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How Long After Water Breaks (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 48 hours

The water may break before or after the contraction begins. Once the water breaks, the baby can survive for around 48 hours without any risk. The baby inside the mother’s womb survives in a sac present inside the uterus. The sac is filled with water or amniotic fluid that surrounds the baby.

The premature rupture of membranes happens when the water breaks before the beginning of contraction. Premature rupture of the membrane is very rarely seen in women. If the water breaks before the expected time, then there will be premature birth of the baby.

How Long After Water Breaks?

Water BreaksHow Long After Water Breaks
Minimum time24 hours
Maximum time48 hours

The amniotic fluid inside the sac would work as a protective shield for the baby. The water inside the sac contains hormones and antibodies. The fluid is rich with nutrients that the baby needs. The baby drinks the water inside the sac.

The development of the baby happens inside the amniotic fluid. The baby’s lungs and digestive system would develop inside the sac only. After the 23rd week of the pregnancy, the baby would not completely depend on the amniotic fluid.

The baby after 23 weeks would take the required nutrients and oxygen from the placenta. During the final stage of pregnancy, the baby would require the sac only to get protection. The cord prolapse would happen if the sac is broken and the water breaks.

There are many other bacterial infections that may come to the baby if the sac is broken for a long time.

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The baby may be safe for a few days or weeks after the water breaks. It depends on what time the water breaks and the condition of the baby.

For a premature baby, the baby would be safe for a few weeks without any issues. The doctor would have to keep the baby under observation and monitoring. The mother may have to get admitted to the hospital if the water breaks for a premature baby.

If the water breaks after or during the 37 weeks of pregnancy, then the baby may be for around 48 hours. The doctor can wait for around 2 days for the labor to start naturally. The protocol for the women having water breaks during the 37 weeks would be different for all the women.

Why Water Breaks After This Long?

The water-breaking process is natural during the 37 weeks of pregnancy. The mothers need to be under medical monitoring after the water breaks. As anything can happen once the amniotic sac breaks inside the uterus. Sometimes, the mother may not know about the water breaks.

During the pregnancy, many discharges happen as a common process. The mother would be able to know if the water is broken by the following signs:

The mother would feel wet in her underwear. The vagina would be wet when water breaks.

The fluid would leak continuously may be in large or small quantities.

The fluid coming out would be either transparent or light yellow in appearance.

The fluid will be entirely free of any odor.              

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The people can ask or check with the doctor to know if it is the water break or not. The doctor would be doing a certain paper test for checking the PH level of the fluid. The doctor may have to do an ultrasound or physical exam to know if the fluid is urine or amniotic fluid.

If someone doesn’t get the labor after the water breaks, the doctor would have to do induction. Sometimes, the doctor may try other methods such as membrane sweeping if required. These techniques would bring the labor pain to give birth to the baby.

Once the water breaks, the doctor is supposed to take the required steps. As the risk of infection increases for both mother and child after the water breaks.

Conclusion

If the water breaks early, then the doctor will check the stability of the baby. If the condition of the mother and baby is stable, then the doctor would be able to deliver the baby in a few hours.

If there is any type of complications associated with the mother or baby, then the doctor would deliver on an urgent basis. There is no such way to prevent or postpone the water breaks in women. The woman should always have an eye on the fluid getting discharged from the vagina.

References

  1. https://europepmc.org/article/med/26241811
  2. https://heinonline.org/hol-cgi-bin/get_pdf.cgi?handle=hein.journals/yalpr32&section=6