Premature rupture of membranes (PROM) is the breaking of the amniotic sac before labor begins. The sac contains amniotic fluid and the developing baby. With PROM, the amniotic fluid inside the sac leaks or gushes out of the vagina. This is also known as your water breaking.
The main symptom of PROM is fluid leaking from the vagina. You may experience a sudden gush of fluid or a slow, constant trickle. It can be difficult to distinguish between a slow amniotic trickle or urine. Your doctor can do simple tests to determine this.
PROM also increases the risk of infection. Symptoms include a fever above 100.4ºF (38ºC). If you have any of these symptoms, call your doctor right away.
If a large amount of fluid is leaking from the vagina, diagnosing PROM can be straightforward. To confirm the diagnosis, the doctor may do the following tests:
Visual exam—the doctor may be able to see a trickle of fluid through the cervix, or a pool of fluid collected behind the cervix
A nitrazine paper test—the doctor puts a small amount of fluid on a piece of paper to see if it is amniotic fluid
Look at the fluid under a microscope to see if it is amniotic fluid
The doctor will also check you for fever and other signs of infection. He will monitor your baby for any signs of distress.
Treatment of PROM depends on when it occurs in the pregnancy. If it is close to your due date, you and your baby will be watched closely. For example, your baby’s heart rate will be monitored.
Labor usually begins within 24 hours after PROM. If labor does not begin soon after your water breaks, the risk of infection increases. In many cases, labor will be induced by giving you medicines. Antibiotics may also be given.
Researchers are investigating ways to prevent PROM. Taking antibiotics during the second and third trimester may reduce your risk. Taking vitamin C may also lower your chance of developing PROM. You can also take steps for a healthier pregnancy, like quitting smoking.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a