What NOT To Do When Your Water Breaks. From A Mom That Hilariously Did It All Wrong.


First-time parents are a special breed–a unique cocktail of excitement, naiveté, and terror all rolled into one. 

One thing first-time parents wonder obsess about is when labor will start. What should they do if her water breaks? What should they bring to the hospital?

Well, as someone who’s had three babies, I still can’t shed too much light on that question–but I can do you one better. 

I can tell you exactly what NOT to do when your water breaks.

When your water breaks, don’t panic like you had no earthly idea this might happen

At nearly 40 weeks pregnant, I was sitting there minding my own business when out of nowhere, my water broke. 

I know statistically, this is relatively rare. All those sitcom shticks of “Honey, my water broke! It’s time!”  are not the reality for most women in labor, but it was for me.

So what did I do?

Scream and run to the bathroom, panting in terror like I’d just escaped an axe-murderer. 

Then I yelled for my husband, which brings me to my next don’t.

When your water breaks, don’t give yourself a ridiculous injury

Apparently, my panicked screaming from upstairs was alarming enough that my husband tossed aside the pan of ground beef he was cooking, leaving the electric burner on for good measure (oops). 

He then went sprinting up the stairs, stumbling in rapid succession over the dog and then the baby gate we used for the dog. He pulled a muscle and came sprint-hobbling down the hall to find out what was wrong. 

I met him in our bathroom with a mixture of crying/laughing/panic/excitement. At that point, I closely resembled the infamous scene from Saved by the Bell with caffeine-pill-addicted Jessie Spano (“I’m so excited! I’m so excited! I’m so… I’m so… *sob* scared!”)

Certainly don’t run out the door like the house is on fire

We bee-bopped out of that house like greased lightning. As my contractions got closer together, we wondered how much longer it would be, sure that it couldn’t be long.

Spoiler alert: It was long.

I know there are a few women whose labors move remarkably fast, even that first time (you lucky ducks!), but most of us don’t fall into that camp.

Instead of mad-dashing to the hospital, limping all the way, we should have finished cooking dinner. We should have put it away too, rather than leaving a pan of half-cooked tacos on the countertop for when we returned three days later (yum!).

We also should have binge-watched an entire season of our favorite show and then leisurely packed our bags like sane human beings.

When you're pregnant and your water breaks what should you do? Well, here's what NOT to do. Don't panic. Your baby is coming and it will all be OK. #pregnancy #labor #childbirth #filterfreeparents

Make sure not to pack like a crazy bag-lady who’s never coming home

The baby books recommend you pack your bags by 36 weeks and now I know why. 

At first, I didn’t pack them out of superstition. Then I was busy. Then I was lazy. Then my nausea returned (a fun little end-of-pregnancy bonus).

In short: I just didn’t get around to it. 

Once my water broke, it was clearly time to get packing, and let me tell you: I packed like I was going on a year-long voyage. I grabbed warm clothes, cool clothes, nice clothes, lounge clothes — you name it, I brought it. 

I also packed something in nearly every size. “What if my stomach goes down right away? Then I’ll want something smaller.” (Bahahahaha. Haha. Ha…).

I also packed stuff for entertainment. Books, movies, magazines — we were loaded to the nines with things we wouldn’t look at once in the hospital.

Only one of us was long-gone on this crazy train. My husband gently suggested, “Aren’t you packing a lot? Do you really need all this?”

Folks, there is no reasoning with a woman who is 500-weeks-pregnant and in labor. She wants what she wants and she will have it. 


As we walked through the sliding emergency room doors, the security guard took one look at us and said, “Labor and delivery?” 

Us: Yes?

Him: First time?

Us: Yes. (What, did we have it stamped on our foreheads or something?)

It turns out we didn’t have a forehead stamp, but we had something just as obvious: the way my husband was loaded up like a pack-mule. 

