Preterm Premature Rupture of Membranes (PPROM)

Definition - What does Preterm Premature Rupture of Membranes (PPROM) mean?

Preterm premature rupture of membranes (PPROM) is the breaking down of the amnotic sac (rupture of membranes) surrounding the fetus prior to a woman going into labor and before the completion of the normal 37 weeks of pregnancy. Premature rupture of membranes (PROM) is the rupture of membranes (ROM) before the onset of labor in a woman who is past 37 weeks. PPROM is the leading cause of preterm deliveries and accounts for 30% to 40% of them.

FertilitySmarts explains Preterm Premature Rupture of Membranes (PPROM)

The fetal membranes normally rupture after 37 weeks of pregnancy during labor. However, the presence of certain factors in a pregnant woman can cause the water to break down early, such as:

  • Infection of the uterus, cervix, or vagina
  • Multiple babies in the uterus – exert too much pressure on the membranes
  • Excessive amniotic fluid (polyhydramnios) - overstretches the uterus, bag of waters, and the membranes
  • Trauma due to an accident
  • Smoking during pregnancy
  • Body weight
  • Premature labor in a previous pregnancy
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Amniocentesis, which is the removal of amniotic fluid from the bag of waters

Most of the times, women who experience PPROM do not have any known risk factor.

Fluid gushing out or leaking slowly from the vagina before 37 weeks may signal PPROM. The early rupture of membranes puts women at risk of an infection called chorioamnionitis. If the pregnancy is between 34 and 37 weeks, the doctor will likely induce labor and deliver the baby. If the pregnancy is less than 34 weeks, the doctor will likely inject steroids into the mother’s blood that cause the baby’s lungs to grow. Failure to do so risks baby’s life by reducing oxygen supply from the immature lungs to the body organs. In about 1 to 2% of cases of PPROM, fetal death may occur.

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