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Premature Rupture of Membranes

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Mar 5, 2023.

What is premature rupture of membranes (PROM)?

PROM means your water broke before labor began. The amniotic sac contains fluid that surrounds and protects your unborn baby in your uterus. If PROM happens before 37 weeks of pregnancy, it is called preterm PROM. You may feel a gush of warm fluid or a slow trickle of fluid from your vagina.

What increases my risk for PROM?

  • Premature delivery or PROM in a past pregnancy
  • Infection, such as a sexually transmitted infection (STI), pneumonia, or urinary tract infection (UTI)
  • Large uterus caused by more than 1 baby or extra amniotic fluid
  • Surgery on your cervix or an amniocentesis
  • Abnormally shaped uterus or a short cervix
  • Vaginal bleeding during the second or third trimester
  • Poor nutrition, alcohol, or smoking

How is PROM treated?

  • Healthcare providers will monitor you and your baby. You may be on bed rest during this time. Healthcare providers may monitor your baby's heartbeat and the contractions of your uterus. Ultrasound pictures may be used to check the placenta and the amount of amniotic fluid in your uterus. A sample of fluid from your vagina or rectum may be checked for certain infections that can be passed to your baby. If you have preterm PROM, the fluid will be checked for a strep infection. You may be given antibiotics to prevent an infection during delivery. You may also need steroids to decrease the risk for complications due to PROM. Depending on how far along your pregnancy is, your healthcare provider will decide how to manage your treatment:
    • 34 weeks or more: Your baby will be delivered. Vaginal delivery may used if healthcare providers can allow labor to continue naturally. Healthcare providers may wait to see how you and your baby are doing. They may give you medicine to slow contractions, or they may need to induce (start) labor. A C-section may be needed if your labor is not progressing or if your baby has problems, such as a low heart rate. You will be given antibiotics to prevent an infection in you or your baby during the C-section.
    • 24 weeks to the end of 33 weeks: You will be put on bedrest. Your healthcare providers will watch and wait for signs of problems or for the labor process to happen naturally. You may need medicine to start labor at a later time. You may also be given steroids to help your baby's lungs develop faster. Medicine may be needed to stop contractions if your baby's lungs are not fully developed.
    • Before 24 weeks: Your healthcare provider will discuss with you the best treatment.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

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