Cervix questions - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 03-05-2008, 02:09 AM - Thread Starter
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When someone "strips your membranes" what are they actually doing? Also what does it mean to walk a cervix forward and why would someone do that? I probably should have asked the midwife, but I was in a hurry to get home and be a mom.


Kara, single mom of 4 girls (5, 8, 16 and 19) crochetsmilie.gif
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#2 of 6 Old 03-05-2008, 10:52 AM
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Hi Kara! Stripping membranes is basically a "vigorous" cervical exam. If you are somewhat dilated your HCP will insert two fingers in the cervix and move them around in a circular motion. