Thursday, May 21, 2009

What does it mean to "strip the membranes"?

You may have heard someone say their health care provider "stripped their membranes." The purpose of this procedure is to attempt to hasten the onset of labor, especially once you have passed your estimated due date. It sometimes results in contractions beginning and it is believed it may slightly reduce the number of full-blown inductions.

In this procedure the midwife or doctor places a finger inside the opening of the cervix and separates the amniotic sac from the uterus, but not with the intent to rupture the membranes. It was believed to be risky for infection but recent studies have indicated no increased risk when done by your provider using good technique. Some women find it a bit painful and there can be some leaking or spotting afterward.

It is hard to say if this actually makes much difference since it is only done at the end of pregnancy, usually with a routine vaginal exam in the final week. If a woman labors within two days following the procedure, she may have regardless of this. It is thought to release prostiglandins in the cervix, encouraging contractions.

Every woman gets anxious toward the end of pregnancy but it is important that the baby comes at the right time, which can be up to two weeks on either side of the estimated due date. Best Blogger Tips

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