Spontaneous rupture of membranes (ROM) is a normal component of labor and delivery. Premature ROM (PROM) refers to rupture of the fetal membranes prior to the onset of labor irrespective of gestational age. Once the membranes rupture, delivery is recommended when the risk of ascending infection outweighs the risk of prematurity. When PROM occurs at term, labor typically ensues spontaneously or is induced within 12 to 24 hours. The management of pregnancies complicated by preterm PROM (defined as PROM occurring prior to 37 weeks of gestation) is more challenging. Preterm PROM complicates 2% to 20% of all deliveries and is associated with 18% to 20% of perinatal deaths. Management options include admission to hospital, amniocentesis to exclude intra-amniotic infection, and administration of antenatal corticosteroids and broad-spectrum antibiotics, if indicated. This article reviews in detail the contemporary diagnosis and management of preterm PROM.
Keywords: Antenatal corticosteroids; Antibiotics; Premature rupture of membranes; Preterm birth; Preterm premature rupture of membranes.