Stripping the membranes entails your health care provider
to separate the amniotic sac from the cervix, with
no intention of rupturing the sac as some may believe.
But that can happen. Since the bag of water is without
nerve endings, it is usually a pain-free experience.
Stripping the membranes is known to trigger the labor
process within a few days by helping to ripen the
cervix. It is however not a form of induction but
more a form of stimulation of labor.
Need to Know..
• Doctors do not intervene if labor is progressing
• Vaginal exams in the later part of pregnancy
are optional so stripping of membranes is not always
• This procedure cannot be used to predict when
the baby will be born; more often than not it is guesswork.
• In cases where membrane rupture does occur,
the risk of infection grows if prolonged.
• In the later part of pregnancy it is most
usual to find the cervix ripened and dilated enough
to allow a finger in.
• Stripping of membranes literally means the
finger is admitted to the internal cervical opening.
The health care provider then moves the finger in
circular motion around the inner part of the cervix
to separate the membranes from the uterine wall.
• This stimulation
causes the release of the hormone prostaglandin from
the cervix and subjecting the pregnant woman to feel
cramping during and after the procedure. The cramping
felt is the contractions and can be intense for those
who have not experienced any contractions before.
• This procedure is not harmful to the fetus
or the mother.
• Sweeping of membranes performed close to due
date will trigger contractions but if done too early
it will have no effect.
• Because of the discomfort (cramping) that
ensues and the risk involved (rupture of membranes),
doctors do make it a point to inform the mother before
proceeding with it.