Premature rupture of membranes

In my first pregnancy, my water broke at 37 weeks. I am now 36 weeks pregnant with my second child. What causes the membranes to rupture?

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Peg Plumbo CNM

Peg Plumbo has been a certified nurse-midwife (CNM) since 1976. She has assisted at over 1,000 births and currently teaches in the... Read more

Most of the time, rupture of the membranes is a random event and is unpredictable. Therefore, there is no higher chance of recurrence with the next pregnancy.

We know that certain types of vaginal conditions and sexually transmitted infections put a woman at increased risk of premature rupture. These include: group B beta strep, chlamydia, gonorrhea, bacterial vaginosis and trichomoniasis.

At your first prenatal visit, you were probably screened for all of these. If you are still concerned, you could have cultures for gonorrhea, beta strep and chlamydia repeated. You also could have your care provider do a "wet mount" (microscopic exam of any discharge) to check for bacterial vaginosis and trichomonads.

If the previous premature rupture was was a chance event, you may well go on to term with this baby. And, at 36 weeks, your baby is probably developed enough so that premature rupture would not put him or her at substantial risk for complications.

I hope all goes well for you.

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