17.5.6 Deformity of fetal limbs
Sometimes labour does not start spontaneously after PROM. This is the most risky situation for development of infection and fetal deformity, if it occurs too early in gestation and the pregnancy continues for a long period of time after the membranes have ruptured.
Without the amniotic fluid to keep the fetus ‘floating’, the muscular walls of the uterus closely surround the fetus and compress it. The immature fetal bones are not yet strong enough to resist the pressure, and the chance of developing deformity of the legs, feet, arms or hands is very high if the pregnancy continues in this state for more than 3 weeks.