Is it the pregnant woman's responsibility to know if her water broke and if her unborn child could be at risk for an infection? NO.
Any pregnant woman who is in her third trimester of a pregnancy, whether it be her first pregnancy or her fifth pregnancy, cannot tell if her amniotic sac is leaking or if it is just the baby kickboxing on her bladder. A rupture of the membranes can only be diagnosed by a doctor, obstetrician, nurse practitioner, nurse midwife, Physician Assistant or a nurse. It can not be diagnosed by a pregnant mother.
Unfortunately, many pregnant women in their third trimester of pregnancy call their doctor or nurse midwife complaining of wetness and are told, without an exam, that wetness late in pregnancy is normal and is most likely urine. Some times it is and sometimes it is not. The diagnosis can not be made over the phone.
A premature rupture of membranes (PROM) is when the amniotic sac ruptures more than one hour before the beginning of labor. A prolonged rupture of the membranes is when the amniotic sac is ruptured or leaking for more than 18 hours before the onset of labor. The longer the membranes are ruptured, the higher the chances that the unborn baby will become infected or septic and the placenta will develop chorioamnionitis.
Any pregnant woman who calls her doctor, nurse practitioner or nurse midwife with the complaint of "wetness" should undergo a vaginal exam and testing. A premature rupture of the membranes has to be confirmed or ruled out only after a series of tests. The obstetrician, nurse midwife or nurse practitioner should perform a nitrazine or ferning test to see if the liquid is urine or amniotic fluid. They are tests that only take 10 minutes to do, and could prevent potential life-long medical treatments and medical expenses that a birth injured baby and parents, due to an infection, will have to endure for the rest of their lives. Prenatal infections can lead to Cerebral Palsy, birth brain injuries, neonatal strokes, developmental delays and other medical problems to a newborn baby.
Unfortunately, many pregnant women are not tested to see if it was their water that broke hours or days before labor. Instead, they were told it was normal. Instead, they were told it was most likely urine. Instead, they were told it was their mucus plug. Those "insteads" caused a baby to became infected with beta-strep, staph, herpes or other infections; infections that could have easily been treated with antibiotics or avoided with a C-section, if the doctor or nurse midwife would have spent only 10 minutes to find out if it was urine or amniotic fluid.
Since 1958, our medical and legal teams here at the Philadelphia Beasley birth injury law firm have had billions awarded on behalf of birth injured babies, their parents and others that have been wrongfully injured. Our birth injury team consists of physicians and nurses who were certified neonatal intensive care nurses and experienced in labor and delivery policy and procedures. Others may claim that they learned from the Beasley legacy, but we are the real Beasley legacy.
If you had a premature rupture of membranes while you were pregnant and your baby is now suffering, please feel free to call us toll free at (215) 866-2424 to speak to one of our experienced lawyers, doctors or nurses for a free and confidential consultation. We are here to give you the real answers you need and want.