Understanding Preterm Birth
Along with the complications of prolonged ruptured membranes, there are additional challenges that are associated with premature birth. In the United States, the gestational age of viability is 24 weeks or a fetal birth weight of 500 grams. Of course these are benchmarks; every day babies are born too early and weighing too little to survive outside the womb. There are women and families pushing the barriers of viability with their extremely low birth weight babies and it is becoming more commonplace in many hospitals across the United States. Preterm Premature Rupture of Membranes is thought to be a predisposing factor in 40% of all preterm births (ACOG Practice Bulletin No. 160: Premature Rupture of Membranes. Obstet Gynecol. 2016 Jan. 127 (1):e39-51.).
The PPROM Foundation aims to educate and support women as they transition from pregnancy to birth, through the NICU and beyond. Extreme preterm birth remains one of the Top 3 Concerns of PPROM, along with chorioamnionitis/sepsis and pulmonary hypoplasia.
In the Expectant Management of PPROM, the goal is often to "make it to viability" or 24 weeks gestation. Every single day the PPROM Mom remains pregnant, she helps minimize the potential effects of prematurity. However, until the baby is born it is unknown how fully developed the lungs and pulmonary systems will be and whether or not they will be compatible with life outside the womb. See NIHCD Viability Calculator.
There are many complications of premature birth. It is difficult to say what each baby will face, as they are individuals and their journey is unique. Prematurity has complications in itself and complications depend on the gestational age at which the baby was born, the circumstances of birth and other physical/genetic components that may be a factor.
It is important for PPROM parents and caregivers to prepare to have a premature baby and be ready for the next step of that journey to begin as soon as they are hospitalized - because at that point, the baby can arrive at any time. Make sure to meet with a neonatologist, arrange a NICU tour, and ensure your baby has the best equipment for success in the NICU. See the Perinatal/Neonatal Plan for more details.
Organizations & Resources for Prematurity, NICU, and Beyond
Project Sweet Peas - NICU Support, Bereavement Support, Resources
Peek-a-Boo ICU - Articles, Blogs, NICU 101, Resources, NICU Journey Bracelets
Hand to Hold - NICU Resource Library, Support, Resources, Bereavement
March of Dimes Non-Profit, Research & Support Organization, Advocacy, March for Babies
Preemie Parent Alliance Preemie Parent's Bill of Rights, Preemie Organization Alliance
Graham's Foundation Care Packages, Support, Comprehensive Resource Directory, Medical Equipment Info
It's A Preemie Thing Customizable Preemie-Themed Clothing, Shop, Blog, Resource Directory
Preemie Prints Complimentary Professional Photography for your baby & family in the NICU
Research and Statistics