During pregnancy, your baby is surrounded and cushioned by a fluid-filled membranous sac called the amniotic sac. Typically, at the beginning of or during labor your membranes will rupture — also known as your water breaking.
If your water breaks before labor starts, it’s called prelabor rupture of membranes (PROM). Previously it was known as premature rupture of membranes.
When your water breaks you might experience a sensation of wetness in your vagina or on your perineum, an intermittent or constant leaking of small amounts of watery fluid from your vagina, or a more obvious gush of clear or pale yellow fluid.
What if your water doesn’t break on its own?
During active labor, if your cervix is dilated and thinned and the baby’s head is deep in your pelvis, your health care provider might use a technique known as an amniotomy to start labor contractions or make them stronger if they have already begun. During the amniotomy, a thin plastic hook is used to make a small opening in the amniotic sac and cause your water to break