Loss of water, contractions: when to go to maternity?

Perte des eaux, contractions : quand partir à la maternité ?

Contractions painful or not, irregular or frequent, loss of water or crack in the pocket … How to tell the difference and know when is the right time to go to maternity? Our advices.

Unless it is programmed, difficult to know exactly when baby will point the tip of his nose! Contractions, water loss, fatigue, nauseas … Listen to your body: certain signals may indicate that labor has started. However, before rushing to the hospital, be sure to spot the concrete symptoms of childbirth. For a peaceful start to maternity, we take stock with Lucile Hewener, midwife.

Losing the waters marks the beginning of the birthing process. In fact, the first reason to go to your maternity emergency is the rupture of the water pocket. Concretely, if you feel an abundant loss of hot and clear liquid (the amniotic liquid) along your legs and it continues to flow on each of your trips, it is a frank loss of the water pocket and generally, the work begins a few hours later. These “waters” are in fact the amniotic fluid contained in the amnion or amniotic pocket, which shelters the fetus. The amnion fills with fluid as the fetus develops. “Put on a periodical protection and clean cloths and come quickly to the maternity, within the hour which follows, even if you do not feel contractions yet“says Lucile Hewener in the same way as a woman must go to the emergency room”if she loses a lot of blood (like periods) or if something abnormal happens“. Generally, the loss of water is accompanied by very painful contractions. On the other hand, if it is a water pocket crack, that is, if there is only a small amount of water flowing, such as a small urine leak, wait a little. Put on a protective towel, wait to see if it’s wet, or not. If so, head to maternity. “In any case, the pregnant woman can phone the maternity unit to discuss with the midwife, explain the symptoms to her to see if it is too early to come or on the contrary, if it is necessary.“, advises the specialist.

The pocket of the waters consists of two very resistant membranes. The inner membrane, the amnion, contains the fetus and the amniotic fluid. The outer membrane, the chorion, is in contact with the placenta and surrounds the amnion. The water bag protects the baby in his mother’s womb and provides him with a sterile environment for his good development. Generally, when childbirth is near, the water pocket ruptures, letting the amniotic fluid escape.

The latter acts as a barrier to prevent germs from getting inside the cervix, thereby protecting the fetus from infection during pregnancy. From the 9th month, a few days or a few hours before childbirth, the pregnant woman can “expel” the mucous plug which is similar to thick, mucous, white or gray secretions, sometimes accompanied by blood if the cervix is ​​weakened : this means that the cervix begins to change. However, even if it is a painless and harbinger of childbirth, this step is not mandatory and most women do not even realize it. Without contractions or loss of water, “no need to rush to maternity because the loss of the mucous plug does not necessarily indicate the imminence of childbirth“, emphasizes the midwife. On the other hand, if it takes place at four or five months of pregnancy, he can then testify to a premature birth and it is advised to ask his gynecologist for a vaginal examination.


If you have ever felt contractions during your pregnancy, labor contractions are distinguished by their frequency and intensity. If they are spaced (every half hour for example), irregular and painful, but bearable (like menstrual pain), we can speak of “false work” : the contractions disappear naturally or after taking an anti-spasmodic. So no need to rush to maternity: this is certainly not the right time and you may be asked to go home, once there. However, when they gradually come closer and it “this is the first child, you have to go to the maternity unit as soon as the contractions are very painful and regular, they last between 30 seconds and about a minute, they come back every two to three minutes for 1:30 to 2 hours“says the midwife.”if you have already given birth, it is better to go to the maternity an hour after the contractions are very painful and regular, because, indeed, the work of a second pregnancy is often faster than the first“, she specifies. However, if you experience very intense and painful contractions, more and more frequent, but irregular, don’t waste time timing them, take the road to motherhood. Likewise, if your contractions, although not painful, are closer together and you cannot manage them.

How to relieve contractions?

The birth of baby is near, but it is likely that you will wait a few hours at home, before leaving for maternity, especially if it is your first child. To manage painful contractions, there are several tips:

  • First, take a hot bath and swallow a painkiller (Spasfon®). If the pains become more frequent and eventually pass, it is still too early. On the other hand, when they start to intensify and you can do nothing more, go to maternity.
  • Another method, the relaxation : sit quietly and breathe alternating slow and long breaths to empty your lungs well with short breaths.
  • To relieve kidney pain, stretch forward by leaning on the back of a chair, for example. There too, if despite everything, you can’t manage the pain, head for motherhood!

Recent Comments