When a pregnant woman's water breaks, it creates a sensation of wetness in the vaginal area that can range from a trickle to a rush of amniotic fluid, explains WebMD. The water-breaking process occurs in pregnant women when the fluid-filled amniotic sac that protects the fetus ruptures prior to labor.
Amniotic fluid is generally odor-free and clear-to-golden in color, explains WebMD. In most cases, labor typically begins within 24 hours following the release of amniotic fluid, so it is important for women to contact their physicians and monitor their contractions during this time. Labor can also occur without the water breaking. If the amniotic sac does not rupture on its own, the physician may manually release the fluid prior to delivery.
It is important for women to avoid sexual intercourse after their water has broken, as this helps prevent bacteria from entering the vagina, explains the American Pregnancy Association. Pregnant women should also notify their physicians if the amniotic fluid is green or odorous, as this may signify an infection. Additional signs that labor is close to occurring include contractions that are 10 to 15 minutes apart, cervix dilation and vaginal mucus discharge that is clear, pink or tinged with blood.