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The challenge of ruptures

02 June 2017
Volume 25 · Issue 6


Emma Herbert discusses a diagnostic strip housed in a panty liner that could make detection of a prematurally ruptured membrane easier than ever before

Vaginal wetness is common during pregnancy. Around 20% of pregnant women report to hospital or birth units reporting wetness (Odunsi and Rinaudo, 2001). In most cases, it is harmless, resulting from urinary incontinence or changes to the vaginal secretions. However, dampness may indicate a rupture of the membranes.

An amniotic sac can overstretch and cause an early rupture. Symptoms can easily be confused with urinary incontinence or increased vaginal discharge.

Premature rupture of membranes (PROM) occurs in around 10% of pregnancies. This is a rupture before 37 weeks, which is followed by spontaneous labour. These women need to be identified to ensure those who do not go into labour receive appropriate treatment. Women who have experienced PROM during a previous pregnancy are at increased risk of it happening again (O'Connor et al, 1999). Women who have undergone cervical surgery or those born with a shorter cervix are also at increased risk.

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