Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Symptoms labor Anatomy

Ruptured Membranes Overview

What are ruptured membranes?
A woman with ruptured membranes has broken water, which occurs just before she delivers her baby. A thin membrane, called the amniotic sac, surrounds the fetus during pregnancy. The membrane also holds clear fluid that protects the fetus during pregnancy. When the thin membrane breaks, the fluid drains from around the fetus. Usually, labor starts soon after rupture of the membranes. A woman with premature rupture of membranes has broken water before the 37th week of pregnancy.

What are the symptoms of ruptured membranes?
The most common symptom of ruptured membranes includes clear fluid leaking from the vagina. In some cases, the fluid may briefly gush, or flow, from the vagina. Symptoms that may occur with premature rupture of membranes include lower abdominal pain, vaginal discharge, vaginal bleeding, or back pain.

How does the doctor treat ruptured membranes?
Treatment is not required for ruptured membranes. After the membranes rupture, labor usually starts and the baby is born. Treatment for ruptured membranes may include fetal monitoring, antibiotics, and medications that stimulate contractions.

Continue to Ruptured Membranes Symptoms

Last Updated: Nov 10, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Ruptured Membranes References
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