Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine whether routine antepartum cervical examinations at term are associated with premature rupture of membranes (PROM).
Methods: This was a randomized controlled trial conducted at a health maintenance organization in metropolitan Denver. The subjects were 604 term gravidas randomized to a no examination or examination group. Exclusions included preterm labor, third-trimester bleeding, cerclage, multiple pregnancy, history of PROM (rupture before the onset of labor), and planned induction or cesarean. In the no examination group, routine examinations (without clinical indication) were not performed. In the examination group, weekly examinations were performed from 37 weeks until delivery.
Results: No statistically significant difference in PROM or prolonged PROM (more than 6 hours) was observed between those unexposed and those exposed to routine cervical examinations at term. In addition, there were no differences between the groups in other relevant outcomes including cesarean delivery, induction, augmentation, chorioamnionitis, or neonatal infectious morbidity.
Conclusion: In our population, there is no association between routine weekly antepartum cervical examinations at term and PROM or other study end points.
© 1992 The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists