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When your waters break early

Published: 16/05/2012

Your unborn baby is surrounded by fluid or ‘waters’ contained within a membrane bag. Breaking of the waters is also known as rupture of the membranes. Normally your waters break shortly before or during labour. If your waters break before labour at less than 37 weeks of pregnancy, this is known as preterm prelabour rupture of membranes (PPROM). Two out of every 100 pregnant women (2%) experience this.

This information is for you if you think or have been told that your waters have broken early (before 37 weeks). It tells you about:

  • How the diagnosis is made
  • What this diagnosis may mean for you and your baby
  • What extra antenatal care you can expect
  • What treatments there are

This information is based on the RCOG clinical guideline Preterm Prelabour Rupture of Membranes.

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