Cochrane Summaries

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Planned early birth versus expectant management (waiting) for prelabour rupture of membranes at term (37 weeks or more)

Dare MR, Middleton P, Crowther CA, Flenady V, Varatharaju B
Published Online: 
21 January 2009

Some evidence in favour of planned management (usually by induction) when women have prelabour rupture of membranes at term.

When women's membranes rupture at or after 37 weeks' gestation without having contractions, they can choose to intervene (usually by immediate induction with oxytocin or prostaglandin) or they can wait for spontaneous labour to occur. The concern that early planned intervention might result in more caesarean and operative births was not supported in this review, which also found that fewer mothers developed infections and that fewer babies were admitted to the neonatal intensive care units than if women waited for spontaneous birth. Similar number of babies developed infections whether intervention was early or whether women waited. In one trial, women clearly preferred early planned intervention.