Premature rupture of the membrane

The membrane that holds the baby and the amniotic fluid that surrounds it is known as the amniotic sac. Usually this sac breaks before or during labor, which is known as water break. But when this happens before completing 37 weeks it is known as PROM. Once the water breaks, women will go into labor within the next 24 hours. The earlier this happens from expected week of delivery, more serious it can be for the baby.

What are the causes for early water break or PROM?

  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • History of PROM in previous delivery.
  • Infections
  • Surgery of the cervix
  • Too much pressure on sac due to excess amniotic fluid or when having more than one baby.

How to identify if your water broke or not?

Once you feel fluid leaking from the vagina, start keeping a check. For some, it may be a small leak but for few others, it may be a gush. If the fluid is leaking slowly it may be mistaken for urine, so keep a pad and observe it. If it doesn’t have any smell or colour, chances are it is the amniotic fluid. In such a case contact your doctor as soon as possible.

What happens next or what needs to be done once water breaks?

If it has happened after 37 weeks they may wait for some time to go into labor. But the doctor may not wait long as the longer it takes for labor to start, greater are the chances for infection as it was the amniotic fluid that protected the baby from infection. If the mother does not go into labor within 24 hours, labor may be induced.

When water break occurs between 34 and 37 weeks, labor will be induced to reduce the risk of infection.

If it took place before 34 weeks, the doctor may suggest to try to hold of labor and put the patient on bedrest. During this period steroid will be provided to help the baby’s lungs to grow before delivery. Antibiotics may also be provided to prevent infections. The team will be keeping a constant watch on the baby and mother.

If the baby is born prematurely, they will be taken to the neonatal unit. After delivery both mother and baby will be observed to make sure no infections come up.

Even once back home the mother needs to contact the doctor if any of the following occurs or continues to persist.

  • High temperature
  • Fever like symptoms
  • Back pain, cramping pain.
  • Any noticeable issues in the baby like reduced movement.

If the water breaks the doctor and team will assess the situation and discuss what is the next best step to be taken. For more details, kindly contact us.

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