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A common question many educators, doulas, and care providers receive is, “Can my water (amniotic sac) break before labor begins?” The short answer is, yes. Your amniotic sac can break before labor begins, OR during labor, OR not until after the baby is born. Let’s break it down…

Premature Rupture of Membranes (PROM)

PROM is a rupture (breaking open) of the membranes (amniotic sac) before labor begins. If PROM occurs before 37 weeks of pregnancy, it is called preterm premature rupture of membranes (PPROM).

PROM occurs in about 8 to 10 percent of all pregnancies. PPROM (before 37 weeks) accounts for one fourth to one third of all preterm births.

Spontaneous Rupture of Membranes (SROM)

SROM refers to rupture of fetal membranes occurring on its own (in contrast with artificial rupture of membranes). When this occurs before ~37 weeks in gestation, it is then termed spontaneous premature rupture of membranes (SPROM) which is the usual cause of preterm premature rupture of membranes.

Artificial Rupture of Membranes (AROM)

Amniotomy or AROM is when a healthcare provider intentionally breaks a pregnant person’s amniotic sac. Your provider may recommend AROM to speed up your labor and encourage dilation of the cervix.

Ready to learn more about how providers can break your waters, or what to do when your water does break before labor begins? Sign up for our Birth Boot Camp Comprehensive Class Series!

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