When your waters break – also known as a Spontaneous Rupture of Membranes, or SROM – it’s likely you will go into labour within 24 hours (this happens to 60% of women).
However, unless you’re already in labour at this point, or there are additional complications or concerns, you don’t usually need to stay in the Maternity Unit and you can go home.
Once you’re home, there are some signs and symptoms you need to be aware of, as there is a small risk of infection now that your waters have gone.
If you develop any of the symptoms listed on this page, it’s really important that you ring the Midwife on the Central Delivery Team if you’re in Scunthorpe or Goole, or your team if you’re in North East Lincolnshire or Louth, as you will need to come in for assessment and may even need to be induced.
Get the contact numbers for these teams here or, alternatively, they will be in your maternity records.
Monitoring your condition
When you go home, your midwife will ask you to regularly take and record your temperature. This is to check if you’re developing a fever, which could be a sign of infection.
You should do this orally (we can give you a thermometer if you don’t have one) and ensure you don’t do it after a hot or very cold drink, or after a hot bath, as this could give you a falsely high or low reading.
You recommend that you take your temperature five times throughout the day. We suggest:
- When you wake up
- Before you go to bed
If your temperature is above 37.5⁰c, contact your Midwife as you will need to return to the hospital.
Things to be aware of
Flu like symptoms: Please let us know if you feel hot/ shivery, have achy limbs, headaches or you’re feeling generally unwell
Any change in amniotic fluid / water: Please wear a sanitary pad and keep an eye on the liquor (amniotic fluid). The fluid around your baby is normally clear or slightly blood stained and slightly sweet smelling. If the colour changes to brownish / green / straw coloured, or the smell becomes offensive, please call your Midwife.
Baby’s movements: Any change in movements i.e. they are more or less than is normal for your baby.
Contractions: If you start to have painful contractions contact your midwife who will discuss with you whether or not you need to be readmitted.
Fresh blood loss: Any fresh blood loss noted on your pad.
Any other reasons: If you are not happy or uncomfortable.
Sexual intercourse should be avoided when your waters have broken because this can increase the risk of infection. Bathing or showering is not associated with an increased risk of infection.
24 hours have passed and I’m not in labour
If you have not gone into labour within 24 hours of your waters breaking, you will need to return to the maternity unit to discuss having labour induced.
If this is not acceptable to you, we can arrange for you to be admitted at either 8pm or 8am, provided this is just prior to or just after 24 hours since your waters broke.
Date of Issue: July 2021
Review Period: July 2024