Risks of Stripping the Membranes - Mothering Forums
Birth Professionals (Archive) > Risks of Stripping the Membranes
redstockingma's Avatar redstockingma 02:06 AM 10-18-2006
hello everyone... i'm due around november 2nd; however, because I am the only person due around that time at my freestanding birth center my midwife has decided to take 10 days off starting on my due date; there will be a back-up midwife present who I am supposed to meet for the first time next week at my 38 week check up and a labor assistant I am familiar with. However I am still a little disconcerted by this sudden development. :

my midwife has offered to strip my membranes at my appointment next week to see if this would hasten my labor...at first I was alright with this but i read in my ina may gaskin guide to childbirth that there is a risk of my water accidentally being broken, leading either to labor (which I suppose would be alright) or a stalled state where I could end up in a hospital with ALL the things I dread the most going on, medical interventions, etc, etc....:

so my main question is..has anyone had their membranes stripped to hasten labor and if so how did things go? also any opinions on the matter in general would be appreciated

BlueBella's Avatar BlueBella 02:22 AM 10-18-2006
Hi there,

I know some people feel that sweeping is an invasive procedure, however my family seems to carry babies longer than average - 43 weeks being typical (and even then needing to be induced). I opted to have my mw sweep my membranes with my first baby, as I was past 40 weeks (but 3cm dilated) and I wanted to avoid being induced in hospital by an OB. I had four sweeps and it wasn't until the OB did a sweep that was much more aggressive than the mw's that I went into labour (the next am). With my second babe, I wanted a homebirth (which isn't allowed past 43 wks where I live) so starting around 40+3 I had 6 (yes, 6) sweeps - one every three or four days. At my last sweep (42+4 days), the mw said, "no more sweeps for you, you don't have any cervix left" - she could stretch it to 8 cm. Since I was looking at AROM, she suggested the castor + verbena oil cocktail (no thankyou!!), and before she left she rubbed some olive oil w 2 drops of verbena oil onto my belly and I had a contraction about a minute later, went into full labour about 2 hours later. So, I don't know if it was the 6th sweep, or the verbena oil....but in my experience, sweeps aren't that effective unless they are done very aggressively (ie painful). I know ROM is a risk, but I've had a lot of sweeps w/ no rupture and I know a number of other women who've had them w/out that happening. (But hey, maybe give the verbena + olive oil massaged onto belly a try - totally non-invasive!).

That's too bad that your mw is going away

Good luck to you!
courtenay_e's Avatar courtenay_e 01:56 PM 10-18-2006
I'd leave it alone. Yes, it CAN induce labor OR it can break your water and nothing else will happen...or nothing at all will happen. But, why not just have the baby when it comes? Really, if you're comfortable with the backup midwife, why not just wait till the BABY is ready? It'll let you know unmistakably that it's time!!! If you are really bent, though, on speeding things up, I'd say try evening primrose oil first. It can ripen your cervix and make an induction more effective.