When your "water breaks," it means your amniotic sac has ruptured and labor is usually imminent (if not already under way). But what does this actually feel like? Does it feel like a pop? Is it a big gush or a slow leak?
The answer: Any of the above. Everyone's experience is different. Here's what our site moms had to say.
The gush or splash
For some moms, the water really does gush out – either in the hospital bed or in a more surprising setting:
"A huge gush of fluid went all over the floor."
"A huge rush of water came from deep inside. Weirdest feeling!"
"It felt like a 5-gallon bucket of water had spilled out. With the next five contractions, more water came gushing out."
"I got up and was walking into the kitchen when a massive amount of water gushed from between my legs."
"An extreme gush – nothing like urinating. It didn't stop or slow down! Grossest feeling ever."
"It was like someone put a hose on full blast between my legs."
Many women feel a popping sensation when their water breaks. For others, the pop is audible:
"There was a pop, like someone cracking a knuckle, and then a gush."
"I heard a pop, then all of a sudden a large gush and a bunch of leaking."
"I felt a popping sensation, followed by an immediate gush of very warm fluid that soaked through my pants. A little more would leak out every time I moved."
"I'd already had an epidural and was lying in the hospital bed. It felt like a water balloon popped between my legs."
"A water balloon popping. It didn't hurt; it just was suddenly very wet."
Many women experience trickling or leaking instead of the more dramatic gushing:
"I felt a warm trickle of fluid down my legs."
"It was so slow that I thought it was sweat or normal discharge."
"I seriously thought I had wet my pants. I went to the bathroom three times and changed my clothes before realizing that I wasn't suffering from pregnancy incontinence. It didn't happen like in the movies."
"I went for a walk at the hospital to relieve my contractions, and at one point I bent over to throw up. I thought the pressure of throwing up had made me pee – very embarrassing. It turned out that the pressure had actually made my water break."
"I felt really wet, and it was slowly leaking. Over time, it began to leak more and more until it started gushing."
Not a dramatic gush, but not just a little trickle either – some women go for the middle ground:
"It felt like small gushes, like when you first start your period."
"Imagine a heavy period dripping down your leg."
"I was shopping at a big store, and when I turned, I felt a small gush. It felt like period discharge."
"It wasn't a trickle but not a gush either."
The feeling of relief
Many moms feel a sense of relief when their water breaks. For some, their labor then gets more intense:
"Relief! That's when it was time to push."
"A huge pop, then relief from some of the pressure."
"I only remember relief for a brief second and then more pain."
"A slight relief for the moment, then more intensity as my baby was really coming out."
"It felt awesome. I was already in labor and lying in the hospital bed, on my back. For a few minutes before, I felt like I was leaking, but I didn't know if it was that or if I was sweating. Then all of a sudden I felt a gush all the way to my ankles and the pressure inside me was released, and I laughed because it felt so good."
"When my water broke (by itself) I was about 9 cm. After being in so much pain, it felt amazing, like I had a few extra moments of peace before the pain started again. All of the pressure was gone for a few moments. And it was warm."
"I needed to push, and when I did, my water gushed out. I felt a huge sense of relief."
"My water broke 15 minutes before my son was born. I was already completely dilated. It felt like warm water pouring out of my body. It was pleasant, compared with all that pain!"
The unnoticed water break
Some women aren't aware of their water breaking:
"I couldn't feel it because I had already had my epidural."
"I didn't even know it broke until I realized I was wet."
"I didn't know until I woke up and went to the bathroom and my underwear was wet."
"I didn't feel it because my baby was crowning."
"I didn't know what had happened. I got up and the chair was wet. I still didn't feel anything in particular except that afterward, the contractions hurt more."
"I didn't realize it had broken until I saw the wetness on the hospital bed."
"I felt nothing. I just noticed some leaking during contractions, and the nurse confirmed that it had broken, probably during an internal exam."
The rude awakening
Water doesn't always break during civilized hours:
"When my water broke, I was asleep in bed. The initial little gush woke me up (mother's intuition, I guess)."
"I woke up in a giant puddle!"
"It woke me up. It felt like a major gush of blood like when you stand up during your period after lying down for a long time."
The unstoppable force
A sure sign that your water has broken – once it starts, you can't stop it:
"It felt like urine was coming out, so I did a few Kegels to try and stop it, and it wouldn't stop. That's when I knew it was my water."
"I was actually on the toilet about to take a shower before my scheduled induction. I stood up, and felt like a gush similar to a period. So I sat back down, and after it seemed done, I stood up and it happened again. I started laughing, which woke my husband up. I couldn't get up from the toilet because it kept coming every time."
"It felt weird because it was uncontrollable."
"I went to the bathroom because I felt a little wet, and after I finished peeing, I still heard something going in the toilet. I guess that's kind of what it feels like, a perpetual pee."
"It felt like pee was constantly running out of me and there was nothing I could do about it."