Preterm Prelabor Rupture of Membranes (PPROM) is a condition in obstetrics where the amniotic sac, which houses the baby in the womb, ruptures before labor begins and before the gestational age of 37 weeks. This premature rupture can lead to dangerous infections, premature birth, and potentially serious complications for the baby. The exact cause of PPROM is unknown, but certain factors such as infections, smoking, multiple pregnancies, and previous history of PPROM can increase its risk.

Key Takeaways

  1. Preterm Prelabor Rupture of Membranes (PPROM) refers to the breaking of the amniotic sac before labor begins, usually before 37 weeks of gestation. It is a leading cause of preterm births and can lead to various pregnancy and neonatal complications.
  2. PPROM is generally associated with infections, specifically intra-amniotic infections. These infections could increase the risk of premature birth and may have serious impact on the neonate’s health including neonatal sepsis and neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) admissions.
  3. Management strategies for PPROM aim to balance the risks of premature birth with those of prolonged intrauterine exposure to potential infection. This often involves close monitoring, antibiotic prophylaxis, and corticosteroids to enhance fetal lung maturity if necessary before delivery.


The term Preterm Prelabor Rupture of Membranes (PPROM) is crucial in the realm of obstetrics because it refers to a medical condition where the amniotic sac ruptures before the onset of labor in a pregnancy that is less than 37 weeks.

This condition can lead to serious complications for both the mother and the unborn baby, including infection, premature birth, or even stillbirth.

Identifying PPROM early allows healthcare providers to monitor the condition throughout the remainder of the pregnancy and to take steps to minimize any potential risks or complications.

Data suggests that PPROM is responsible for approximately one third of all preterm births, underscoring the significance of this term in maternal healthcare.


Preterm prelabor rupture of membranes (PPROM) refers to a condition in pregnancy when the amniotic sac ruptures before labor commences, specifically prior to the 37th week of gestation. This premature rupturing can result in a variety of complications for both the mother and the unborn child.

The main purpose of recognizing and diagnosing PPROM is to prevent or manage these possible complications, as well as to guide appropriate interventions for the safety and well-being of both the mother and baby. The focus on PPROM arises from its role in preterm birth, which is the leading cause of neonatal morbidity and mortality worldwide.

The increased risk of infection, potential for fetal malpresentation, possible umbilical cord complications, and the onset of preterm labor are all significant concerns when dealing with PPROM. Thus, understanding and recognizing PPROM is fundamental to managing the health of the mother and baby effectively.

Healthcare professionals use this knowledge to make critical decisions about delivery timing, use of antibiotics, and providing corticosteroids to expedite fetal lung maturity in case of preterm delivery.

Examples of Preterm prelabor rupture of membranes (PPROM)

Example 1: A woman at 32 weeks of pregnancy begins noticing clear fluid leaking intermittently from her vagina. Concerned, she goes to her healthcare provider who confirms that her water has broken prematurely. A diagnosis of preterm prelabor rupture of membranes (PPROM) is made and she is admitted in the hospital for close monitoring of her and her unborn baby’s health.Example 2: A pregnant woman in her 28th week of gestation experiences sudden gush of fluid from her vagina. She immediately consults her doctor who suspects PPROM. The diagnosis is confirmed through ultrasound and other tests. The woman is then recommended complete bed rest, antibiotics to reduce the risk of infection, steroids to mature the baby’s lungs, and regular monitoring to ensure the safety of both mother and baby.Example 3: A first-time mom who is 34 weeks pregnant feels constant wetness in her underwear, worried that she might be experiencing incontinence, she visits her doctor. After a series of tests, it is concluded that her situation is not incontinence, but PPROM. In this case, her doctor manages her condition by observing signs of infection and labor and taking steps to prevent premature labor until it’s safer for the baby to be born.

FAQs on Preterm Prelabor Rupture of Membranes (PPROM)

What is Preterm Prelabor Rupture of Membranes (PPROM)?

Preterm Prelabor Rupture of Membranes (PPROM) is a condition that occurs in pregnancy when the amniotic sac that holds the baby ruptures before the onset of labor and before the gestation period of 37 weeks.

What are the symptoms of PPROM?

The main symptom of PPROM is the leaking of fluid from the vagina. It could be a sudden gush or a slow trickle. Some women might also experience backache, contractions, or vaginal bleeding.

What are the causes of PPROM?

The causes of PPROM aren’t fully known, but some risk factors include a history of PPROM in previous pregnancies, vaginal infections, bleeding during pregnancy, and smoking during pregnancy.

How is PPROM diagnosed?

PPROM can be diagnosed through a physical examination, ultrasound and lab tests. The doctor may check the fluid pooling in the vagina or look for signs of infection. A swab test may be done to confirm the presence of amniotic fluid. In some instances, an ultrasound may be necessary to check the amount of fluid around the baby.

What is the treatment for PPROM?

Treatment for PPROM depends on several factors including the gestation period, amount of fluid leaked and the presence of infection. In some cases, if the baby is close to full term, the doctor may recommend inducing labor. Medications can be given to reduce the risk of infection, help the baby’s lungs mature and to delay labor.

Related Motherhood Terms

  • Amniotic fluid
  • Maternal infection
  • Gestational age
  • Cervical insufficiency
  • Mother-baby health monitoring

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