He was carrying multiple bags, pillows, possibly even a funny hat and he was carrying it all with a massive limp. (Bonus: This wasn’t even all of our stuff. There were still two more bags in the car for after baby arrived.)

I wasn’t moving too quickly either. I was a tiny person carrying a large baby, so I was waddling like Shamu stranded out of his tank. Plus, I had a hand towel shoved in my pants to deal with the “running water” situation.

(A little something I learned as a first time mom in labor: your water doesn’t just break and stop. It keeps replenishing itself, and therefore, keeps leaking. Mine appeared to replenish rather quickly, which made our drive and super awkward voyage through the lobby and up to L&D delightful.)

All’s well that ends well

Baby was eventually safely delivered (even if it was a million hours later). We managed to piece together going-home outfits for everyone out of the 75,000 articles of clothing I packed.

Even Hubby’s calf muscle eventually recovered, though he caught no shortage of flack for limping awkwardly out of the hospital after I had pushed out an actual human.

We all lived to tell the tale, but I promise you this: when it came time to do this rodeo a second time, we did a lot of things differently. 

I hope this little what-not-to-do tutorial saves you from future hassles when Go-Time hits (or at least gives you a solid laugh at our expense).

Have a ridiculous story from when you went into labor? Drop it in the comments!



  1. my water broke at a friends house. i mopped it up while trying to wake her boyfriend to move the van so we could go. by the time i got to the hospital all i remember is don’t push as they are racing through the hospital

  2. Hahaha, my Water broke at home with my second child. We lived 30 mins from the hospital. I panicked had my husband rush to the hospital. My 1st baby my water broke and he delivered in about 30 mins Avery being in labor for about 8hrs. So based on that experience. I was terrified the baby was going to come while I’m the car little did I know I still had about 5 hrs of labor left before he was born.

    • Well I can *definitely* understand being in a panic in that situation. My first two both took FOREVER (like 21 hours and 25 hours). My third was more with the program and arrived within a respectable six hours.

  3. After chilling at the hospital for a few hours and NO changes, they sent us home. I knew better, this was my third child. But we(husband) were uncomfortable, it was late, tired, maybe it would be a while. . . two hours later I woke him up and tried to hurry him out the door, I knew it was TIME! She was born 21 min after we got to L&D, (we only lived 10 min from hospital). The nurse we had seen earlier that night came in and asked what I did to speed things along, I watched my husband snore for two hours!

  4. First baby. Hospital is a 4 hour drive away. 39 weeks. Baby is breach and c-section scheduled for 3 days out. My water breaks about 6am. We’re not packed and the gas tank is almost empty. (was planning to do that today) I’m sitting on the toilet hollering at my husband telling him what to pack….ya…way too much stuff. We pick my mother in law up and head out. We pull into the next gas station, about an hour down the road…we’re running on fumes, the station is closed. My mother in law knows the owner lives in the house beside the station and pounds in his door to get him to turn on the pumps so we can get some gas. Oh, did I mention that I’m sitting on a green garbage bag to save the car seat and my contractions started at 5 min apart and stayed that way until we got to the hospital… Baby arrived 12 hours after my water broke via c-section….we had to wait for an OR to be available. PACK EARLY AND KEEP THE GAS TANK FULL 😉

  5. With my first boy I remember sleeping with puppy pads under my sheets on my side of the bed, in case my water broke while I was sleeping, turns out my contractions woke me up at 3am on a Monday morning and my son didn’t show up for another 36 hours later ?????.

  6. My water broke at the Franklin institute in Philly and I practically chucked someone’s small child out of my way as I ran screaming out of the bathroom to tell my husband that it was time. I didn’t realize that the water would keep on coming, so I literally splashed toward the exit and a new mom gave me some diapers to shove down my already stretched to the max maternity pants as I ran toward my car. I called my aunt on the squishy waddle run and she asked why I was screaming…ooops. 28 hours and without any clothes or bags packed our not so little baby made it earth side.

