Broken membranes

About 9 out of 10 times the delivery starts with contractions. In 10% of the pregnant women the membranes break first and then the delivery starts. But how do you know that your membranes are broken? Because it is often not like in films that you have a puddle of amniotic fluid on the ground at once. How do you find out? What does amniotic fluid look like? And what should you do with broken membranes? You read it all in this blog!

What are membranes and what do they do?

Your little baby is enveloped by membranes. These membranes keep the amniotic fluid where your baby can move. In addition, it protects your baby against infections from outside. For the 14th week your baby grows in a so-called amniotic sac. After the 14th week of your pregnancy, this fruit bag will fill with moisture, this is called amniotic fluid. During the growth of your baby, the membranes become increasingly stretched and thinner.

Medics believe that the membranes eventually break through the action of hormones, certain enzymes and pressure created by contractions of the uterus or the weight of the baby.
If you give birth, the membranes have to 'break' or tear, otherwise the baby can not come out. In about 1 out of 10 women, the membranes break the contractions. The remaining 90% of the women get contractions first and then the membranes break.

How can the membranes break?

Recognizing broken membranes is not always as easy as in the films where women lose a puddle of water in one go. This only happens in a few cases and only if the membranes tear at your cervix. There are 3 ways you can break membranes:

  1. You lose a whole splash of water in one go.
  2. You lose bits at a time. It seems like you're doing little puddles, but you can not stop it.
  3. You lose a few drops at a time. Chances are you will not notice this at all. That is not bad.

How to recognize broken membranes?

In 90% of cases you first contractions and then you lose amniotic fluid. But what if you first lose amniotic fluid and have no contractions? How do you know that your membranes are broken?

If you find yourself losing fluid down there that you can not stop, as is possible with urine, chances are that it is amniotic fluid. Fruit water is odorless or smells a bit sweet. The color of the amniotic fluid is transparent and there are often some white flakes (skin flakes). The amniotic fluid can also be a little rosy if there is some blood. In addition, it can sometimes be green or brown in color. If you notice that you should really call the midwife right away. Your baby has then pooped into the amniotic fluid. If your baby inhales this, it can block the airways. So you have to act quickly.

Mops broken when giving birth

If you have broken membranes without first having contractions, the delivery can then start soon. But it can also happen that you do not get contractions yet. In 70% of the women the birth starts within 24 hours. At 90% the birth starts after 48 hours. And at 95%, the birth really starts within 72 hours.

If the amniotic fluid that you lost was clear, there is nothing left to worry about. You can call your midwife to report it. Probably your obstetrician will indicate that you have to wait a little longer. If the delivery is still not started after 72 hours, you will be introduced. If there are 24 hours or more between the moment of the membranes breaking and getting started of the delivery, you should always give birth in the hospital. This way they can keep a close eye on whether your baby has not gotten any infections.

How much moisture with broken membranes?

On average you lose about 600 to 800 milliliters of amniotic fluid when your membranes break. But you do not have to see this at once. It can also come in small amounts that you do not understand.

Risk of broken membranes

With broken membranes you have a greater chance of infections in the uterus. That is because the membranes normally protect the uterus. This protection is now being eliminated, which makes it easier for bacteria to enter the uterus. Therefore, if your membranes are broken, you must go to the midwife every day to check. The midwife will, among other things, monitor your temperature, your heart rate and that of your baby. If these are increased, there may be an infection.

What to do with broken membranes

If you have contractions, it is always good to call the midwife right away. If you only have broken membranes, you can always make a report of this. If your amniotic fluid is clear, you do not have to call immediately if it is in the middle of the night, provided your childbirth starts. You can also wait until the working day has started. If the amniotic fluid is green or brown, you should always call your midwife. Also in the middle of the night. Call your midwife immediately if you know your baby is lying in the breech and your membranes are broken.

Usually the birth starts within 72 hours. If that is not the case, you will be introduced to the hospital. During the waiting period, you have to go to your midwife every day to have your temperature and heart rate measured. If there is still no indication of a delivery after 24 hours, a culture is taken from the vagina to check that no dangerous bacteria are gathering. You will always have to give birth in the hospital.

Tips for home with broken membranes

If you have broken membranes, it is very important that you carefully follow the instructions below so that you can prevent infections:

  • Do not bathe
  • Do not have a community with your partner
  • Do not use tampons
  • Change your sanitary napkin regularly
  • Showering is allowed
  • After each toilet visit, rinse your vagina with lukewarm tap water
  • Check your temperature every 6 hours

When to call midwife immediately after breaking of membranes?

If you notice the symptoms below after your broken membranes, call immediately!

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