Before a baby is born, the
amniotic sac breaks open, causing amniotic fluid to
gush out or, less commonly, to slowly leak. When this happens before
contractions start, it is called premature rupture of membranes (PROM). PROM
can occur at any time during pregnancy.
When PROM occurs before
37 completed weeks of pregnancy, it usually leads to
preterm labor. You may hear this early PROM referred
to as preterm premature rupture of membranes, or pPROM.
PROM is often unexpected, and the cause is often
hard to identify. Known causes of PROM include:
Preterm labor usually begins shortly
after pPROM occurs. Sometimes, when a slow leak is present and infection has
not developed, contractions may not start for a few days or longer. In general,
the later in a pregnancy PROM occurs, the sooner the onset of labor.
Sometimes a leak high up in the amniotic sac may reseal itself so that
preterm labor does not start or subsides.
In rare cases, a
pregnancy can be carried to term if pPROM occurs in the second
Standard treatment for pPROM
Standard treatment for pPROM includes antenatal corticosteroid
medicines, which are used to speed up fetal lung maturity at or before 34 weeks
Other treatment for pPROM
Other treatment for pPROM may include:
membranes have ruptured,
tocolytic medicine is less effective in slowing or
stopping preterm labor contractions. But tocolytic medicine is sometimes used
to delay a preterm birth long enough for antibiotics and antenatal
corticosteroid medicine to work (24 hours) or long enough to transport the
mother to a hospital that has a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).footnote 1
CitationsAmerican Academy of Pediatrics and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (2007). Obstetric and medical complications. In Guidelines for Perinatal Care, 6th ed., pp. 175-204. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerSarah Marshall, MD - Family MedicineAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineKathleen Romito, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerKirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Current as ofApril 24, 2017
Current as of:
April 24, 2017
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
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Last modified on: 8 September 2017