  7. My second L&D experience was interesting. On my due date date I was feeling really off, just exhausted and cramping all day. I was having pretty consistent contractions, but they we in no way painful. Once they began coming 3-5 minutes apart, I told my husband should go to the hospital and see what’s going on. They hooked me up to the machines and noticed I was having “good” contractions. But because I wasn’t in pain, they said it was not actual labor. So we were sent home, as I walked to the elevator, I got one really good contraction that made me stop in my tracks, I bent over trying to breathe, once I stood up, my water broke and I was have what seemed as constant non stop contractions and boy did I feel it. I hobbled back to L&D, they were moving slow getting me to a bed, I was telling them the baby was out and they said no your ok let’s just sit down, little did we know, babies head was out and before I could sit on the bed, I had delivered her myself, and grabbed her.

  8. My labor story a little funny and scary at the same time. Also long.

    It was my first pregnancy. My husband worked graveyards at a grocery store that was 45 miles from our home. He had a meeting in the morning after his shift. We agreed he should just spend the day sleeping at his parents house to be able to get more sleep.

    I was home and decided I desperately needed to clean off my bookshelf (hello nesting). I went to put something away in the bathroom. As leaned over it felt like something was leaking. Sat down on the toilet thinking my bladder wasn’t that bad. Looked at what came out and realized it didn’t look like urine. My grandmother was staying with us at the time, and I waddled out and said “I think my water’s leaking.” She told me it probably wasn’t since I was only 31 weeks along, but I should call my doctor if I was worried. I called and no one answered. I decided to go lie down. I’d read that your water gushes when the baby’s head wasn’t blocking the birth canal. Layed down and nothing happened. I felt relieved thinking I was freaking out over nothing. I stood up and everything gushed. My water had definitely broken. Called my doctor again. They answered this time and told me to get to the hospital right away.

    I called my in-laws house. No one answered. 20 minutes of trying to call there with no answer. I finally called my husband’s grandmother and asked her to go there to wake him up and have him call me. She succeeded, but I never did get a call. He showed up an hour later wanting to know what was going on. We drove to the hospital and were met there by his parents. They explained why I couldn’t get him to answer the phone. They had gone to an appointment and didn’t want my husband to be disturbed by phone calls, so they turned off the phone ringer. They figured it would be okay since I wasn’t due for 2 plus months. They saw all the calls on their caller ID and called back. My grandma told them what happened and they headed to the hospital.

    My water broke around 2pm My son was born the next morning at 8:14am weighing in at 3lbs 9oz and 17in long. He’s now 16 years old and still keeping me on my toes.

  9. I drive myself to the hospital at 36 weeks because “I felt a little funny”. Parked in general parking, walked across the parking lot, down 2 flights of stairs to the ER, registered and then sat to await my turn. 45 minutes later I see the ER doctor, told him how I was feeling, he examined me and what do you know? I’m 5 centimetres dilated and in active labour. No water breakage! I was waiting for that like it was the Bat signal or something. Dude comes back with a SUPER long crochet hook and in 2 hours I was holding my preemie son kinda dazed, without having the plan I intended nor any drugs. ?
    I decided that was it for me. One and done.

  10. Haha, yea I was walking around in ice and snow the night I went in to the hospital… we were at our local downtown holiday festival while, unbeknownst to us, I was in early stages of labor. Didn’t end up at hospital until midnight basically. I was dealing with a persistent achy back pain most the day and after we got home I was buckled over in pain so my husband was talking to his dad’s wife on the phone explaining the situation and she’s just like, “uhm unless you want to be delivering that baby yourself, you need to get her to the hospital.” My husband wasn’t having that. ?. Once we arrived and they checked me, I was fully effaced +2 station. ? They had to call up someone from ER since the on-call OB still had to drive to the hospital in the aftermath of a snow storm. Oh yea, did I mention the snow storm? Ah, yes, fun times. lol


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