Preterm Premature Rupture of Membranes
Preterm premature rupture of membranes (PPROM) is when the amniotic sac breaks before 37 weeks of gestation. The sac contains amniotic fluid and the developing baby. In PPROM, the amniotic fluid inside the sac leaks or gushes out of the vagina. This is also known as your water breaking.
Fetus with Amniotic Sac
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PPROM increases the risks of certain pregnancy complications, including:
- Preterm delivery—baby is born prematurely and is not fully developed
- Placental abruption—placenta separates from the uterus before the baby is delivered
- Prolapsed umbilical cord—umbilical cord is squeezed between the baby and the pelvis
- Infection in the uterus or baby
Call your doctor right away if you suspect that your water has broken.
The causes of PPROM are not clearly understood. Some of the possible causes are:
- Early dilation of the cervix (may be due to the weight of baby and placenta, or changes in the cervix itself)
- Infections of the vagina, uterus, or membranes surrounding the fetus
- Premature labor (occurring previously in the same pregnancy)
Last reviewedJune 2014by Michael Woods, MD
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 medical condition.