Waiting to get pregnant again may delay water breakage

March 1, 2010

Women of child-bearing age who experienced preterm premature rupture of membranes in a prior pregnancy should consider holding off for at least 18 months before having another child. The guidance is based on research published in the Feb. 4, 2010, online edition of American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Women of childbearing age who experienced preterm premature rupture of membranes in a previous pregnancy should consider holding off for at least 18 months before having another child, according to a study in the online edition of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Water breaking early in pregnancy occurs in up to 5% of pregnancies, according to lead author Darios Getahun, MD, Kaiser Permanente Southern California Medical Group. The condition is responsible for 1 in 4 premature births and can lead to infections in the mother and child.

Risk of the complication appears to be greater among black women compared with white women. It also is more common in future pregnancies in women who previously have experienced premature rupture.

For the study, researchers analyzed the Missouri longitudinally linked data on approximately 200,000 women with first 2 and first 3 successive pregnancies between 1989 and 1997. About 3% of black women and 1% of white women experienced preterm rupture in their first or second pregnancy.

For white women experiencing the complication, 6% faced the same complication in another pregnancy compared to 2% of women who did not have the complication. Among black women, rates were 10% and 4%, respectively.

Black women who were pregnant again within 3 to 6 months experienced a 9-fold risk of the complication compared with women who did not became pregnant for at least 18 months. Among white women who became pregnant within 6 months, incidence of premature preterm membrane rupture tripled.