Do you know that despite the water breaking (the rupture of membranes) often being shown in Hollywood movies as the first sign of labor, only around 8% of women will actually have their water break before labor begins?
That’s right – for 92% of women the waters won’t break until they are well into strong labor, generally in what’s often called “active labor” or when the contractions are extra powerful and close together.
Sometimes the waters won’t break until the baby is coming out, or rarely they won’t break at all and the baby will be born still encased in the amniotic sack – called an “en caul,” “veiled,” or “mermaid” birth.
The bag of waters (amniotic sack + fluid) provide a cushion for the baby which protects against the pressure of contractions, as well as having other benefits.
Since AROM (amniotomy aka artificial rupture of membranes) doesn’t speed up labor and increases the risk of other interventions, it’s best to let the waters break on their own time.