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24 hour limit on labor after water breaks

Forum: Natural Childbirth


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May 19th, 2010, 09:12 PM
Hollybear's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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My husband assumed that's how you knew you were in labor, your water broke.
I had to show him the pictures of the baby born in the sac, lol
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May 20th, 2010, 08:00 AM
Mega Super Mommy
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The OB we had with our son had a 24 hour rule, and when my water broke with him at 6:30 in the morning, and contractions were coming, but very weak 4 or 5 hours later, they cranked up the pitocin. He was born by c-section at nearly 2 the next morning as I wasn't progressing fast enough for them, and I had stalled them for 3 hours at least. Very very frustrating, and I was not educated enough at that time to stand my ground.

When my water broke the morning of my daughter's birth, I knew my midwife even got hesitant at the 24 hour mark, so I fudged the time by a couple of hours when I told her when it broke. That was not necessary, as she was born 10 hours later.

I think the 24-hour rule is a bit ridiculous personally, but should I ever get pregnant again (not the plan, but you never know) I would likely do what I did last time, and fudge the time a bit, try to minimize cervical checks, and stay out of the tub until things were really intense.

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May 20th, 2010, 08:09 AM
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I was induced with my youngest after my water broke and I didn't go into labor, active or slow poke style. She was born about 10 hours after it broke. I know it can be fine to wait longer, but in all honesty I'm glad they didn't in some ways. I'm allergic to so many medications that if I did develop an infection even attempting to breastfeed wouldn't have been an option. There's almost nothing I can take that's safe during pregnancy/nursing.
~Thanks Babydoll213 for my awesome siggie!~

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May 20th, 2010, 08:16 AM
Isaeph's Avatar Jennifer the Momma
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Yeah, knowing what I know now, I would have fudged my times too.

My water only broke with ds1 also. I broke it myself when I was ready to push with dd (she just wasn't coming fast enough for me to be DONE with it intact), and I broke it with ds2 a few hours before he was born because I was on my 4th day of labor and ready to be DONE.
"Unborn children should be welcomed in life and protected in law." George W. Bush

Crunchy, conservative, Christian, homeschooling, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, not-vaccinating, cloth-diapering, baby-wearing, ec-ing, unassisted-birthing, breastmilk donating, Momma to 7yo, 4yo, 2yo, 2mo.
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May 20th, 2010, 10:09 AM
Sk8ermaiden's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Here they will not only wheel you in at 9 cms, they are doing it earlier and earlier. I have known women who were wheeled into the OR because their water had been broken for 12-18 hours and the baby's head wans't already coming out. Now, it's not the norm, but the norm here is definitly 24 hours no matter how close mom is, and more and more hospitals are making that closer to 18 hours.

My midwife likes you to be in labor within 24 hours. And I understand her point, but disagree. I would take my temp every half hour and otherwise just wait.

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May 20th, 2010, 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Isaeph View Post
Only from a victim's point of view. My water broke with my first and after 4 hours of no contractions they induced me with cervical gel. I didn't know enough back then to refuse...otherwise I would have done just what you said and stayed home and waited it out.


my water broke and about 5 hours later I still had no contractions and I was put on pitocin. I wish I would have refused and let my body do its job. But the longer I went without delivering the more times I was threatened with a c-section because my water broke and I was approaching the "24hr mark"....
*9 weeks * 4/11/13
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October 30th, 2010, 11:18 PM
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I too was an over educated first time mother who read books and did research, thinking in my wisdom that I knew better than people who save lives everyday. I planned a home water birth with a midwife. My water broke, and I had an uneventful 8 hours of active labor; unfortunately, I was not progressing and developed debilitating non-stop contractions that went on for 14 hours. After pleading with my midwife another 3 agonizing hours that my water had broke too long ago and I was worried about the baby, I was finally rushed to the hospital. I had developed an infection during labor, and passed this on to my baby. 48 hours of active labor after water breaking and one emergency c-section later my son was born not breathing and spent the first month of his life in the neonatal care unit. This was due to infection, aspirating meconium and fetal distress and could have been prevented if I had not been so stubborn or careless to think that "it could never happen to me". I was healthy, low risk and had no reason to expect this. But the truth is, you never know what could happen and your baby is more important than whatever hippie granola idea has popped into your head. I kick myself every day that I put all of us through this. Doctors are not your enemies and they saved my son's life. My midwife meant nothing but the best, but she refused to admit when she was in over her head and both my baby and I could have died if we had stayed at home waiting to play this thing out. My husband and I were severely traumatized by this experience and would never take the birth process so casually ever again. There is nothing so heart wrenching than to see your tiny newborn son hooked up to machines and being helpless to do anything about it.

