What is PPROM?

*Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. The information below is taken directly from Tommys.org.


1.  Preterm prelabor rupture of membranes (PPROM) is when your waters break before 37 weeks of pregnancy. If this happens, you will need to get medical help straight away.


2.  PPROM happens in about 3% of pregnancies.


3. We don’t always know why PPROM happens. But it may be caused by infection, or placental problems, such as placental insufficiency or a blood clot (haematoma) behind the placenta or membranes. Other risk factors may include if you:

The membranes form a protective barrier around the baby. After the membranes break, there is a risk that you may develop an infection. This can cause you to go into labour early or cause you or your baby to develop sepsis (a life-threatening reaction to an infection).


4.  The symptoms of infection include:

  • a raised temperature
  • an unusual vaginal discharge with an unpleasant smell
  • a fast pulse rate
  • pain in your lower stomach.

Your baby’s heart rate may also be faster than normal. If there are signs that you have an infection, your baby may need to be born straight away. This is to try to prevent both you and your baby becoming more unwell. 


5.  About 50% of women with PPROM will go into labour within 1 week after their waters break. The further along you are in your pregnancy, the more likely you are to go into labour within 1 week of your waters breaking. PPROM is associated with 3-4 out of every 10 premature births.

Babies born prematurely have an increased risk of health problems and may need to spend time a neonatal unit.


6.  In many hospitals, 24 weeks is the point at which doctors will take steps in an attempt to save the life of a baby born prematurely. This generally means extreme medical intervention, potentially including mechanical ventilation and other invasive treatments followed by a lengthy stay in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU)


7.  The percentage of infants born at 22 to 24 weeks’ gestation who survived climbed from 30% around 2000 to 36% around 2011 across the United States. (https://www.verywellfamily.com/premature-birth-and-viability-2371529).


8.  The outlook for babies born at 22 and 23 weeks is not sunny, but it is improving. In two multicenter studies published in 2015 and 2018, 23 and 38 percent of babies born at 22 weeks and given intensive care survived to hospital discharge. For 23-week babies, the survival rate was as high as 55 percent. Last year, the University of Iowa reported that, among 20 babies who were born at their children’s hospital at 22 weeks between 2006 and 2015, 70 percent survived, which is the highest survival rate at that gestation ever reported in the United States.(https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/16/parenting/baby/extremely-premature-infants.html).