Release Of Membranes


Your baby has been growing inside a fluid-filled membranous sac called the amniotic sac, through your pregnancy. And it is like a liquid cushion that protects your baby. When membranes release, the amniotic fluid can either trickle or gush out. This is what we call the ‘water bag breaking’ or ‘water breaking’.

Further, water breaking is also known as the ‘rupture of the membranes’, in medical terms. And we would like to rephrase it to ‘release of membranes’. 

Your membranes will release either at the beginning of labor or during active labor. If they release earlier than 37 weeks, it is known as PROM - pre-labor release of membranes and requires immediate medical attention.

You have been led to believe that when your membranes are released, it means the baby is coming out. In some cases, this may be true. Otherwise, it is just to signal that your baby is on his/her way because at times it may take a day or two for your baby to arrive, after the water bag breaks!

In most cases, labor will begin with contractions and sometimes in the course of the labor, your water bag may release with a gush. In this case, you would already be in the hospital and this release will speed up the contractions. However, for some women, membranes may release early, even before the contractions begin. This may happen as a slow leak or trickle!

Important things to know about membranes releasing;

  1. Check the colour and smell of the fluid. Amniotic fluid is straw colour to colourless and has no smell. In case, you see a colour namely green, brown or red, it will need a further check by your care provider. The baby may have passed its first stool (meconium) within the womb and that requires medical attention.
  2. Check if it is a gush or trickle. A gush with no prior contractions needs to be evaluated by the care provider.
  3. Stay informed about how long you need to wait before any interventions or checks or any medication can be prescribed, including antibiotics. This is a discussion you need to have with your care provider before labor begins.
  4. Try not to panic - this is a natural part of labor. Not everyone may experience it, but if your membranes do release, it is a step closer to seeing your baby. Just make sure you have a plan in place for this occurrence, so that you can make informed decisions in the hospital.


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