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Stripping membranes?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I was hoping some of the MW's could help me out with this one. My MW just told me that starting next week they will start massaging the membranes to get labor going. Is this the same as stripping or sweeping the membranes? I have heard some bad things about stripping the membranes & do not want it done. They don't want me to go past 41 weeks because it is hospital policy to do a c/s after that. I really want my VBAC & would not voluntarily schedule a c/s just because of an arbitrary time constraint. I have never gone past 39 weeks, so I really wasn't worried about the time limit, but I don't know that my MW's are on board with me. I will not even be 37 weeks at my next appt (36 1/2) & am nowhere near being ready to have this baby. I need to go to at least 39 weeks before I will be ready If they do strip the membranes, what effect could it have? Would my water break right away, within the day? Right now my cervix is long & closed & baby is head down, but not really engaged in the pelvis yet. It seems like my body is not yet ready for labor so would stripping the membranes not be effective? Is it only effective if you are ready to labor anyway? What are the chances they could accidentally break my water? Is stripping the membranes something that is routinely done? What are some bad things that could happen? Could it hurt the baby in any way? Sorry for all the questions, but I know they will give me hell if I refuse & I want to back up my case with some knowledge on the subject. Thanks to anyone who can help.
post #2 of 13
Stripping membranes is not something that I would PERSONALLY want done unless I was willing to have my water broken at the same time. There is a chance of water breaking, and a chance of infection associated with membrane stripping.

When they strip your membranes, the midwife will do a vaginal exam, to check your cervix, and then insert her finger and kind of go around the edge, separating the bag of waters from the tissue around it. I've only seen it done once and it was not at all painful for the mom. I have heard that it can be painful, though. This will release prostalglandins, which can make you contract a little. Or a bunch. It just depends.

You know, semen has prostaglandin in it too. That might be a better route for you, since you are not ready to birth at 37 weeks.

I think it seems a little premature. 36.5 weeks is too early to start trying to get you into labor.

Perhaps you might just tell them you prefer waiting until your due date to begin aggressive, interventive ways to get labor started.

Hope that helps!
post #3 of 13
I had my membranes stripped twice with my last pregnancy and absolutely nothing happened. In fact the second time the midwife stretched my cervix from 3-4 CM. My water broke all over the poor resident (Long story on why I was delivered by a resident in a Natural Birth Center) about 1 minute after she did an internal and found I was 10 CM and basically ready to push.

BTW - forgot to mention, if you schedule and just don't show up for the c-section, or just tell them you will call them back when you get home and arrange your sitter for the day and then just never call....what are they going to do....send the c/s police after you? That is what my husband and I were going to my last pregnancy, because I was 41 1/2 weeks and was being forced to decided between induction or c/s on Good Friday. They would let me go only till after Easter Dinner, if I came in and passed a bio-physical profile on Friday....well, we were just going to schedule, and then not show up...or say we had to call out and find out what time dinner was from/to and then just not call them back.

Honestly, they cannot force you into a c/s if you do not want. Good luck.

Melissa S.
post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
Yes, I don't plan on scheduling a c/s even if I do go to 41 weeks. I have caller ID & know how to use it!
post #5 of 13
I am not amidwife, but I just wnat to add, yess, it is way to early to go through all that even if you wnated too, 2nd, if your cervix is closed they CANT get inthere to stripe the membranes, they have to be able to insert a finger in the opening of your cervix in order to do that . Which means your cervix would have to be dialated a little to do that.
post #6 of 13
I think ours is going to be an "accidental" homebirth. I think my Midwifes (non homebirth back ups) would believe it, considering with DS2 I got to the birth center and he was born w/in 30 minutes of arriving. The Midwifes didn't even have time to get to the birth center, she walked in eating a "light" snack 10 minutes after he was born and was surprised to see she wasn't needed.

They have already had one "accidental" homebirth last month, and I think I know who it was, considering my old CBE had considered doing it, but ended up miscarrying back then, and I found out she was prego and due in June 06 again.

Melissa S.
post #7 of 13
Quote:
My MW just told me that starting next week they will start massaging the membranes to get labor going. Is this the same as stripping or sweeping the membranes?
Personally, I would ask directly, "do you mean you're going to attempt to strip my membranes?" Yes, it sounds like the same thing to me, but just get clear on it.


Quote:
If they do strip the membranes, what effect could it have? Would my water break right away, within the day? Right now my cervix is long & closed & baby is head down, but not really engaged in the pelvis yet. It seems like my body is not yet ready for labor so would stripping the membranes not be effective? Is it only effective if you are ready to labor anyway? What are the chances they could accidentally break my water? Is stripping the membranes something that is routinely done? What are some bad things that could happen? Could it hurt the baby in any way?
If your body is ready, it COULD cause you to go into labor. It COULD cause your water to break, but more likely the prostaglandins released would cause ctx. However, if your body is not ready, nothing will happen. I had it done with #3 and nothing happened. Because of that experience, I wouldn't want it done. It's invasive, and there are way less invasive ways to "get things going" -- if that's what you want! However, it sounds like you're not getting much of a choice in the matter. If it's not what you want, just say no! As far as it being routine... just depends on the practice, I guess. My mw offered to do it, and I took her up on it. Had some prodromal type labor for about a day and then nothing. My dd was born on her due date.

As far as risks: any vaginal exam is a risk of infection, whether your water is broken or not. And then, for most practices, once your water is broken you are on a clock. So I wouldn't risk it in the off-chance that your water breaks.

Good luck, and keep cooking that baby!
post #8 of 13
egads, keep their agenda and their fingers outta your vagina! you and only YOU should be asking for anything like that, they shouldn't be telling you that you will have it.

pshaw!
post #9 of 13
Another problem it could cause is prodromal labor. You have contractions but they never develop into a good pattern as your body isn't ready for labor yet (or it would have started on its own) and then just tire you out. So then starts the cascade of interventions...
post #10 of 13
I agree, no one should be suggesting ways to start YOUR labor, you are not even full term yet!!! My favorite line to suggest to my clients when they are offered an unnecessary test or procedure is: "Is my baby in danger if I refuse this procedure?" "Is my health in danger if I refuse this procedure?" If they say yes, ask for specific reasons, if they say no then simply refuse their offer and let them know that you'd like to let nature take it's course.
post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the advice. There is no way I am going to let them strip my membranes. I am in no hurry to get this baby out & have no doubt he will come when he is ready. I had to cancel my appt for next week anyway due to other reasons so I won't see them again until 38 weeks at which time I will refuse to get an exam.
post #12 of 13
I had it done with my first on my due date it did start me loosing my plug but I didnt go into labor till 5 days later. With my second the mw did it at 38 weeks because I could only go to 39 weeks due to pre eclampsia but as she was doing it she told me that after the first pg stripping them usually didnt work. Again I did start to loose my plug but I did not go into labor or have ctx. I ended up having my water broke at the birth center that morning left came back and had my son that evening.

It may work for some but with me it didnt seem to cause labor just the plug. :
post #13 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by ice_chick
Thanks for all the advice. There is no way I am going to let them strip my membranes. I am in no hurry to get this baby out & have no doubt he will come when he is ready. I had to cancel my appt for next week anyway due to other reasons so I won't see them again until 38 weeks at which time I will refuse to get an exam.
Good for you. And best wishes to you for a safe and wonderful birth!
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