Why do your waters tend to break at night?

So many of our mums reveal their waters broke in the twilight hours, so we wanted to know if there was any particular reason why

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We’ve all seen how it happens on TV and in the movies – your waters breaking, that is.

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One minute *Charlotte* or *Rachel* or *insert soap/film character* is standing chatting to a friend in the street. The next she gives that wide-eyed shocked look and says quietly (or shrieks depending on the show): “My waters just broke. MY WATERS JUST BROKE!!!!”

Queue scenes of panic as she’s whisked to a nearby hospital and within half an hour she’s holding a cute-as-a-button baby.

Now – back to reality. Research shows that waters breaking by themselves tends to happen in only around 10% to 15% of pregnancies – you’re much more likely to have them broken for you once you’re in hospital.

That said – when we asked our mums on our Facebook page about their experiences of their waters breaking, they had lots to tell us.


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Things that go ‘pop’ in the night….

“[My waters broke] in bed at about 2.30am,” Keira C tells us. “I’d just got back in after being up to the toilet. Rolled over and felt a pop!

“Woke my husband with…..’erm, I think my waters just went’. He jumped out of bed quick as lightning and I just couldn’t stop giggling.

“Little did we know it would be another 48hrs before our munchkin made her arrival!”

And Olga S says: “[Mine broke] at 2am when I went to the bathroom. Arrived at the hospital at 4am with no signs of labour so they wanted to keep me there and send my hubby home… just thought to myself can’t be.

“So labour started about 6am and I had my son at 5:21pm. I’m due in less than two weeks with my little one and think I would like it to start same way …”

Marta B shares a similar ‘after hours’ experience. “[I was] in bed, around midnight just after phoning the hospital. I stood up to get ready and pop! It woke up my OH! My boy was born 2.5 hrs later.”

And Lizzie C can remember exactly when it happened. “3am exactly. I woke up and felt something happening so I jumped off the bed and managed to get into the bathroom before the water came out! ? I rang the hospital for advice and then woke up my fiance who didn’t believe me at first.”

And June P says something similar – that both times her waters broke in bed.

In fact, of those mums whose waters broke without medical intervention, the majority also told us it happened in the middle of the night. Is something going on?

Is it really more likely that your waters break ‘naturally’  in the night? And, if so, why?

What the expert says

We got in touch with the Royal College of Midwives and chatted with their Director for England, Jacque Gerrard. She tells us that while she hears a lot of tales about waters breaking in the night, there’s no known reason why this happens.

is it hormonal (like so many things in pregnancy)? It seems not. While levels of the hormone oxytocin increase when you’re in labour, it’s not thought that oxytocin or any other hormones change to trigger your waters breaking. 

Jacque’s take is that, as far as we know right now, so many women’s waters breaking at night is coincidence. And until or unless some more studies are done in this area, that’s all we can say.

Still, based on the fact it’s still a small percentage of women whose waters do actually break instantaneously – and a lot of that seems to be at night – we reckon it’s fair to say the movies usually get this bit of labour a little bit wrong. So we can see why stores reel out the “lifetime supply if your waters break here” schtick – because it seems it’s fairly unlikely to happen!

Though there was that mum whose waters broke at a JLS concert…free tickets for life to their gigs then, eh? ?

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