Premature Rupture Of Membranes


Article Author:
Shailja Dayal


Article Editor:
Peter Hong


Editors In Chief:
Niamh Condon
Terry Tressler


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Hajira Basit
Phillip Hynes
Komal Shaheen
Sandeep Sekhon


Updated:
12/6/2018 6:33:43 PM

Introduction

Prelabor rupture of membranes (PROM) is defined as rupture of membranes before the onset of labor. When membrane rupture occurs before labor and before 37 weeks of gestation, it is referred to as preterm PROM (PPROM).

Etiology

There is a wide array of mechanisms that cause prelabor rupture of membranes. It can result from a physiologic weakening of the membranes combined with the forces caused by uterine contractions. Intramniotic infection is commonly associated with PPROM. The major risk factors for PPROM include a history of PPROM, short cervical length, second or third trimester vaginal bleeding, uterine overdistension, nutritional deficiencies of copper and ascorbic acid, connective tissue disorders, low body mass index, low socioeconomic status, cigarette smoking, and illicit drug use. Despite a variety of etiologies, often there is no obvious cause that is identified in a patient who presents with PROM.

Epidemiology

At term, PROM complicates approximately 8% of pregnancies. Preterm PROM complicates about 1% of deliveries overall, and it is twofold more common in African Americans.

Pathophysiology

Rupture of membranes results from a variety of factors that ultimately lead to accelerated membrane weakening. This is caused by an increase in local cytokines, an imbalance in the interaction between matrix metalloproteinases and tissue inhibitors of matrix metalloproteinases, increased collagenase and protease activity, and other factors that can cause increased intrauterine pressure.

History and Physical

A thorough history should be performed for all patients complaining of leakage of fluid. This includes a history of present illness, obstetrical history, gynecologic history, medical history, surgical history, social history, and family history. When obtaining the history of present illness, it is important to inquire about contractions, fetal movement, time of possible rupture, amount of fluid, color and odor of fluid, vaginal bleeding, pain, recent sexual encounters, recent trauma, and recent physical activity.

Physical exam should be performed in a way that minimizes the risk of infection. A sterile speculum exam should always be performed. During the speculum exam, patient should be inspected for any signs of cervicitis, umbilical cord prolapse, vaginal bleeding, or fetal prolapse. Digital exam should be avoided unless delivery appears imminent or patient appears to be in active labor [1]. The cervix should be examined during sterile speculum exam to assess cervical dilatation and effacement. If necessary, cultures should be obtained at the time of sterile speculum exam. Visualization of amniotic fluid passing from the cervical canal and pooling in the vagina will typically confirm a diagnosis of membrane rupture.

Evaluation

When examining amniotic fluid under a microscope, arborization, or ferning, will be identified. A pH test can be performed of vaginal fluid. Amniotic fluid typically has a pH of 7.1-7.3, while normal vaginal secretions have a pH of 4.5-6.0. Causes of false positive pH tests include presence of blood or semen, alkaline antiseptics, or bacterial vaginosis. False-negative results may occur with prolonged rupture of membranes. It can sometimes be difficult to definitively diagnose PROM based on the above evaluation. There are additional tests that may aid in the diagnosis. Ultrasound should be performed to evaluate amniotic fluid index. Fetal fibronectin is a sensitive but nonspecific test for rupture of membranes. In addition, there are several commercially available tests for amniotic proteins which report high sensitivity for diagnosis of rupture of membranes [2]. If after a full evaluation the diagnosis still remains unclear, ultrasound-guided instillation of indigo carmine dye can be used to determine if membrane rupture has occurred by evaluating if the dyed fluid has passed through the vagina (using a tampon or pad). If the tampon or pad is stained blue from the dye, rupture of membranes is confirmed.

Treatment / Management

Management of patients with prelabor rupture of membranes is determined by gestational age.

