Once the fetal membranes rupture, labour usually starts spontaneously in less than one week. If the PROM occurs several weeks before the pregnancy reaches full term, the resulting labour will also be preterm, and this can pose a risk to the newborn. Its development may not be sufficiently mature to sustain life — for example, the preterm baby cannot maintain its body temperature as well as a full term baby, its respiration will be shallow, it may have trouble feeding and its immune system may not be able to protect it from infection.

Last modified: Friday, 11 July 2014, 1:14 PM