Breaking of water

Your water may break at any time during the labour. Sometimes labour begins with water breaking and contractions come later, while sometimes the bag of water breaks when the baby comes out. Water breaking may feel quite different each time. Sometimes water breaks with force and there is no doubt about what happened. Sometimes water is just dripping out and it can be difficult to tell whether your water has broken or if it is just vaginal discharge. If you suspect breaking of water, wear a sanitary pad and follow the situation. The water never comes out in one go; it keeps coming throughout the labour. More water develops all the time.

When water is coming, you can stay at home for about 12 hours and wait for the onset of contractions if 

  • your pregnancy has been normal
  • the water is clear or pale pink in colour
  • your baby is in normal presentation with the head down
  • you can feel the baby’s movements


Nevertheless, call the hospital as soon as you notice that your water has broken. The midwife will give you more instructions.

If the water contains blood or is green,
if the baby is in breech presentation
or you are expecting twins, 
come to the hospital immediately.


Most mothers will go into active labour within 24 hours of the breaking of water. However, you should go to the hospital after 12 hours, because the breaking of water increases infection risk. If your labour does not begin spontaneously it is usually induced about 24 hours after the breaking of water. At the hospital, the baby's condition is monitored with CTG (Cardiotocography), and signs of infection in the mother are monitored in blood samples. If needed, the mother is administered antibiotics intravenously during labour in order to prevent infections.

For more information on induced labour, please see the attached PDF file Induced labour guide.