Premature pre-rupture of membranes (PPROM) is responsible for 30 to 40 percent of all preterm births in the United States each year. I had never heard of PPROM before I was diagnosed, and I can only speak to my experience, especially because the outcomes can vary drastically depending on your child’s gestational age.
According to the PPROM Foundation, a baby born at 27 weeks has a 90 percent survival rate, whereas a baby born at 23 weeks only has a 17 percent chance. According to American Family Physician, 50-75 percent of women left to natural delivery will deliver in one week of PPROM. Prior to 34 weeks gestation, factors such as lung maturity, cord prolapse and infection are weighed to determine whether to induce or attempt to postpone labor. At 34 weeks, gestation and further induction of labor is standard protocol, because at that point the risk of infection is higher than any benefit that could be received from a longer pregnancy.
While I was pregnant, I continued my active lifestyle, and tried to live my life as normally as possible. I was struggling with heartburn and lower back pain, but overall I was very fit and healthy. As a naturally thin person, I didn’t look pregnant to people who didn’t know me well until I was about six months along.
The morning of the day that it happened, I carried a backpack, and climbed the stairs to an all-day networking event. After getting to the top, breathless, I decided to take the elevator the rest of the day. I stood up a lot that day, but also looked around and tried to find a chair as often as I could. More than in the past, I was starting to feel exhausted by the extra weight I was carrying.
That night, at the event after party, I started having to excuse myself and run to the restroom. I thought to myself, “How embarrassing, I’m so pregnant I’m incontinent!” It started to get late, and I decided it was my time to leave the party. I soaked through my pants on my way home. I thought, “Thank goodness that didn’t happen at the party!”
I continued to leak after I got home. At this point, I suspected that this might not be incontinence. After all, I hadn’t had anything to drink in a while, and I had already used the bathroom so often. I started to search on my phone. Per the advice of an article I found through Google, I lied down to see if I would still leak. The article indicated that if I was still leaking, it may be amniotic fluid, and I would need to call your doctor.
I still was leaking, even while lying down, so I called the my midwife group’s after hours number, and when they didn’t answer, I called the hospital.
The person answering the phone at the hospital non-nonchalantly told me to come in for some tests. I asked them if I needed to bring anything, and the girl on the other line said, “No, you don’t need to bring anything.”