Hourglass membranes (prolapsed membranes)

Women with prolapsed membranes are at a greatly increased risk of preterm delivery. A study by Robertson et al demonstrated that diagnosing prolapsed membranes between 22-28 weeks gestation could mean for a patient that she has about 50% chance to deliver within just 4 days, whereas only about 10-15% chance to deliver at or beyond 34 weeks (Robertson, J.E. et al, 2016).

Our patient presented with “hourglass membranes” at 25 weeks gestation. Preterm premature rupture of the membranes (PPROM) followed 5 days later and by beginning chorioamnionitis a cesarean section ensued.

Hourglass membranes


  • Robertson, J. E., Lisonkova, S., Lee, T., De Silva, D. A., von Dadelszen, P., Synnes, A. R., … Groups, for the C. P. N. and C. N. N. C. (2016). Fetal, Infant and Maternal Outcomes among Women with Prolapsed Membranes Admitted before 29 Weeks Gestation. PLoS ONE, 11(12), e0168285. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0168285

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