Preterm Rupture of Membranes

My amniotic membrane ruptured two weeks ago, at 23 weeks. What are the chances of my baby surviving or even going to term? Also, what complications should I expect?

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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

It is hard to predict which mothers and babies will do well and which will not. The ruptured membrane gives bacteria an entrance into the uterus, which is why nothing should be introduced into the vagina. This precludes pelvic exams and intercourse. The risks of an infection for you and for the baby range from 15 to 25 percent.

Prematurity is another risk. If rupture occurs prior to 26 weeks, there is a 50-50 chance of going into labor within one week. (It looks as if you have already beaten those odds.)

Lack of oxygen to the baby due to umbilical cord compression or prolapse is another risk. This could lead to stillbirth. Compression of the cord produces a 3 percent risk of some fetal face, limb, or lung defects.

Fetal malformations can also occur due to the lack of fluid, which restricts the baby's movements.

In many cases, the leak seals over and the pregnancy progresses without any more problems, but in any event, you continue to produce a cup of fluid every hour for the baby.

Of course, your care provider is your best source for information and guidance.

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