When someone uses the term "my water broke" or "my water will break" they are talking about the rupture, tear or leak of the membranes that hold the amniotic fluid inside the uterus with the baby. When the membranes rupture between 37 and 42 weeks this is considered a normal full term event and labor should begin (or continue) within 24 hours. However, under some circumstances a woman's water can break before this time.
Most women who have have their waters break premature will never know exactly why this has happened to them. Others may find out that they had an infection, injury, or other event happen to them that has caused this. There are several reasons why some women's water break early during pregnancy.
Infection- Infection is the number one reason that women experience an early water break. There are a number of infections that are known for causing these problems. It can be infection in the baby, the uterus, the cervix, and even the vagina. Yeast infections and bacterial infections of the uterus can even cause these problems.
Uterine and Fetus Problems- A small number of women have preterm premature rupture of the membranes (the technical term for water breaking early) because of problems with the uterus and baby. They can include a horizontally or obliquely positioned baby, a larger baby, a narrowed pelvis, and even an abnormal amount of amniotic fluid.
Injury During Pregnancy- Most of the time babies are well protected by their mothers. However, as they get larger there is a bigger risk of injury during pregnancy and they can cause a rupture in the membranes. These can include a variety of injuries including exercise injury. This is one very big reason to make sure that the exercise you do during pregnancy be safe.
Cervical Problems- The problem can also lie in the cervix. Injury to the cervix, cervical weakness, and previous abortions can all lead to problems. A weak or injured cervix can make it hard for the membranes to stay in place.
It is important that if you think you have had leaking fluid to talk with your doctor. There are several things that can be done and many women experience a preterm premature rupture of the membranes and still have healthy babies. Early term mothers will often be put on bed rest, antibiotics, and steroids (used for helping the baby develop stronger lungs). As long as the baby doesn't get infected there is a good chance of prolonging labor for as long as ten weeks.
Some women do experience their water breaking early during pregnancy. This can happen for a lot of reasons and often the reason is not known. The known and common reasons include infection, uterine and fetal problems, injury, and cervical issues.