What is preterm premature rupture of membranes?

Preparing for a child’s birth should be an exciting time for a parent. However, it’s always possible for  complications and problems to occur during delivery. One type of complication happens when the mother’s water breaks prematurely. This is known as premature rupture of membranes (PROM) and will not normally cause serious issues for either the woman or child. Preterm premature rupture of membranes (PPROM), however, can present far more serious problems and threaten the health of the unborn child. It’s important to understand the risk factors and complications of PPROM.

What Is PROM and PPROM?

When a pregnant woman is ready to deliver her child, usually her water breaks. The membranes, or layers of tissue holding fluid, rupture. However, sometimes her water breaks when there is no sign of labor. This is called premature rupture of membranes (PROM). If the woman is beyond 37 weeks of pregnancy, babies are considered full term, so PROM is not typically a reason for concern.

If the woman’s water breaks before the 37th week of pregnancy, this is called preterm premature rupture of membranes (PPROM), and it is a far more serious condition for the mother and child. Basically, the earlier these membranes rupture, the more critical the health issues.

What Causes PROM and PPROM?

Each case of PROM and PPROM is different, and it’s not always easy to determine why a woman’s water breaks prematurely. However, there are a few risk factors that have been associated with both PROM and PPROM, including:

  • Uterine infections
  • Stretching of the amniotic sac
  • Smoking while pregnant
  • Lack of adequate prenatal care
  • Sexually transmitted diseases that have gone untreated
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Previous PROM or PPROM occurrences in past pregnancies

What Are the Dangers of PPROM?

When a woman experiences PPROM, it’s possible for the following complications to occur:

  • A serious infection of the placenta known as chorioamnionitis that can be very dangerous to both baby and mother
  • A greater chance of a prolapsed umbilical cord
  • A premature birth, which can lead to an underdeveloped infant
  • An infection in the newborn such as septicemia or pneumonia

We Can Help

If your doctor failed to treat an infection, STD, or other problem that caused your PROM or PPROM or failed to diagnose and treat the condition leading to your child’s birth injury, you may want to seek legal help. Contact the Holton Law Firm in Memphis at 888-443-4387 to discuss your case.