Last edited by NicoMamu; October 30th, 2010 at 11:26 PM.
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October 31st, 2010, 01:19 AM
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NicoMama. I'm sorry you had that experience. My baby spent a week in the NICU after a home birth - and I know people can be cruel - and we can be cruel to ourselves - questioning our decisions. (they never found any cause for the problems my daughter had - and my midwives took care of her until she was at the hospital - if I give birth again it will be in my house again) You were NOT over educated. That isn't possible. From what I can understand here - your midwife was perhaps under educated or under experienced. You should not have had to 'plead' with your midwife. She should have been checking for fetal distress and if you said you were concerned about the baby or you wanted to go to the hospital - there should have been no question about it. Your son's infection WAS NOT your fault. Infections happen plenty in hospitals. NICU stays happen even without infections.
"But the truth is, you never know what could happen and your baby is more important than whatever hippie granola idea has popped into your head." Your baby is also more important than whatever over medicated idea has popped into your head too. Balance is what is important. People - including you - make decisions based on what they think is best for the baby. You and I did not have home births because we had 'hippy granola' ideas. We did it because research shows that for low risk women - home is the safest place.

Thank you Kiliki for my first beautiful Siggie!

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October 31st, 2010, 06:43 AM
Crafty Mama's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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I actually discussed this with my midwife, and she somewhat agreed with me.. lying about when my water breaks, lol. With DD, my water broke and there was meconium in it, and I was completely uneducated about that. I'd always heard it was a sign of distress, so of course, I called L&D and they told me to come in. There was a time limit on my labor, and they really started pushing pitocin and other things. At one point there was mention of a c-section, so at that point, I took the pitocin and went with it.
My midwife told me this time around, that if there's meconium, it's no biggie, as long as it's dilluted and not thick. If it's diluted enough, or not present, I shouldn't even call and tell them, if I want to avoid the situation that happened last time. So chances are I'll just go into the hospital when I'm ready, and tell them my water broke a couple hours before (if it does at all).

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October 31st, 2010, 08:00 AM
ChicaChels's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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My CNM broke my water when I was in labor, and I let her but she assured me that it wouldn't put me on a 24 hour clock (she's cool with about 48 hours). One of my friends delivered with her about 6m before I did and her water broke at 36w with no active labor - so she was admitted and of course they wanted to Pit her, but she refused..so she hung out in the hospital for a week before labor kicked in on it's own. She was very closely monitored, had NO cervical exams, and was hydrated with an IV to keep her water levels up. Her baby was born perfectly healthy 9 days after her water broke and they went home 24 hours later...it makes me sad to read about people getting wheeled to the OR at 9cm!!

Maverick Jude
December 9, 2013
5:20PM 8lb3oz 20.5"
Hospital water birth
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October 31st, 2010, 09:06 AM
Kelllilee's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Nicomama - it sounds like you had a rough birth and I'm sorry for the way things happened. I agree completely with Sodagirl. It does sound like your midwife was not as responsive as she should have been. Maternal instinct is a strong thing and your instincts said something was wrong. She should have listened to them. I'm very surprised you had to beg and plead. Usually if you request to go to the hospital they do that. It's part of having a homebirth - you always have that option should the need/want arise.

Infections can happen no matter how long your water is broken. My SIL had her baby last weekend and her water was broken for only about 10-12 hours and the baby and her got an infection and the baby spent time in the NICU. She was at the hospital the entire labor and it still happened.

You are understandably upset about what happened. But please don't lash out at us and say we have "hippie granola" ideas. Not all of us have homebirths. We just feel strongly that birth should be handled appropriately and with evidence-based care.

As for the 24 hour limit - I think it's a little silly too. If you water is broken for a long time, by all means, take extra precautions and monitor a little closer since the risk of infection does go up. But risk is not the same as guarantee. With my second my water broke (well, sprung a leak) 2 full days before labor started and we had no problems. A friend of mine just had a homebirth and her water broke 2 days before labor as well - no problems there either.

Does infection happen if you water has been broken after 24 hours? Sure, for some women. But it also happens with your water broken for 5-10-12-20 hours too. But not to every one, and excessive measures shouldn't be taken just because there is a remote chance of something happening. That's exactly how we got in the "routines" that are now present for most births (continuous monitoring, IVs, etc...). And it seems odd to me to do a c/s because you might have an infection - wouldn't that just make it more likely to cause complications with a c/s??
Kellisa, Mama to:
Courtney, Nola, Kya, Whitney, and baby girl #5 coming soon!
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October 31st, 2010, 12:12 PM
HappyHippy's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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The OBGYN for my first birth didn't have that rule. They just looked for signs of infection or distress.

