Preterm Premature Rupture of Membranes



PPROM is caused by membranes that are weak or thin.

Risk Factors

Things that may raise the risk of PPROM are:

  • PPROM in earlier pregnancies
  • Infection in the amniotic sac
  • Amniocentesis
  • Bleeding late in pregnancy
  • Procedures used to treat problems of the cervix
  • A short cervix
  • An enlarged uterus
  • Smoking during pregnancy
  • A low body mass index
  • Connective tissue disorders
  • Lung disease during pregnancy
  • Nutritional problems



The main symptom of PPROM is fluid leaking from the birth canal. There may be a sudden gush or a slow trickle.

PPROM raises the risk of infection. There may also be:

  • Fever
  • Rapid heartbeat


If a large amount of fluid is leaking from the birth canal, PPROM is likely.

It can be hard to tell a slow amniotic trickle apart from urine. These tests may also be done:

  • Nitrazine paper test—the doctor puts a small amount of fluid on a piece of paper to see if it is amniotic fluid
  • A microscopic exam of the fluid

An ultrasound may be done to see how much fluid is present.



Treatment depends on when it happens in the pregnancy.

34 to 36 Weeks

The doctor will:

  • Watch the baby’s heart rate
  • Start labor with medicines
  • Possibly give antibiotics

24 to 33 Weeks

The doctor will give antibiotics and steroids. Delivery may be delayed until 34 weeks of pregnancy.

Less than 24 Weeks

Hospital care may be needed for bed rest and monitoring. 24 weeks is about the youngest a baby can be born.


There are no current guidelines to prevent PPROM.

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

Edits to original content made by Denver Health.