It's probably not like what you think it is. And of course, like everything else in pregnancy, labor, and birth, water breaking can feel slightly different for everyone.
Nearly every first-time pregnant person wants to know what to expect -- the what, when, where, and how it will feel -- of their water breaking. Unlike what movies and videos like to portray, most of the time, your water doesn't break until you're far along in labor. No matter when in labor your water breaks, there are a range of sensations and ways you will experience the sensations, depending on what stage of labor you are in, your position, your baby's position, and how big of the tear happens in your amniotic sac.
A trickle - Sometimes when your water breaks, it's just a trickle of fluid. So little, in fact, that you may not realize your water has even broken since pregnancy already causes quite a bit of discharge. You might also wonder if you've leaked urine. You can tell the difference between urine and amniotic fluid by sight and smell -- amniotic fluid is clear and odorless. If the color is greenish or brownish, call or visit your care provider right away as this may be a sign of meconium (waste) that baby has passed into the amniotic fluid and needs to be monitored.
A gush - Whether or not your water is already broken, you will likely at some point experience what feels like a gush of fluid. This could come at the first moment your water breaks (though it's less likely to happen then), or later on after it has been slowly leaking. Baby's movement in utero can also cause a sudden gush, as can a contraction. If your amniotic sac breaks forcefully (for example, during a strong contraction and/or when baby slips into a lower position), the resulting gush can also be forceful.
A "pop" - This is less of a "how it feels" and more "how it sounds." If your water breaks forcefully, it can sometimes be accompanied by a popping sound, which is the sound of the amniotic sac breaking. You can't actually feel when your amniotic sac breaks/tears, however.
Like peeing - For some people, their water breaking feels like they're peeing due to the sensation of liquid trickling out.
Pressure - Once the water breaks, some people will feel increased pressure in their pelvic area and/or perineum. Water in an intact amniotic sac acts as a cushion for baby's head (or the presenting part of baby). When the cushion is gone, baby will move down further causing pressure. All of this is normal.
Intensified contractions - Without the "cushion," as explained above, contractions after water breaking can feel more intense.
Gush, leak, gush, dribble - Often, people experience a little bit of everything when their water breaks, including dribbles, a stream, and gushes when they change positions. It's certainly a unique experience that can only be found in labor and birth!