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When your waters break early (pre-term pre-labour rupture of membranes) (PPROM)

What is pre-term pre-labour rupture of membranes?

Pre-labour rupture of membranes (PROM) is when your waters break before the onset of labour. This mostly happens near to the date that your baby is due. If your waters break before labour and before 37 weeks, it is known as pre-term pre-labour rupture of membranes (PPROM)

What happens if I have PPROM?

  • After initial assessment and treatment as an inpatient your Consultant will consider and discuss with you whether to continue to monitor your pregnancy via the Day Assessment Unit (DAU) or if plans should be made to give birth sooner.
  • You may be recommended a two dose course of steroid injections to help mature your baby’s lungs if it is premature. You may be offered a 10 day course of antibiotics to reduce the risk of infection.

What care would I receive in the DAU?

You will usually be asked to attend the DAU twice weekly for assessment and monitoring. This may include:

  • Taking your temperature, pulse and blood pressure
  • Testing your urine
  • Monitoring your baby’s heartbeat (CTG monitoring)
  • Observing for any fluid loss
  • Taking blood tests to help determine if there is any infection
  • Taking a low vaginal swab (weekly) to exclude infection
  • Ultrasound scans will also be offered at agreed intervals

If the midwife detects any abnormal findings she will seek advice from the Consultant team. Allow 1-3 hours for your appointment.

Further management

Your Consultant will discuss the appropriate timing of your baby’s birth with you. Depending on your situation, your choices may include:

  • Continued monitoring in the DAU until labour starts spontaneously.
  • Induction of labour by 37 weeks of pregnancy.

What should I do at home?

It is very important that you should watch for:

  • Any bleeding from your vagina
  • Any abdominal pain
  • Any change in the colour of your waters Any offensive smell of the waters
  • Any fever above 37°c (you will have been asked to take your temperature twice a day)
  • Your baby is not moving as normal
  • Feeling unwell, vomiting, flu-like symptoms
  • Contractions

If you experience any of the above symptoms you should contact the DAU during opening hours or the Labour Ward outside opening hours, regardless of when you were last seen by your midwife or doctor.

  • Eat and drink normally
  • You may shower and bathe as you would normally
  • Avoid sexual intercourse due to the risk of infection

Remember, if you are worried or have any concerns about your well-being or that of your baby please speak to us about them and seek medical advice.

Further Information

www.rcog.org.uk – Information for patients “When your waters break early”

Useful Contact Numbers

Stoke Mandeville Hospital Day Assessment Unit

Claydon Wing Annex (Entrance 2) Tel: 01296 316106

Opening Hours: 08.00-18.00 Monday-Friday
09.00-17.00 Weekends & Bank Holidays

Stoke Mandeville Hospital Labour Ward Tel: 01296 316103/4