With my second my water broke 2 hours before contractions and was born at 24 hours and 50 minutes without any help (hombirth).
Mama to G, L & twins F & M
Started off 2013 homebirthing suprise twins Fia Celesta & Maddalena Isabella
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October 31st, 2010, 12:16 PM
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My water broke on Friday at midnight and I didn't go to the hospital until Monday morning. I wasn't ready yet. My contractions didn't start to become regular until Sunday night really. I knew about the 24 hour rule,but had done some research about it and talked to some (on-line) friends who were doulas and to my doula who said it was my choice to go to the hospital or stay home and that as long as I didn't feel like I was getting an infection I should be ok to wait. So I monitored myself to check for fever and aches and pains that could indicate an infection. I told the nurse the truth about my water breaking and she was not happy and tried to get me on the antibiotics but I said no thanks. I didn't end up with any infection at all. I did however have to have a c-section though b/c my body just didn't dilate past 4 1/2 cm in the almost 24 hours since my arrival at the hospital.
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November 1st, 2010, 11:26 PM
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My water broke 36 hours before my son was born, and we're all perfectly healthy. I labored all at home besides the hour and half before he was born .
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November 2nd, 2010, 10:48 AM
lulu711's Avatar Super Mommy
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My midwife said her policy is after your water breaks, you have 24 hours to be in active labor if you're GBS positive, and 36 hours if you're negative before she'll start talking intervention. It's not a clock for baby to be born, but a clock for active labor.
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November 2nd, 2010, 02:13 PM
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I wasn't really insulting everybody who chooses home birth when I said " hippie granola", I just don't believe in rebelling against something just because or esp. under the trendy guise of it being more natural or better. It seems to be a rebellious backlash against the medical community in general; and while true that some doctors like some people seem to be lacking common sense, my doctors where amazing. After admittance I was given fluids, pain killers to help me rest, and monitors put on the baby's vitals. I was asked and informed about everything, and was under no pressure. I was very shocked when I was admitted to the hospital to find out that I had a high fever, and I was GBS positive. I am not sure why my midwife wasn't taking my temperature or testing me for possible trouble factors. I was not pushed to get an episiotomy by the doctors, take drugs (at the time of admittance I was in so much pain, I BEGGED for drugs, even though I wouldn't take any prescription meds during the whole pregnancy) or get a c-section. I was able to rest a few hours. I progressed and tried pushing without medication but my son's heart rate dropped and it was emergency c-section time or dead baby time. I'm not sure what the drugs were like 20 years ago but I was never unconscious or groggy. I controlled my own dosage. During the c-section I was awake, hyper alert with adrenalin and very very worried and scared. (my first surgery) I felt a bit duped because the literature I was reading on midwives did not really explain what can go wrong if you are not in a hospital, and acted like that was something that hardly ever happens. Note to self: Low risk does not mean, NO risk. It also acted like If I went to a hospital, I would be given no opinion, and would not be allowed how or when I wanted to push, and that if I took drugs I was going to damage my baby and forget the delivery because I would be in a fog. My experience now taught me that is total BS and I felt very pissed off at being deceived like that. I now know that I am in control no matter where I am but that if I am around doctors they can quickly save my child's life in an emergency. A few minutes can mean life or death; it's scary and it should be. It is a point I am amazed I did not see before. I would also point out that I am lucky that I live near successful hospitals with money and very talented doctors. I am sorry that some doctors out there might be pushy, disrespectful of mothers, and less educated but it is a mistake to judge them all and dismiss them as incompetent fear mongers who perform unnecessary procedures. We are lucky to live in a time where we do have amazing technology to help us fight disease and a little shot prevents illnesses that 100 years ago killed millions of people. I was lucky, that even though my birthing hips failed me, my son was able to be taken out of me through a small incision resuscitated and whisked away to a team of doctors. And I was stitched back up and out of the hospital in a few days; had this been 100 years ago I would be dead, and my son also. I understand the need to take charge over your birth and delivery. I do think as women we should say NO, when we mean no and be very informed. I think we should have more options; esp options within hospitals with medical care available in the push of a button. You need to use the button-do it, you don't- how lucky are you. I think that some of us gamble and some of us are not willing to take chances where our baby is concerned. I do not care one whit about how small a percentage may be, risking my child is something I would never do twice. So even with the drugs I took during admittance and the drugs he was on in the NICU, my son is healthy, reaching milestones well ahead of his peers, and impressing the hell out of his two doting parents. I wish everybody success and good luck with their choices but never to be too overconfident and always be prepared; your baby is worth the effort.
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November 2nd, 2010, 03:15 PM
*SamF*'s Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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I am thankful my dr and hospital aren't like those in other areas! My Dr broke my water, but only after I made sure there wasn't going to be any 24 hour rule- he told me if baby still wasn't here after 48 hours we would talk. Thankfully baby came 7 hours later.

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November 3rd, 2010, 01:12 PM
Caelen's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Originally Posted by mgm78 View Post
one of my friends had her baby 2 days after me at a local hospital. She was at 9cm at 24 hours and they gave her a c-section because she was at 24 hours.

I think had I not been pushing when I hit that 24hr mark, they'd have tried the c-section route. They pushed pit on me within hours of my arrival as well.

I think this time, I'd wait it out a bit. So far I've got an open dialogue with my doctor and I -think- he'd be okay with waiting as long as it wasn't extreme. Then again, I also won't let him do cervical checks because of my past experience so he's already used to the wait and see approach with me.
‎"That which offends you only weakens you. Being offended creates the same destructive energy that offended you in the first place- so transcend your ego and stay in peace."

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November 5th, 2010, 08:24 PM
ToriLeigh's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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I honestly don't think I would follow the 24 hour rule, I would definitely turn down a c-section because of it. In my opinion, if the baby is not in distress and there is no sign of infection, there is no reason to start with invasive interventions. I can see more frequent monitoring, but to me, it's not a emergent situation yet.

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