Amniotic fluid is vital to the development of baby’s lungs and also acts as a protective cushion. Pregnant women whose waters break early can lead to a risk of premature labour, infection and problems in the development of the baby’s lungs. Mothers are normally looked after by rest, by doing tests for infection and by monitoring the baby with scans. It was thought that any attempt to replace the amniotic fluid would be unsuccessful because it would leak out again. However, research had begun to suggest that replacing fluid could improve the outcome of births so we undertook a study to see whether replacing liquid repeatedly was feasible. This experimental intervention has been credited by at least one family for saving their unborn child's life.
The pilot phase of the study is now completed. Dr Devender Roberts who led the research hopes to undertake a further larger trial to determine, once and for all, if this new approach to managing pre-term rupture of membranes can really save babies lives.