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Premature Rupture of Membranes

Premature Rupture of Membranes (PROM)

The rupture of the amniotic sac prior to the start of labour is called a PROM. As part of a full term delivery, this rupturing of the membrane is a natural part of the delivery. But a PROM before the 37th week can and are a problem.

The know causes of a PROM are numerous including;

  • Infections of the urinary tract, cervix, uterus

  • Incompetent Cervix

  • Excessive amniotic fluid

  • Poor membrane strength

  • Family history of PROMs

  • Preterm Labor

But often the cause is unknown; the membrane has just broken too early. This for a first pregnancy can be the worst situation because no one can guess what will happen next time.

A PROM can be quite dangerous for the baby. If you are over 24 weeks the outlook is a lot better than before 24 weeks. Usually, you will go into labour within 24 – 48 hours after a PROM unless doctors can stop the onset of labour. For a baby, under 24 weeks the chance of survival after birth is devastatingly slim. For a baby, over 24 weeks the chances of survival increase daily.

When the membranes rupture the fluid surrounding and protecting the baby is lost. This can create a number of problems if the pregnancy continues. The umbilical cord can sometimes slip beneath the baby and become compressed, shutting off oxygen and blood to the baby. The uterus can become infected (which can be dangerous to both mum and baby). If the fluid loss is long-term the baby’s lungs may not develop properly.

How will you know if you have had or are experiencing a PROM? You will notice a sudden gush of fluid or a steady or intermittent trickle. This fluid will be very watery and usually clear or can be pink tinted.

If you have or even think you have had a PROM it is very important to seek medical advice as soon as possible. Your doctor can do a test to check whether the fluid loss is amniotic or not. He will then talk to you about what will happen next.

The primary aim of PIPA is to provide practical and emotional support to the parents and families of premature infants. However we do not offer professional advice. We are parents of preterm baby’s and not medical staff. We do offer understanding, support, encouragement and friendship.

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