Objective: It was the aim of our study to evaluate the independent effect of preterm prelabor rupture of membranes (PPROM) as a cause of preterm delivery on mortality during primary hospital stay and significant morbidities in very-low-birth-weight (VLBW) infants < 32 weeks of gestation. Design: Observational, epidemiological study design. Setting: Population-based cohort, German Neonatal Network (GNN). Population: 6102 VLBW infants were enrolled in GNN from 2009-2012, n=4120 fulfilled criteria for primary analysis (< 32 gestational weeks, no pre-eclampsia, HELLP (highly elevated liver enzymes and low platelets syndrome) or placental abruption as cause of preterm birth). Methods: Multivariable logistic regression analyses included PPROM as potential risk factors for adverse outcomes and well established items such as gestational age in weeks, birth weight, antenatal steroids, center, inborn delivery, multiple birth, gender and being small-for-gestational-age. Results: PPROM as cause of preterm delivery had no independent effect on the risk of early-onset sepsis, clinical sepsis and blood-culture proven sepsis, while gestational age proved to be the most important contributor to sepsis risk. The diagnosis of PPROM was associated with an increased risk for bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD; OR: 1.25, 95% CI: 1.02-1.55, p=0.03) but not with other major outcomes. Conclusions: The diagnosis of PPROM per se is not associated with adverse outcome in VLBW infants < 32 weeks apart from a moderately increased risk for BPD. Randomized controlled trials with primary neonatal outcomes are needed to determine which subgroup of VLBW infants benefit from expectant or intentional management of PPROM.