When the baby is not ready to come out even after 9 months, they do require some poking and prodding. Stripping membrane is a natural way to induce labor when you are past your due date. No, the baby is not harmed—it is your body that the doctors will tickle and itch to stimulate the labor.
What Is Membrane Stripping?
Membrane stripping also called sweeping is carried out by professionals—the procedure includes separating the thin membrane of the amniotic sac from the uterus by brushing it with their finger, which they will insert through the cervix. Mothers who are in their 39th-40th week of gestation are advised for a membrane stripping to induce labor before going for other methods like mechanical dilation, medications, and treatment using Prostaglandins hormone.
How Is Membrane Stripping Carried Out?
The doctors who perform the procedure are specialized in the field. They wear gloves before inserting their finger into the mouth of the uterus. The sweeping of the amniotic membrane stimulates the release of prostaglandins—these chemical compounds released by the mother’s body then stimulate labor.
Stretch And Sweep
Sometimes, the sweep isn’t enough to stimulate the uterus. The doctor, then, gently performs a little stretching action on the cervix—it is more like a massage on the cervix rather than a stretch. Massaging softens the tissues of the cervix, which makes the membrane sweeping easier.
Membranes sweeping is also recommended when there exists some medical condition like gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, or symphysis pubic dysfunction. Sweeping also works if the mother is carrying twins or more or the baby seems to weigh less than the expected weight
How Effective Is Membrane Stripping In Inducing Labor?
Membrane sweeping may not be the most effective way of inducing labor. For some women, it may not be of any help other than causing discomfort. However, they still have options to try other ways to induce labor or go for medication.
Membrane stripping can be more helpful for a mother who is past her due date. It takes somewhere between 24-48 hours for the labor to initiate, after the procedure.
Any Side Effects?
Membrane sweeping is a safe procedure, there are no known side effects on either the mother or the baby. However, the procedure could be painful or uncomfortable. If the cervix is hard, inserting a finger inside might cause pain to the mother. There could be light bleeding or cramping afterwards—this is normal since cervix constitutes of a number of blood vessels.
If the mother experiences heavy bleeding or excruciating pain, she needs to be taken to the hospital immediately. If she is already experiencing labor pain, there are good chances that she may not sense the pain and discomfort of membrane sweeping.
Breathing techniques, the one practiced during labor, can help deal with discomfort experienced during membrane sweeping. Women who went through the procedure were observed to go into labor a week earlier than those who didn’t opt for membrane stripping.
However, it should be noted that the labor will not occur if the cervix isn’t soft and dilated.
Membrane stripping is one of the methods to induce labor naturally, without any medicinal need. Other extreme methods like use of forceps, vacuum or a c-section can be avoided if the labor is stimulated using sweeping.
Make sure the hospital has a trained doctor for the procedure since it also carried the risk of cervical infection after stripping the membrane multiple times.
The method is not recommended if your water has already broken, as this increases the risk of infections. There are other natural ways to induce labor. Find about these 9 natural ways to induce labor.