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What You Should Know About Premature Rupture of Membranes

The rupture of membranes (ROM) is colloquially known as a pregnant person’s water breaking and more formally known as amniorrhexis. Here’s the important thing: it’s a perfectly normal and, in fact, necessary part of birth for vaginal deliveries.

However, if ROM occurs before 37 weeks of pregnancy, it’s premature and can be a concern. If you’re pregnant and worrying about this possibility in your birthing experience, read on to learn what you should know about premature rupture of membranes (PROM).

rupture of membranes

Understanding Premature Rupture of Membranes

PROM occurs when the amniotic sac, which holds the amniotic fluid that surrounds and protects your baby, breaks before the 37th week of pregnancy. This rupture leads to leakage of amniotic from the vagina. The biggest concern with PROM is that it usually precedes a premature birth, and preterm babies are more likely to have serious health issues.

Identifying the Signs and Symptoms

Amniorrhexis is characterized by a sudden rush or a consistent stream of clear, pale, yellow fluid from the vagina. This fluid is uncontrollable.

Though the symptoms should be fairly obvious, contact your healthcare provider if you notice any irregular discharge or significant change in vaginal moisture.

Causes and Risk Factors

The exact cause of PROM is often ambiguous; however, multiple factors can contribute to its occurrence. These may include the following:

  • Infections of the amniotic fluid or fetal membranes
  • A history of PROM in previous pregnancies
  • Smoking
  • Having a short cervix

Understanding these risk factors allows you to take preventive measures, such as quitting smoking or managing infections promptly, which can significantly reduce the likelihood of PROM.

When PROM Occurs Makes a Difference

The strategies to manage amniorrhexis in different trimesters varies. In the first and second trimesters, PROM can pose higher risks, including preterm delivery and infections. Your healthcare team may recommend hospitalization for close monitoring, antibiotic therapy to stave off infections, and medications to support fetal lung development.

In the third trimester, especially when close to full term, the best approach is usually labor induction. This method minimizes infection risks and better ensures the baby’s safety.

Regardless of the trimester, a personalized plan with your caregiver will provide the best course of action to maintain your and your baby’s health.

Facing even the thought of premature rupture of membranes can be scary, but you should trust in yourself and your medical support to help if it occurs. Now that you know more about this medical event, you can understand your risks, look out for symptoms, and better handle the complication if it happens. And don’t forget that your healthcare team is your ally, equipped to offer the best care suited to your unique needs.