During pregnancy, different structures grow in the body to aid fetal development. The placenta, an organ that filters oxygen and other nutrients that get to the fetus from the mother, is one of those organs that grow. It is also surrounded by other structures, including the amniotic membrane. The amniotic membrane covers the fetal side of the placenta. However, like other complications attached to the growing structures during pregnancy, the amniotic membrane can rupture before its full term.
What Is An Amniotic Membrane?
The amniotic membrane is the deep-seated part of the placenta. It is also referred to as the amnion. It is a part of the amniotic sac, one of the three structures (alongside the placenta and umbilical cord) that protects and provides nutrients to the fetus. The amniotic membrane, alongside the amniotic fluid (a liquid made by the fetus that surrounds it in the womb), forms the amniotic sac. The amnion is a layer of tissue that holds the amniotic fluid or water.
The amnion comprises three layers: an epithelial monolayer, a thick basement membrane, and the avascular stromal matrix.
Normally, the amniotic membrane is expected to rupture. This is upon completion of the 40 weeks gestational period, and it is expected to happen 24 hours before or during labor.
However, this sometimes happens prematurely before the expected date. When this occurs, it is referred to as premature rupture of membranes ( PROM). PROM can lead to infection of the placental tissue, placental abruption, and compression of the umbilical cord, among other complications that can prove harmful to the mother and fetus.
What Can Make The Amnion Rupture Prematurely?
According to a publication in The Green Journal, PROM affects over 120,000 pregnancies annually in the United States. In addition, an article by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia also pointed out that PROM happens in about 8 to 10 percent of all pregnancies.
This can happen as a result of unknown causes. But, few factors have been identified in a publication by the National Library of Medicine as contributing agents to amniotic membrane rupturing prematurely. These include smoking, infections of the uterus, cervix, or vagina, excessive stretching of the amniotic sac, and surgery or biopsies of the cervix. Though it was reported in the publication that “most women whose water breaks before labor do not have a risk factor,” if care isn’t taken, a small percentage of those who experience the risks can have more severe complications.
This has been seen in several cases accompanied by other circumstances that led to a lawsuit.
Court Cases Involving Amniotic Membrane Rupture
The case of Thomas V. Banogon is an example of a case featuring an issue of amniotic membrane rupture, though with its unique twists. In the general body of the complaint, the plaintiff sued on counts of negligence as she was treated for a monilial infection when her symptoms indicated premature labor and a ruptured amniotic membrane.
Another example is the case of Goebert v. Lee County. In this case, the plaintiff filed an action against the county’s sheriff, the jail facility commander, the jail doctor, and the jail’s medical service provider, alleging deliberate indifference to her serious medical needs. The plaintiff, a pregnant inmate, had been leaking amniotic fluid for eleven days. She was later taken to the ICU, where she was diagnosed with a premature rupture of membranes in her uterus, resulting in massive amniotic fluid loss, chorioamnionitis, and a stillborn.
How To Clearly Explain Amniotic Membrane Complications In A Jiffy
Explaining the different layers and components that protect the fetus in the womb during pregnancy can be a long and boring talk to a non-specialist. A non-specialist may not have all the time in the world to listen to an expert explain what happens when an amniotic membrane ruptures or what led to the rupture.
This can be seen in court cases involving medical malpractice, just like the cases mentioned earlier.
In such a scenario where the jury needs to better understand information an expert is trying across to aid their decision-making, long technical talks won’t have as much effect.
Medical animation can come in handy to help them understand what happens during an amniotic membrane rupture or what could have led to it.
This animation may not last more than 30 seconds. However, it can tell the story perfectly with an elegant and contagious passion that will break the walls of complexities associated with understanding complex medical terms.
Hence, a surefire way to help the understanding of the jury and unravel the complexities of explaining an amniotic membrane rupture is to turn the information into visuals in the form of medical animation.
This can be done with the help of a legal animation company that is familiar with creating admissible animation for attorneys.