Your water can break even if your cervix is still closed. Usually, the rupture of your amniotic sac is a sign that your labor will start soon and thus will begin the dilation and effacement of your cervix. If your labor doesn’t start soon though, and that’s within 24 hours, you have to go to your doctor so that they can induce labor for you, as you are at risk of maternal and fetal infection after your amniotic sac has ruptured. If you want to help your body start the dilation of your cervix, you can do certain things, such as walking around, drinking lots of water, or taking showers to help your cervix dilate faster.
There’s no problem if your amniotic sac has broken, and yet your cervix is not dilated.
Sometimes, your cervix only begins to dilate once your labor starts. This can happen, especially if it’s your first pregnancy.
Your water breaking is not a sign that your labor is starting. However, your water breaking signifies that your labor will start soon.
You are at higher risk of infection when your amniotic sac ruptures, so it is essential to take careful measures.
When you go to the bathroom, wipe thoroughly from front to back. You can also wear sanitary pads to soak up your fluids, but refrain from using tampons.
If your labor doesn’t start within 24 hours, your water breaking is called prelabor rupture of membranes (PROM).
You will need medical intervention to induce labor, as your baby is at risk of infection because its protective barrier is gone.
Your doctor will stimulate uterine contractions to help you start your labor.
When should your water break?
Your water should break around 37 weeks of pregnancy.
If your amniotic sac ruptures before that, it is called preterm premature rupture of membranes (PRPROM). You should go to your doctor immediately, even if you’re having contractions.
Can your cervix be closed and still go into labor?
Yes, it is possible to get your cervix closed, and you still go into labor. That’s because the process of labor doesn’t happen all at once.
You can be on varying degrees of dilation (the opening of your cervix) or effacement (this refers to how thin, stretched, or short the cervix is) even when your labor starts.
It differs for each individual.
For example, a woman can be at 2cm dilation and 30% effacement and then go into true labor within a day, and another can go for days or weeks at this stage even before true labor begins.
How can I get my cervix to dilate?
You can do many things to get your cervix to dilate during pregnancy.
1. Drink water
Drinking water is an excellent way to increase the lubrication of your vagina and help with labor.
Drinking more water can also help you stay hydrated, which can help prevent nausea and dizziness.
2. Take a warm bath or shower
A warm bath or shower will help relax your body and increase the blood flow throughout your body.
This will help with cervical dilation as well.
3. Massage your perineum and back of your thighs
These areas are often overlooked during birth preparation, but they are important for getting your cervix ready for labor.
Massaging these areas helps prepare them for the baby’s head to move down so that when it does move down, it won’t hurt as much!
4. Walking around
If you can, walking around the room may help speed up the dilation of your cervix. This is because the weight of your baby applies pressure to your cervix.
Six signs that your labor is starting soon
- You may feel that your baby has dropped in your belly. There will be space between your breasts and your abdomen, and the shortness of breath you’ve been feeling has been alleviated. It will, however, put more pressure on your bladder, thus making you go to the bathroom more often.
- Cervix effacement begins. This is when your cervix stretches and shortens to the point of paper thinness. Effacement is measured in percentage. So 0% means your cervix has not “ripened” or stretched yet, and 100% is the point of paper thinness.
- Your cervix is dilating. This is when your cervix opening is getting wider, preparing for your baby’s birth. It is measured in centimeters. You usually undergo active labor once you’re at 4cm, and you’re ready to deliver and start pushing at 10cm.
- Your mucus plug dislodges. This is when you pass a thick stringy discharge that may appear bloody, pink, or brown. The mucus plug seals off your cervix and prevents bacteria from entering.
- Your water breaks. Again, this can happen before your cervix dilates or has effaced. You should be checked by your doctor once your water has broken to prevent infection.
- Your contractions start. This is the most obvious sign that your labor is starting. True contractions often last for 30 to 70 seconds, and you may notice a pattern.
Should I go to the hospital if my water breaks and I have no contractions?
It would help if you immediately went to your physician or midwife once your water breaks, whether you have contractions or not.
This is so they can provide you with the right instructors because you are at higher risk of infection as the protective fluid is gone.
Even if your amniotic sac ruptures and your cervix is still closed, you do not have to worry yet.
Your water breaking is usually a sign that your labor is starting soon, and the dilation and effacement of your cervix come with the start of your labor.
If your labor doesn’t start yet, your doctor will induce labor (uterine contractions) to help you, as you and your baby are at higher risk of infection after your amniotic sac ruptures.
It is important to keep your vagina area clean and avoid the use of tampons. Instead, you can use sanitary pads or diapers to soak up your fluids.