  • Early term and term patients (37 0/7 weeks of gestation or more): proceed to delivery and Group B Streptococcus prophylaxis should be administered as indicated
  • Late Preterm (34 0/7- 36 6/7 weeks of gestation): same for early term and term
  • Preterm (24 0/7 – 33 6/7 weeks of gestation): expectant management, latency antibiotics, single course of corticosteroids, GBS prophylaxis as indicated
  • Less than 24 weeks of gestation: patient counseling, expectant management or induction of labor, antibiotics can be considered as early as 20 0/7 weeks of gestation, GBS prophylaxis/corticosteroids/tocolysis/magnesium sulfate are not recommended before viability

Nonreassuring fetal status and chorioamnionitis are indications for delivery. If the patient presents with vaginal bleeding, there may be a concern for a placental abruption and delivery should be considered. The decision for delivery should be made based on fetal status, amount of bleeding, the stability of mother, and gestational age. In a term patient, if spontaneous labor does not occur near the time of presentation, labor should be induced. 

Generally, patients with preterm PROM should be admitted to hospital with periodic assessment for infection, placental abruption, umbilical cord compression, fetal well-being, and labor. Periodic ultrasound evaluation should be performed to monitor fetal growth as well as periodic fetal heart rate monitoring. Vital signs should be monitored and a rise in maternal temperature should raise suspicion for an intrauterine infection. Serial monitoring of leukocytes and inflammatory markers have not proved to be useful in diagnosing infection as they are found to be nonspecific if there is no clinical evidence of infection. Administration of corticosteroids will also cause a transient leukocytosis.

The use of tocolytics on patients with preterm PROM is controversial. Prophylactic tocolytics may be associated with a longer latency period and a lower risk of delivery within 48 hours. However, it is also associated with a higher risk of chorioamnionitis in pregnancies before 34 weeks of gestation. No significant maternal or neonatal benefit has been shown with the use of tocolytics [3].  

Antenatal corticosteroids after preterm PROM have been shown to reduce neonatal mortality, respiratory distress syndrome, necrotizing enterocolitis, and intraventricular hemorrhage. A single course of corticosteroids is recommended for all pregnant women between 24 0/7 weeks and 34 0/7 weeks of gestation if there is a risk of delivery in the next 7 days.

The administration of magnesium sulfate should be used when delivery is anticipated before 32 0/7 weeks of gestation in order to reduce the risk of cerebral palsy [4].

Antibiotics have been shown to prolong pregnancy, reduce maternal and neonatal infections, and reduce fetal morbidity. A seven day course of therapy is recommended in women with preterm PROM who are at less than 34 weeks of gestation. The recommended regimen is intravenous ampicillin (2g every 6 hours) and erythromycin (250 mg every 6 hours) for 48 hours, followed by oral amoxicillin (250 mg every 8 hours) and erythromycin base (333 mg every 8 hours). A seven day course should be completed. Amoxicillin-clavulanic acid is not recommended due to increased rates of necrotizing enterocolitis. If the patient is a candidate for GBS prophylaxis, she should receive antibiotics to prevent vertical transmission of GBS [5].

Women with a history of preterm PROM have a higher risk of recurrent PROM and preterm birth. Progesterone supplementation should be offered to reduce the risk of spontaneous preterm birth.

Complications

  • Infection risk in fetus and mother
  • Perinatal mortality
  • Respiratory distress syndrome in infant
  • Intraventricular hemorrhage
  • Fetal lung hypoplasia
  • Risk for Cesarean section delivery

Enhancing Healthcare Team Outcomes

Prelabor Rupture of Membranes requires immediate attention. Accurate diagnosis and knowledge of gestational age are crucial to determining the management of the patient. Gestational age dictates the management. It is imperative to monitor patients for signs and symptoms of infection. The patient must be evaluated in a clinical setting in order to determine if rupture of membranes has occurred. A physician must always tell the patient to present to Labor & Delivery or an OB/GYN clinic for evaluation. A team approach is necessary for favorable outcomes. The OB/GYN will evaluate the patient and dictate the management, a nurse must participate in the monitoring of the patient, and pediatrics must be aware of the patient's status and treatment plan. It is important that the pediatric team is informed about the patient's course so they can be prepared for delivery of the infant. Anesthesiology must also be informed should the patient require a cesarean section or obstetric anesthesia. It is always important to discuss the wishes of the patient regarding the care of the newborn should the newborn be severely preterm.

