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Preterm premature rupture of membranes is a serious condition

A fetus is protected by the amniotic sac, which helps to regulate the fetus' environment and keep infections at bay. In most cases, the amniotic sac remains intact throughout the pregnancy and ruptures only when the pregnancy is full term and the baby is ready to be born. There are some instances in which the amniotic sac, or bag of water, ruptures prematurely. That condition is called preterm premature rupture of the membranes. This is a serious medical condition that can place the mother and unborn baby at risk, so it must be treated immediately and using proper methods.

In order to be classified as preterm PROM, the amniotic sac must rupture prior to week 37 of the pregnancy. This places the fetus at risk of developing intraventricular hemorrhage. Cerebral palsy is one of the conditions that can develop if a neonate suffers an intraventricular hemorrhage.

There is also a risk that the mother will suffer from chorioamnionitis, which is an infection. Group B strep infections, placental abruption, sepsis, and abnormal fetal presentation are also possible complications that are associated with preterm PROM.

If the preterm PROM occurs before week 24 of the pregnancy, there is also a chance that the baby could suffer from pulmonary hypoplasia because of the leakage of the fluid. Another risk of preterm PROM at this stage of gestation also include limb deformities.

If preterm PROM occurs, the pregnant woman and her unborn baby will need to be closely monitored. In most cases, bedrest, pelvic rest, and medication treatment will be necessary. If a doctor diagnoses preterm PROM and fails to treat the patient in a manner that isn't up to the standard of care, the pregnant woman might opt to seek compensation for the birth injuries that occur.

Source: Merck Manual Professional Version, "Premature Rupture of Membranes (PROM)," Julie S. Moldenhauer, MD, accessed May 02, 2016

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