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Water breakage vs. Peeing pants

I was going to write a "serious" talkin' shop post today on pre-eclampsia (with many mentions of PIH, GH, eclampsia, HELLP syndrome and all sorts of other acronyms)...but I just couldn't do it.

It just didn't, for those of you interested in it, I started a thread in my community on pregnancy complications. A place to discuss your experiences, a sounding board for others with questions, or just somewhere to read some interesting facts...

So have at. It's ready if you want it!, on to today's Talkin' Shop post.

One of the most common things sweet young mothers come into the hospital for, other than "Is it Time yet???", is "I think my water broke!" (Ala, "I was buying my Marlboros and Mountain Dew at WalMart when my water broke in Aisle 5.")

Let's talk Water Breakage...

Typically, when you have water breakage, you get one of two results...

A large, unmistakable gush...or a small trickle.

And, that small trickle is where it gets...well...tricky! You see, when you have a large human being growing inside of you, and a small, fluid filled bladder residing just beneath it...well...let's just say that it ain't uncommon to pee yourself.

Sometimes, you pee so much it feels like a steady dibble. You cough, you pee. You laugh, you pee. You hop, you pee. You sneeze, and Niagara falls comes gushing out of your urethra. Only your urethra and not your vagina (ACK!!! I said urethra AND vagina in the same post! Weirdness. I don't like the word vagina...but that's neither here nor there...)

I can see why people get confused!

Here's where you're gonna think I'm really crazy.

That I'm really off my rocker.

Feel free to have me committed. It's been a rough week (ugh...and it's only Tuesday...) and I could use a few days away...snugged up in a nice white coat, being cared for by people who bring me food, rather than by people who demand food FROM me.

Oooookkkkaaayyyy, slight digression there...where were we?

Oh, yeah...I'm crazy.

You're really gonna think I am one weird nutjob...but here's what I've gotta tell you...

You know that smell that newborns have? That "bottle it up and sell it", deep down, undertone smell? EVERY baby has it.

And that smell is amniotic fluid. Those sweet babes have marinated in that fluid for 40 +/- weeks and have soaked in that smell until it has become a part of them.

Lemme tell you something else.

Urine doesn't smell like that. Believe you me, if you soak a baby in urine for 40 +/- weeks, it ain't gonna smell so wondrous!

Urine smells like ammonia. Amniotic fluid smells like...well...amniotic fluid. It has a sweet smell to it.

At this point, I'm sure you are nervously awaiting my point in this whole "smell" talk we're having. Have you guessed it yet?

Yup. You've got it!!

Yes ma'am...I want you to sniff your panties...or your pad...or the puddle of liquid on the floor. Give it a good ol' whiff. You'll be able to tell.

And, if you can't?

C'mon in. We'd rather have you come in and find out if it IS amniotic fluid, than sit at home for days potentially brewing an infection.


Alrighty then.

Happy sniffing! ;)


  1. Oh my. I needed a good laugh. Very insightful though, for real!

  2. Ha! That's what my doctor said with little man. "If it smells like pee, then it's pee. "

  3. Good to know (even though I'm done having kids). I'll pass it on to others!

  4. wait wait wait... WHY do you want us to smell our panties? LOL Are you saying theres a baby out there that smells like urine and not that sweet am smell?

  5. Maybe I'm just naturally gross, but sniffing is the first thing I would do to decide what it was. Better to look like an idiot alone in your bathroom than in front of a bunch of nurses at the hospital. :)

  6. Oh my certainly know how to make a girl laugh!!! BUT now you need to stop it before I pee myself!!!! LOL! I had a bad cold/cough a few weeks ago & I pee'd my pants everyday!! But this precious girl who is marinating (LOL!!!) inside me is worth it all! :)

  7. And to think, I just squatted down until a trickle of what I was sure was amniotic fluid came dribbling out. It was amniotic fluid, but who knew I should have headed to the hospital?

  8. Hysterical, and only because I seriously wondered with M. My water had to be broken at the hospital with both of my boys, so when I had that "little trickle" with her, I just ASSUMED I was peeing on myself! However, after 3 times in less than 30 minutes, I decided I should have it checked out (I trickled based on position changes, not a laugh, sneeze or other typical "pee" triggers.) I did NOT, however, sniff my panties. I just went to my OB/Gyn's office and let them check it out!

