Background: Preterm prelabour rupture of membranes (PPROM) complicates up to 2% of all pregnancies and is the cause of 40% of all preterm births. The optimal management of women with PPROM prior to 37 weeks, is not known. Furthermore, diversity in current clinical practice suggests uncertainty about the appropriate clinical management. There are two options for managing PPROM, expectant management (a wait and see approach) or early planned birth. Infection is the main risk for women in which management is expectant. This risk need to be balanced against the risk of iatrogenic prematurity if early delivery is planned. The different treatment options may also have different health care costs. Expectant management results in prolonged antenatal hospitalisation while planned early delivery may necessitate intensive care of the neonate for problems associated with prematurity. Methods/Design: We aim to evaluate the effectiveness of early planned birth compared with expectant management for women with PPROM between 34 weeks and 36 weeks gestation, in a randomised controlled trial. A secondary aim is a cost analysis to establish the economic impact of the two treatment options and establish the treatment preferences of women with PPROM close to term. The early planned birth group will be delivered within 24 hours according to local management protocols. In the expectant management group birth will occur after spontaneous labour, at term or when the attending clinician feels that birth is indicated according to usual care. Approximately 1812 women with PPROM at 34-36 weeks gestation will be recruited for the trial. The primary outcome of the study is neonatal sepsis. Secondary infant outcomes include respiratory distress, perinatal mortality, neonatal intensive care unit admission, assisted ventilation and early infant development. Secondary maternal outcomes include chorioamnionitis, postpartum infection treated with antibiotics, antepartum haemorrhage, induction of labour, mode of delivery, maternal satisfaction with care, duration of hospitalisation, and maternal wellbeing at four months postpartum. Discussion: This trial will provide evidence on the optimal care for women with PPROM close to term (34-37 weeks gestation). Consideration of both the clinical and economic sequelae of the management of PPROM will enable informed decision making and guideline development.