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Birthing and Assessment (B & A) | Counties Manukau | Te Whatu Ora

Public Service, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Maternity, Maternity/Birthing Facilities

Rupture of Membranes before 37 Weeks - Breaking of Waters

Your baby is floating in a special liquid called liquor. Often called 'waters', it is really important for your baby and his/her growth, to practise breathing and even drinking!

A double layer of membranes are joined to the placenta to make a flexible, but tough, bag to hold your baby.

If a hole is made in the bag it is called rupture of membranes. This is normal when you are within 3 weeks of your due date but if it happens earlier it can cause problems:

  • your baby may be born earlier than expected
  • you may have an infection which has caused the hole
  • you will need to have checks more often for the rest of your pregnancy to make sure there are no signs of infection and your baby is doing ok
  • higher risk of bleeding.

If you are less than 34 weeks pregnant we usually:

  • give you antibiotic tablets as this is known to make time until labour longer. You are also less likely to get an infection 
  • give you two steroid injections as these help mature baby's lungs
  • give you a weekly steroid injection up until 32 weeks.

If you are between 34 and 36.6 weeks the doctors will make a plan for you and your baby.


This page was last updated at 9:01AM on April 16, 2024.