What you need to know about premature rupture of membranes

Normally, pRupture of the membranes occurs just before delivery, i.e when gestational age reaches 38-40 weeks. However, sometimes amniotic broke prematurely. This condition is called amniotic fluid premature break, dIt can be dangerous for both mother and baby.

Amniotic fluid is the fluid in the pouch that surrounds the fetus in the uterus. Under normal conditions, this amniotic sac will rupture just before labor occurs. However, there are times when the water breaks sooner than it should.

A pregnant woman is said to have premature rupture of membranes if:

  • The fluid has leaked before the pregnancy reaches 37 weeks. The earlier the membranes rupture, the more dangerous it is for the mother and her baby.
  • The membranes ruptured when the gestational age was approaching the due date, but labor did not occur within 24 hours afterward.

Causes of premature rupture of membranes

The exact cause of premature rupture of membranes is still not clearly known, but this condition is thought to arise due to weakening of the amniotic sac or excessive pressure around the membranes, for example due to uterine contractions.

In addition, there are several factors that can increase the risk of premature rupture of membranes, namely:

  • An infection in the urinary tract, uterus, cervix, or vagina.
  • The volume of amniotic fluid is too much (polyhydramnios) or multiple pregnancies, causing the uterus and amniotic sac to stretch excessively.
  • Pregnant women with low body weight or underweight.
  • Smoking habits during pregnancy.
  • Have had a biopsy or surgery on the cervix (cervix).
  • Have experienced premature rupture of membranes before.
  • Have experienced bleeding during pregnancy.
  • Suffering from sexually transmitted diseases during pregnancy.

Handling of premature rupture of membranes

Handling of premature rupture of membranes will usually be adjusted to the gestational age, condition of the fetus in the womb, and the health condition of the mother. The following are some of the treatments that doctors will do based on the time of premature rupture of membranes:

1. Gestational age more than 37 weeks

If premature rupture of membranes occurs when the gestational age is past 37 weeks, the fetus in the womb needs to be delivered immediately. The longer the delivery process is carried out, the greater the chance for pregnant women and the fetus to be infected.

 2. 34-37 weeks gestation

The doctor will likely suggest induction of labor so that the baby is delivered a few weeks early. This is done to prevent the baby from getting infected.

3. gestational age 23-34 weeks

Usually the doctor will advise to delay the birth so that the fetus in the womb has enough time to grow and develop. Pregnant women will be given antibiotics to prevent infection, and corticosteroids to accelerate the development of the fetal lungs.

4. Gestational age less than 23 weeks

If the membranes rupture before 23 weeks of pregnancy, the doctor will need to evaluate the condition of the mother and fetus to determine whether a high-risk pregnancy is maintained. In premature rupture of membranes at a very young gestational age, the doctor may give drugs to relax the uterus and additional amniotic fluid (amnioinfusion).

For pregnant women who are at risk of experiencing premature rupture of membranes as mentioned above, it is recommended to routinely undergo prenatal care and consult a gynecologist, so that premature rupture of membranes can be avoided.