Spontaneous rupture of the membranes usually accompanies the onset of labour, but precedes it in 10% of cases. Management, however, is not clear-cut and various treatments offer both risks and benefits to mother and infant in terms of intervention and nonintervention. Policies have changed over the last decade, moving towards a more conservative approach against a background of improved social conditions and antenatal care. Despite a wealth of literature documenting these changes, randomized controlled trials and unbiased reviews make up only a small proportion of the total number of papers surveyed. To base conclusions about the study of the management of prelabour rupture of the membranes upon statistically valid results, it is necessary to conduct a multicentre trial.