At the hospital, simple tests can confirm that your membranes have ruptured. Your doctor or midwife will check your cervix to see if it has softened and is starting to dilate (open up).
If your doctor finds that you have PROM, you will probably need to be in the hospital until your baby is born.
AFTER 37 WEEKS
If your pregnancy is past 37 weeks, your baby is ready to be born. You will need to go into labor soon. The longer it takes for labor to start, the greater your chance of getting an infection.
You can either wait for a short while until you go into labor on your own, or you can be induced (get medicine to start labor). Women who deliver within 24 hours after their water breaks are less likely to get an infection; so if labor isn’t starting on its own, it can be safer to be induced.
BETWEEN 34 AND 36 WEEKS
If you are between 34 and 37 weeks when your water breaks, your doctor will likely suggest that you be induced. It is safer for the baby to be born a few weeks early than it is for you to risk an infection.
BEFORE 34 WEEKS
If your water breaks before 34 weeks, it is more serious. If there are no signs of infection, the doctor may try to hold off your labor by putting you on bed rest. Steroid medicines are given to help the baby’s lungs grow quickly. The baby will do better if its lungs have more time to grow before being born.
You will also receive antibiotics. They will help prevent infections. You and your baby will be watched very closely in the hospital. Your doctor may do tests to check your baby’s lungs. When the lungs have grown enough, your doctor will induce labor.