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 normally
- Vaginal exams in the later part of pregnancy are optional so stripping of membranes is not always required.
- 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.