Most of what movies tell you is incorrect—at least when it comes to pregnancy and labour. Going into labour is very rarely as dramatically swift as celluloid, and waters almost never break in the middle of crowded onlookers. The reality, as you can expect, is a lot less interesting for a storyline.
Waters breaking are commonly thought of as the signal that labour has commenced, although this is inaccurate. Contractions can start way in advance of that sudden gush—and actually, the ‘gush’ often needs some assistance to get going. According to research, spontaneous breaking of waters only happens in 10% to 15% of pregnancies; the rest have it done manually in hospital.
Another misconception is that spontaneous breaking tends to be a nocturnal occurrence. Anecdotally, this certainly appears to be true, although experts agree it’s coincidental.
Royal College of Midwives Director for England, Jacque Gerrard, says there’s no known cause for the apparent nightly trend. Oxytocin levels rise during labour, but no studies have indicated a connection between this hormonal surge and waters breaking.
The fact is, like for pregnancy in general—and parenting in its entirety—you can’t plan for things to go according to a strict timeline…going with the flow (and waiting for the, uh, flow) is the sanest mantra you can adopt.