Premature rupture of the membranes is when the sac that holds the fetus ruptures before the birth process or before reaching 37 weeks of gestation. This situation can cause serious problems for the mother and fetus that can endanger their lives.
Normally, the rupture of the amniotic sac occurs about 24 hours before birth. However, what actually causes your waters to break early? Let's explore an explanation of the causes, symptoms, and how to treat premature rupture of membranes in the following article.
Causes of Premature Rupture of Amniotic Fluid
Premature rupture of the membranes can be caused by a variety of factors. One of them is the natural weakening of the amniotic membranes due to the pressure or contractions that occur. Apart from these conditions, this can occur due to inflammation of the membranes or infection in the uterus. There are several other factors that can trigger the rupture of the membranes, including:
- Sexually transmitted infections such as chlamydia or gonorrhea
- The occurrence of vaginal bleeding
- The waters have ruptured due to the short size of the cervix
- History of previous preterm birth
- Smoking habits during pregnancy
- Having a urinary tract infection (UTI)
- Low body mass index
- Did not regularly meet the obstetrician, so the history of pregnancy was not known clearly
In this condition, it is important to identify these risk factors and watch for signs that may indicate premature rupture of the membranes. By understanding the causes and associated risk factors, we can take the necessary preventive steps to maintain a good pregnancy.
Symptoms of Premature Rupture of Amniotic Fluid
One of the signs of premature rupture of membranes is leakage of amniotic fluid from the vagina. The difference is that with urine, amniotic fluid has no color or aroma, and the rupture of amniotic fluid cannot be controlled so that it continues to flow, either slowly or profusely. If rupture of the membranes occurs at the same time as an infection, some additional symptoms may include:
- Abdominal pain
- Increased fetal heart rate
- Amniotic fluid is cloudy or smelly
- Leucorrhoea that lasts continuously and has an unpleasant odor
Handling When the Amniotic Fluid Breaks
Here are some first aid steps that can be done by the mother when her water breaks:
1. Keep Calm
If you feel vaginal discharge, stay calm. Take a deep breath and find a place to sit or lie down. But, if you are outside the house, you should go to the toilet to check whether the fluid that is leaking is amniotic fluid or urine.
To tell the difference, pay attention to whether you can hold the discharge or not. If the liquid can be retained, it is likely urine. However, if the fluid cannot be contained, it may be a ruptured membrane.
And preferably, don't stand or walk around when you have ruptured amniotic fluid. It is better to sit or lie down with your legs slightly elevated so that the amniotic fluid does not leak out a lot. Usually, the ruptured membranes only wet the underwear.
2. Change Your Underwear or Use a Pantyliner
If you feel fluid coming from your vagina during pregnancy, change your underwear or use a panty liner. Do not use tampons or insert anything into the vagina, as this can increase the risk of infection if your water breaks.
After you replace the CD, take a lying position for about 30 minutes. If the fluid that comes out is amniotic fluid, it will pool or collect in the vagina when you lie down.
If the liquid doesn't come out anymore or the panty liner you just used stays dry within half an hour, it probably means your water hasn't broken. The discharge may be due to an increase in mucus or a small leak from the bladder.
3. Pay Attention to the Color and Smell of the Liquid
If the liquid has a color, it's probably urine. However, if the fluid is clear to pale in color (brighter than urine), it is most likely amniotic fluid. If the discharge also has a bleach-like odor, it is most likely amniotic fluid.
Some of the normal colors of amniotic fluid are clear, white, and yellowish. However, if the discharge is green, brown or red, immediately go to the nearest health facility.
4. Contact the Family and the Hospital
When your water breaks, tell your partner or family member. Immediately prepare the delivery kit (just in case) and go to the hospital to be examined by an obstetrician.
5. Management of Premature Rupture of Amniotic Fluid
Premature rupture of membranes is a condition that indicates danger if it is not followed by a feeling of wanting to give birth. Ideally, the rupture of the membranes should be accompanied by signs of labor such as contractions.
If premature rupture of membranes or premature labor occurs, the mother must be immediately taken to the hospital for help. Doctors can take the following steps to treat premature rupture of membranes:
- Monitor for signs of infection such as fever, pain, and increased fetal heart rate, or perform laboratory tests.
- Giving drugs such as corticosteroids, antibiotics, or tocolytics. And if there are signs of placental abruption, chorioamnionitis, or disturbances to the fetus, it is likely that early delivery will be carried out.
Until now, it has not been identified with certainty how to prevent premature rupture of membranes. Even so, pregnant women are advised to avoid smoking and reduce direct contact with smokers. The reason is because smoking can increase the risk of premature rupture of membranes, as well as increase the risk of other dangerous diseases.
In addition, it is very important to carry out regular checks. By doing this, we can properly monitor the growth and development of the fetus, and also detect pregnancy complications early.