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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).1
American 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 MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerWilliam Gilbert, MD - Maternal and Fetal Medicine
Current as ofNovember 14, 2014
Current as of:
November 14, 2014
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
& William Gilbert, MD - Maternal and Fetal Medicine
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