You may have seen in movies when a pregnant lady suddenly gasps as she’s standing and then she looks down and yells ‘ my water just broke’!. And you see fluid gushing out and down her legs. Well, that was her amniotic sac breaking. And it is okay if this happens shortly before the onset of labor. But, it becomes a problem when it happens more than 1 hr before the onset of labor- And this is called premature rupture of the membranes.
So premature rupture of the membranes is a spontaneous (Unexpected, not yet time) rupture of the amniotic sac/ membrane before the onset of labor.
Most times it’s a gush of fluid leaking out of the uterus through the vagina. But sometimes, it could be a slow steady leakage. The experience is usually painless.
Gestational age determines the plan and intervention to carry out. For instance, if it is a full term or term pregnancy, that is at or after 37 weeks gestational age, labor typically starts and there is minimal risk to the fetus.
But if the rupture is before 37 weeks or preterm, it becomes a problem. If labor is delayed, infection becomes a risk because premature rupture provides a path for bacteria to enter the womb.
In preterm premature rupture of the membranes, both the fetus and the body are at greater risk for complications.
It also accounts for one-third of preterm births, and preterm babies suffer complications that include death. There is also an increased risk of umbilical cord compression, as a result of low levels of fluid around the fetus.