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Preterm premature rupture of membranes affects mother and baby

When a woman is pregnant, she usually counts down the months, weeks and days until her due date. As time passes, she is likely wondering when she will go into labor and if she will know for sure that she is in labor. For some women, a ruptured amniotic sac is the first sign that the baby is on the way. If the woman is 37 weeks pregnant when her water breaks, she is usually good to go and ready to have her baby. If she hasn't reached that point in her pregnancy, her water breaking can be a very serious issue.

Preterm premature rupture of the membranes occurs when a woman's water breaks before she is 37 weeks pregnant. Depending on how far along she is, the medical team might opt to go ahead with the labor and delivery. For other women, doctors will try to prevent labor to allow the baby to continue to develop before he or she is born.

If the baby isn't ready to be delivered and if there aren't any signs of infection, doctors might opt to try to stop the impending labor for as long as possible. Doing this can include bed rest, a hospital stay, medications and close monitoring of the mother and baby.

One of the biggest risks for the mother and baby is infection, especially if it is determined that the labor can safely be delayed. Other risks include umbilical cord issues and problems with the placenta. Additionally, the woman might need to have a surgical delivery of her baby, especially if the baby is breech.

While it isn't possible to predict or prevent PPROM, it is crucial that the condition is treated properly. If it isn't and the mother or baby suffer harm, legal action might be suitable.

Source: University of Rochester Medical Center, "Preterm Premature Rupture of Membranes (PPROM)," accessed May 20, 2016

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