraction insisting 'don't take me away to hospital, I haven't read mears advice yet, and have to post some news.....'

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