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membranes AKA bag of waters that your baby is in. They will normally/naturally break when you are ready to have your baby at the end of pregnancy. For a first time mommy, about 41 weeks along.... if you are speaking NORMALLY and NATURALLY. Some women have PROM which is premature rupture of membranes, this is when you are not ready for labor when the water breaks. Seems like now-a-days most women dont make it full term because they are induced and their waters are broken in the hospital. Its absolutely best to let them break on their own when your baby is ready to come out.
Welcome to the NCB board and congrats on your pregnancy!
Also keep in mind, many womens labor doesnt start by their membranes rupturing (aka bag of waters breaking).
Its a protective barrier for yoru baby & its there for a reason. to protect the baby. Breaking it before its ready can increase the risk fo infection to the baby since now germs etc are being introduced. If your water breaks on its own, its also best to avoid vaginal exams for the same reason.
For a lot of women, their water/membranes break late in labor - or even during pushing. And in rare cases, babys can be born with the membranes/bag of waters intact. This isnt a problem, and its known as being "born in the caul". Its said to mean good luck
If a baby is born in the caul, then they simply use afinger to break away the bag of waters, and only once the babys skin hits the air will the baby breathe so there isnt a concern of drowning or anything (Which is also why babies can be born under water in a birth tub).
Yep Leave them alone. Make your doc leave them alone. The less his fingers are going up there to do cervical checks, the less likely he will be to "strip your membranes" with or without asking you first, and the less likely he will be to "Oops, I accidentely broke your water. We had better start pitocin so we can get that baby out" LOL! Was that harsh?
Also, eat healthy, take your vitamins. Plenty of protein is going to help keep your BOW nice and strong.