  9. "Happy Sniffing" - can't say I've ever been told that before. :)

  10. I am DYING over here laughing so hard. This post? Awesome.

  11. I spent a good 30 minutes with my undies stuffed up my nose once, I just couldn't make out any smell. Turns out it wasn't amniotic fluid, so....

  12. What we women go through to have kids, lol! My water didn't break on it's own with my first two kids so I have no idea what it even feels like when it happens without the aid of one of those pokey sticks. I have experienced the pee trickle though....hopefully I'll know the difference if my water does decide to break with this current baby and I won't have to do the smell test....but I probably would anyway cuz I'm not one for going to the hospital unless it really is time.

  13. I have always wondered about this. My water didn't break with my first and I have to have a c-section this time, so I just wondered what it was like. Thanks for the information!

  14. I worked as a Mother/Baby nurse for 11 years before becoming a SAHM after we moved...this really made me laugh! And reminded me of my best friend & I being pregnant at the same time, she went rushing to the hospital thinking she was about to have her baby before me, and turns out she just peed herself!

  15. I'll defintely remember that when I have a baby! lol

  16. LOL!! OMG the line about vagina and urethra....crackin me up! I love your talkin shop posts, as a mother of 2 and hopefully soon 3, I know that I have been very lucky in that I have never peed myself!!! Almost, but never have! Thanks for the laughs!!!

  17. Oh my Goodness, at 36 weeks pregnant with my second daughter I was totally convinced that my water had broke because my underwear and pants were soaked with water as well as the seat of my car. Get to the hospital and the test the fluid (had my husband bring me extra clothes cause they were soaked) and come to find out, it was NOT my water breaking... HOW EMBARRASSING! lol guess I peed on myself THAT much and felt nothing of it.


  19. OMG this post made me laugh hysterically!!!

    When I was 32wks pg with my twins I was sitting on the couch and my back started to hurt. I shifted forward on the seat and GUSH!!! I jumped up and staired at the couch.

    Hubby gave me a strange look and I said, in a not very confident voice, "I think my water may have broke!"

    Hubby replied "Are you sure you didn't pee?"

    My bewildered reply...."But I didn't feel like I needed to pee."

    Long story was my water and my bundles were delivered via c-section 8 days later!!!!!!

  20. I love your posts on child birth and pregnancy!!! Brings back so many memories!!!!! :)

  21. Mama M, you've really got a way with words. Even on a topic like this you can make me laugh.

  22. LOL!!!! This was a great post! You have a way with words!!! I am working toward becoming a L&D nurse, I always learn something from your words! ;)

  23. I'm so glad to know that a bunch of other people have peed themselves too! I was 35 weeks pregnant with my first and started having contractions one night. Then I trickeled, and trickeled, and trickeled. Called my OB and everyone was convinced my water broke. Went in and five (yes five!) fern tests said it wasn't amniotic fluid. Two nurses said the fluid coming out of me looked and smelled like amniotic fluid! I had an ultrasound because of the contractions and continued leaking and it said my amniotic fluid was low too! Long story short, after an entire night in the hospital, a ton of fern tests and two ultrasounds later, it was a raging bladder infection causing the leakage and contractions. My amniotic fluid was low because I was dehydrated from peeing myself so much!

  24. how are you so funny? like the way you write everything is exceptionally funny. i like it.

  25. You are freaking hilarious!!! So glad I stumbled upon your blog. I have a feeling I am going to wonder how I ever lived without it. About 6 years and 3 weeks ago, I was 34 weeks pregnant and just knew my water broke. I went to L&D and they told me I was peeing my pants. It kept happening, I (cringe) sniffed it and it didn't smell like pee, but they still said that's what it was. I finally went back for the third time and cried, begged, and pleaded for them to check again. Turns out my water had been broken for well over 48 hours, I had to be rushed by ambulance to another hospital, and my sweet little five pound babe had to lay with an iv in his arm for four days. HORRIBLE experience!!!


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