Rupture of Membranes and Management

Patient

Q: How long can a baby live inside the pregnant mother's body after her water bag breaks?

Doctor

A:   A baby can live as long as it does not have an infection and as long as there is sufficient water left.The risk of infection increases the longer your membranes are ruptured.If your membranes rupture prematurely, it is generally accepted that it's better to wait until actual signs of infection show up vs. delivering a premature baby unnecessarily.If you are term, current standard of care typically is that intervention is appropriate immediately with signs of infection and after 24 hoursotherwise. The thought behind this reasoning is that baby is term, therefore almost assuredly 'ready' in terms of lung maturity, so the increased risk of infection is not worth prolonging pregnancy further. Another factor whether an intervention would be required or not depends on a group B strep test that showed positive or if you had any symptoms of fever. However, expectant management of women with prelabour rupture of membranes at term should not exceed 96 hours following membrane rupture.

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