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What exactly does "stripping membranes" mean?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Excuse the naiveté... I see all these threads talking about stripping membranes. What exactly does that mean? I know that it is supposed to kick-start labor, but what does it entail?
post #2 of 14
Stripping membranes is detaching the amniotic sac from the cervix. The caregiver sweeps a finger in a circular motion between the cervix and the amniotic membranes.
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Good to know.
Thanks for the explanation.
post #4 of 14
From Ina May's book on midwife care:

"the practitioner inserts two fingers just inside the cervix and gently separates the bag of waters from the inside of the cervix. Doing this stimulates the production of natural prostaglandins in the cervix. In two studies, sweeping the membranes successfully induced labor in about half of the cases attempted. This method does not carry the side effects of hyperstimulating the uterus, nor does it cause fetal distress. If the practitioner isn't careful, it is possible to accidentally rupture the water bag."


(Sweeping the membranes is one of the ways she suggests kick-starting labor...a more "natural" form of induction rather than using chemicals such as cervix ripeners or pitocin.)
post #5 of 14
I am struggling right now with deciding whether or not to have this done. My due date is Tuesday (see my "Alittle depressed" post) and DH wants me to be stripped on Friday to see if baby will come this weekend. I am miserable and 'done' being pregnant and it is so tempting, especially since I am 4cm dilated and 80% effaced (for a month now)......

but that whole possibility of rupturing the water bag is what scares me. If that happens and I don't 'progress', then the whole ticking medical clock starts and I'd be soooooooo mad at myself

Then again, my body really does seem ready and I think I would go......

tough decisions.
post #6 of 14
Shari, I'm with you. I don't know if I should tell him not to do in on Fri at my appt or just let him decide if he can....last appt he couldn't get a finger in there. And he is the type of dr that, I'm pretty sure I need to tell him no before he ever puts on his gloves.

So, BTDT moms... what do you think about stripping?
post #7 of 14
I'm not a BTDT mom, but I am definitely on the side of less intervention. I had my very first vaginal exam at my NST appointment yesterday (I'm 41 weeks today) and I'm barely 1cm dilated, 60% effaced. Clearly I am not ready! I would rather NOT bother poking around in there until I get some other evidence that something is happening.
post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by ellie_may12
So, BTDT moms... what do you think about stripping?
I think if there's a compelling reason to kick-start labor, stripping is probably one of the least risky ways to do it. But if the main reason is impatience and baby & mom are both healthy, my gut says don't mess around down there.
post #9 of 14
Don't any of you moms that go beyond the due date worry about the meconium thing? I never see that mentioned as a concern and I thought it was a risk of going beyond the due date?
post #10 of 14
I had my membranes stripped at 41 weeks, 5 days. I was 80% effaced, and 2 cm dilated. Baby was in the perfect position and my body was "on the cusp" anyway. Baby arrived early the next morning, very healthy. He was a term baby based on his newborn exam, not post dates. It was the right decision for us at that time. But, I am also glad I didn't try to speed things up earlier.
post #11 of 14
Honeybee, glad to see a 'success sstory' with the stripping. I am 4cm dilated and 80% effaced and baby is engaged. I think they feel my body would respond to it......still deciding tho
post #12 of 14
There can be some potential concerns with going "post dates," which meconium is one. But, remember "post dates" is after 42 weeks, not 40. Your due date is in the middle of a range. Docs seem to be forgetting this lately. Plus, every baby bakes at a slightly different pace, and first time moms tend to average 41 weeks, not 40. Both my boys came at 41 weeks and 5/6 days, so that must be normal for me. Next time, I'll consider 42 weeks my "due date"... that way I'll avoid all those impatient phone calls from family!
post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tine
I think if there's a compelling reason to kick-start labor, stripping is probably one of the least risky ways to do it. But if the main reason is impatience and baby & mom are both healthy, my gut says don't mess around down there.
This is how I feel, too. In fact, membrane sweeping is the _only_ form of medicalized induction I feel comfortable with. I was planning on requesting membrane stripping starting at 41 weeks. We had been charting when we conceived, so I was very sure of my dates. At 41 weeks, I would have wanted to start moving things along. That wasn't impatience, though, it was just my mama instincts...I just felt going to 42 weeks wouldn't be the right thing to do in our case.

It was all moot, though...Noah showed up early.
post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by honeybee
But, remember "post dates" is after 42 weeks, not 40.
AUUUUUUUGHHHHHHH
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