Abstract The outcome of pregnancies complicated by premature membrane rupture (PROM) at gestations of less than 34 weeks during a one-year period was reviewed. At presentation, infection was suspected in 12 of the 56 mothers, but confirmed in only three. All non-infected patients were then admitted to the ward and managed expectantly. Despite membrane rupture of up to 3-weeks duration, there were no episodes of proven maternal infection amongst the inpatients. Following delivery, seven babies had positive blood cultures; antenatal infection had been suspected, but not proven, in one case only. Four mothers developed postpartum infection which responded to antibiotic therapy. All mothers with infection, presenting either antenatally or postnatally, delivered within 48 h of membrane rupture and in all infected neonates the duration of membrane rupture was 72 h or less. The occurrence of sepsis was not related to the gestational age at onset of the membrane rupture. We conclude that patients with rupture of the membranes of 72 h duration or longer may be admitted for expectant management, even if presenting early in the second trimester, without an increased risk of infection.