Skip Navigation LinksHome > January 2003 - Volume 101 - Issue 1 > Preterm Premature Rupture of the Membranes
Obstetrics & Gynecology:
High-Risk Pregnancy Series: An Expert's View

Preterm Premature Rupture of the Membranes

Mercer, Brian M. MD

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Abstract

Preterm premature rupture of membranes (PROM) affects over 120,000 pregnancies annually in the United States and is associated with significant maternal, fetal, and neonatal risk. Management of PROM requires an accurate diagnosis as well as evaluation of the risks and benefits of continued pregnancy or expeditious delivery. An understanding of gestational age‐dependent neonatal morbidity and mortality is important in determining the potential benefits of conservative management of preterm PROM at any gestation. Where possible, the treatment of pregnancies complicated by PROM remote from term should be directed towards conserving the pregnancy and reducing perinatal morbidity due to prematurity while monitoring closely for evidence of infection, placental abruption, labor, or fetal compromise due to umbilical cord compression. Current evidence suggests aggressive adjunctive antibiotic therapy to reduce gestational age‐dependent and infectious infant morbidity. Similarly, review of evaluable data indicates that antenatal corticosteroid administration in this setting enhances neonatal outcome without increasing the risk of perinatal infection. It is not clear that tocolysis in the setting of preterm PROM remote from term reduces infant morbidity. When preterm PROM occurs near term, particularly if fetal pulmonary maturity is evident, the patient is generally best served by expeditious delivery.

© 2003 The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

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