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Premature rupture of membranes occurs when the pregnancy is not yet 37 weeks old. Conditions that can harm both mother and baby can be caused by several things. The treatment also needs to be adjusted to the age of the womb when the membranes rupture
Amniotic fluid is the fluid in the pouch that surrounds the fetus in the womb. Under normal conditions, the amniotic sac will rupture just before delivery. However, there are times when the membranes rupture faster than the expected time or what is known as premature rupture of the membranes.
A pregnant woman is said to have premature rupture of membranes if:
- The fluid has seeped before 37 weeks of pregnancy. The earlier the membranes rupture, the more dangerous it is for the mother and her baby.
- The membranes ruptured when the gestational age was approaching the due date, but no delivery occurred within 24 hours after that
Causes and Risk Factors of Premature Rupture of Membranes
The exact cause of premature rupture of membranes is still not clearly known, but this condition is thought to arise due to weakening of the amniotic sac or excessive pressure around the membranes, for example due to uterine contractions.
In addition, there are several factors that can increase the risk of premature rupture of membranes, namely:
- The presence of infection in the membranes and placenta, urinary tract, uterus, cervix, or vagina
- The volume of amniotic fluid is too much (polyhydramnios) or multiple pregnancies, causing the uterus and amniotic sac to stretch excessively
- Pregnant women with low weight or underweight
- The habit of using illegal drugs or smoking while pregnant
- Have you ever had a biopsy or surgery on the cervix (cervix)
- Short cervix
- Have experienced premature rupture of membranes before
- Have experienced bleeding during pregnancy, especially in the second and third trimesters
Premature rupture of membranes
The treatment of premature rupture of membranes will usually be adjusted to the gestational age, the condition of the fetus in the womb, and the he alth condition of the mother.
The following are some treatments that the doctor will do based on the time of premature rupture of membranes:
1. Pregnancy less than 23 weeks
If the membranes rupture prematurely before 23 weeks of pregnancy, then the doctor needs to evaluate the condition of the mother and fetus to determine whether a high-risk pregnancy can be maintained.
It is unlikely that babies born at this gestational age will survive. If they are able, they are more likely to have mental or physical disabilities.
In this premature rupture of membranes at a very young gestational age, the doctor may prescribe uterine relaxants and additional amniotic fluid (amnioinfusion).
2. 23–34 weeks gestation
If the membranes rupture prematurely at this gestational age, the doctor will usually suggest delaying the birth so that the fetus in the womb has enough time to grow and develop.
Pregnant women will be given antibiotics to prevent infection and corticosteroid drugs to accelerate the development of the fetal lungs.
3. 34–37 weeks gestation
The doctor will likely suggest induction of labor for the baby to be delivered a few weeks early if the membranes rupture prematurely. This is done to prevent the baby from getting infected.
4. Gestational age more than 37 weeks
If premature rupture of membranes occurs when the gestational age is past 37 weeks, the fetus in the womb needs to be delivered immediately. The longer the delivery process is carried out, the greater the chance for pregnant women and the fetus to be infected.
Pregnant women who are at risk of premature rupture of membranes as mentioned above, are recommended to undergo regular prenatal check-ups and consult a doctor. This aims to avoid premature rupture of membranes and the complications it can cause.