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Preterm Prelabour Rupture of Membranes (pPROM)

Condition Basics

What is preterm prelabour rupture of membranes (pPROM)?

Before a baby is born, the amniotic sac breaks. Then fluid either leaks slowly or gushes out. You may hear it called "having your water break." When this happens before contractions start, it's called prelabour rupture of membranes (PROM). When PROM occurs before 37 weeks, it's called preterm prelabour rupture of membranes (pPROM).

What are the symptoms?

When your water breaks, it often feels like a large gush of water. Or it may feel like you're leaking a small amount of water. Water from the amniotic sac is usually clear or light yellow. Tell your doctor or midwife about any water you're leaking. Tell them right away if you have a fever and your water is dark or greenish, bad-smelling, or bloody.

What happens when you have pPROM?

Many people with pPROM have their baby within 1 week. It may take longer. Some people carry the pregnancy to term. If you think your water has broken, or if you have a fever, it's important to call your doctor or midwife right away.

How is it treated?

You will likely stay in the hospital so you and your baby can be closely watched. You will probably be given steroids to help your baby's lungs grow. You will get antibiotics to prevent an infection.

If labour doesn't start on its own and there is a problem with the pregnancy, you may be given medicines to start labour.

In some cases, you may be given medicines to delay labour. This is sometimes done so that the other medicines you were given have time to work. Or it may be done to allow time for you to be moved to a hospital that can take care of your baby after you give birth.

Your doctor will talk to you about what's safest for you and your baby.


Current as of: November 9, 2022

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
JoLynn Montgomery PA - Family Medicine
Femi Olatunbosun MB, FRCSC - Obstetrics and Gynecology