Have my waters broken?

Have my waters have broken in pregnancy 20 weeks and over

Sometimes it is unclear whether your waters have broken or not. Water can come as “gush” or a slow trickle and so it is best to wear a maternity sanitary pad to monitor your loss.

What else could it be?

  • Women often get an increased vaginal discharge when pregnant called “leucorrhoea”. This can collect in the vagina whilst sat down or asleep and you may notice it once you stand up.

  • Sometimes your baby’s head can be putting pressure on your bladder, and the loss you’re experiencing can be a bit of urine leaking.

  • If you notice a vaginal discharge following a bath, it is often a collection of bath water rather than your baby’s waters.

If unsure put a maternity sanitary pad on to monitor it.


Contact your maternity unit immediately if you think your water have broken and you have any of the following

  • You are less than 37 weeks pregnant.

  • The colour of your baby’s water is green or brown. This can be a sign your baby has had a poo inside you and needs to be monitored to check it is not a sign of distress.

  • There is blood in your baby’s waters 

  • You have noticed reduced baby movements throughout the day

  • Your vaginal loss is smelly

  • You are known to have a Group B Strep infection

  • You have previously had a baby before 34 weeks

  • You have HIV, Hepatitis B, C or active herpes lesions

Contact your maternity unit within 2 hours if you think your waters have broken and you have any of the following:

  • You are over 37 weeks

  • You feel your waters have broken and are clear in colour

  • Your baby is moving normally

  • If your sanitary pad is wet/ heavy after 4 hours. This may need to be confirmed for you at your maternity hospital or birth centre

If your sanitary pad is dry and you have no further vaginal loss after 4 hours it is very unlikely your waters have broken. Please continue to keep an eye on your sanitary pad and contact your maternity unit if there are any changes.

Self care

If you are unsure if your waters have broken wear a maternity sanitary pad.

Contact your maternity unit if you are still worried.

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