17.5.1 Infection after PROM
As stated earlier, the premature rupture of fetal membranes allows bacteria to get into the uterine cavity. They multiply rapidly in the warm, wet environment and, as a result, both the mother and the fetus may develop a life-threatening infection. It can continue even after the birth as uterine or widespread infection in the mother, and cause pneumonia, sepsis (blood infection) or meningitis (infection of the brain) in the newborn.
Infection is one of the most feared complications of PROM because, unless it is quickly treated, it may end up with both maternal and fetal or newborn death. But the good news is that swift treatment with antibiotics is generally successful.
It should be noted that prolonged PROM cases are highly likely to develop a uterine infection unless treated quickly with preventive antibiotics.
Why do you think prolonged PROM is particularly likely to lead to infection?
Over 12 hours have passed since the fetal membranes ruptured, so any bacteria that got into the uterus have enough time to multiply and take hold.