PPROM is associated with a prenatal morbidity and mortality rate in excess of 20%, and the outcomes are primarily dependent on the gestational age at delivery. The key to reducing the adverse effects of PPROM is to make a prompt diagnosis, admission and start antibiotic coverage.[6][7] (Level V)


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Premature Rupture Of Membranes - Questions

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What should be done for a woman with PROM, a fever of 101, who is on penicillin for GBS and is crying and exhausted? The FHR is in the 190s with decreased variability. The baby's head is distending the perineum in OA position, is at +3 station, and is visible at the introitus with pushing.



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What is the first step in managing suspected premature preterm rupture of membranes?



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What is not a risk factor for premature rupture of membranes (PROM)?



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What is the condition of spontaneous rupture of membranes at term with no contractions?



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A female present to the at 38 weeks of her pregnancy with premature rupture of her membranes. Quick fetal stress test reveals marked bradycardia in the infant and it is decided to perform an emergency cesarean section. The patient also has gestational diabetes and hypertension. To lower the risk of sepsis in the postoperative period, what should be administered?



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An 18-year-old female presents to the birth center triage area complaining of a "gush of fluid" and the feeling of urinating on herself. She has 0/10 pain, no headache, and denies pain with the gush of fluid. She is G2P1 and is currently at 38 weeks' gestation. She denies feeling any contractions. The fetal heart rate is 140 beats/min and steady. The maternal vital signs are heart rate of 90 beats/min, blood pressure 132/74 mmHg, pulse oximetry 98% on room air, respirations 20, and temperature 98.6 F (37.0 C). On exam, there is no edema and her reflexes are normal. Based on this clinical presentation, what nursing interventions should be anticipated? Select all that apply.



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A patient reports a sudden gush of fluid with continued leakage from her vagina at 38 weeks into her pregnancy. It occurred while taking a routine walk. She denies fever, bleeding, or feeling contractions. Which of the following is true regarding this condition? Select all that apply.



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A 30-year-old 34 weeks gravid female presents to the emergency department complaining of a large gush of fluids from her pelvis while sitting at home. Upon arrival at the hospital, she denies any symptoms, although her temperature is measured to be 38.3 C. She is being evaluated for possible premature delivery. Which of the following is contraindicated as part of this patient's workup?



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Premature Rupture Of Membranes - References

References

Lee SE,Park JS,Norwitz ER,Kim KW,Park HS,Jun JK, Measurement of placental alpha-microglobulin-1 in cervicovaginal discharge to diagnose rupture of membranes. Obstetrics and gynecology. 2007 Mar     [PubMed]
Fox NS,Gelber SE,Kalish RB,Chasen ST, Contemporary practice patterns and beliefs regarding tocolysis among u.s. Maternal-fetal medicine specialists. Obstetrics and gynecology. 2008 Jul     [PubMed]
Doyle LW,Crowther CA,Middleton P,Marret S,Rouse D, Magnesium sulphate for women at risk of preterm birth for neuroprotection of the fetus. The Cochrane database of systematic reviews. 2009 Jan 21     [PubMed]
Kenyon S,Boulvain M,Neilson JP, Antibiotics for preterm rupture of membranes. The Cochrane database of systematic reviews. 2013 Dec 2     [PubMed]
Alexander JM,Mercer BM,Miodovnik M,Thurnau GR,Goldenberg RL,Das AF,Meis PJ,Moawad AH,Iams JD,Vandorsten JP,Paul RH,Dombrowski MP,Roberts JM,McNellis D, The impact of digital cervical examination on expectantly managed preterm rupture of membranes. American journal of obstetrics and gynecology. 2000 Oct     [PubMed]
Duncan JR,Tobiasz AM,Dorsett KM,Aziz MM,Thompson RE,Bursac Z,Talati AJ,Mba GMMD,Schenone MH, Fetal pulmonary artery acceleration/ejection time prognostic accuracy for respiratory complications in preterm prelabor rupture of membranes. The journal of maternal-fetal     [PubMed]
Tsakiridis I,Mamopoulos A,Chalkia-Prapa EM,Athanasiadis A,Dagklis T, Preterm Premature Rupture of Membranes: A Review of 3 National Guidelines. Obstetrical     [PubMed]

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