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Amazing video shows baby born inside amniotic sac—here’s why it happens

It’s called an en caul birth—exceedingly rare, but exceedingly cool.

Amazing video shows baby born inside amniotic sac—here’s why it happens

Perhaps the most common question I get asked as a midwife is, “When will my water break?”


I totally get it. The idea of walking around with a quart of amniotic fluid in your uterus, which could at any moment start flowing down your leg is enough to make anyone anxious. But to answer your question: We don’t know.

The amniotic sac, or bag of water, or membranes, is a balloon-like membrane filled with amniotic fluid that a fetus grows in during pregnancy. At some point, the baby will have to leave that bag of fluid. But when?

In about 10% of women, the water breaks before going into labor. This could be hours before, or weeks before—always call your provider when your water breaks, of course, so they can help you figure out what the next step should be.

In about 89.99999% of women, the water breaks during the course of labor, either on its own or because the midwife or doctor artificially ruptures it (with a little plastic hook).

Just a side note—it doesn’t hurt. It may feel like a tiny little release, or you may feel nothing at all, but there are no nerves in your amniotic membranes.

When your water breaks, sometimes it’s a big gush (that feels a lot like peeing on yourself) and sometimes its just a slow little trickle. If you need to have your provider help you determine if your water broke, you are not alone—it can be tough to tell!

When your water breaks, you’ll want to remember TACO ?:

  • Time: What time did it break?
  • Amount: How much fluid came out?
  • Color: What color is it? We want clear, not brown, green or pea-soup-like.
  • Odor: What did it smell like? Amniotic fluid has kind of an earthy-smell to it. If it smells bad, you’ll know.

Armed with this information, give your midwife or doctor a call, and they will help you figure out the next step.

Hold it, lady. That’s all fine and good, but you are terrible at math. Ten percent plus 89.99999 percent is only 99.99999 percent. What happens to the other 0.00001 percent?

They give birth with the amniotic sac intact.

In a phenomenon known as en caul births, a woman can give birth to a baby without the water breaking first. It is exceedingly rare—about 1 in 80,000 births, and it is exceedingly cool.

In most births, the power of the contractions or the baby’s movements will cause the bag of water to release. Often, providers will artificially rupture it so that we can help labor move along a bit faster if need be, or to apply an internal monitor.

But if none of those things happen, there is no actual medical need for the water to break. The baby is getting all of his oxygen through the umbilical cord until he takes his first breath, so it is completely fine for him to be surrounded by amniotic fluid.

In a vaginal birth, the woman pushes out her baby surrounded by the membranes and water—it kind of looks like the baby is inside a big, clear water balloon. Once the baby is earth-side, the midwife or doctor just pokes a little hole in the membranes and peels them away from the baby.

En caul births can happen during vaginal or cesarean births.

In fact, a study in China found that when babies had to be delivered preterm (before 37 weeks gestation) via cesarean section, they had less of a risk of asphyxiating (being deprived of oxygen) when they were delivered en caul than when not. So it may be protective for babies.

A baby born in the caul, or in the veil, is believed by some to have either very good luck or very bad luck. A will from 1658 revealed that a man saved his caul, and left it to his daughter, as it was important for its good energy to stay in the family. A textbook from the same year states that the color of the caul would determine whether it would bring good or bad luck upon the family.

In Belgium, people believed that the caul needed to be buried in a field in order for the baby to have a successful life. And “in Germany and elsewhere in Europe the midwife sometimes stole the caul, according to reports, to give it to another child, perhaps her own, or to sell it to a witch."

While I have not yet sold one to a witch, I have had the honor of attending a few en caul births—and you guys—it is so. cool. Just another amazing thing that can happen on this motherhood journey.

Rarely is a woman more concerned with what her body needs than when she's pregnant. We start to question and research everything, right? From swearing off turkey sandwiches to diving down the rabbit hole of prenatal supplements that make up what we lack, the stress of overthinking is real, mama.

One of the main reasons we launched the Motherly Shop is to help take some of that stress away. We've tracked down the best brands and products developed by people (and in many cases, women!) that truly work to serve the needs of real mamas, especially throughout the overwhelming transition into motherhood.

That's why we knew we had to introduce mamas-to-be to the science-backed and expertly-formulated protein collagen for pregnancy from Needed. And as one of our bestsellers, it's clear you've been looking for it, too.

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14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

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10 photos to take on baby’s first day that you'll cherish forever

You'll obsess over these newborn baby pictures.

Bethany Menzel: Instagram + Blog

As you're preparing for baby's birth, we bet you're dreaming of all of the amazing photos you'll take of your precious new babe. As a professional photographer and mama, I have some tips for newborn photos you'll want to capture.

Here are the 10 photos you will want to take on baby's first day.

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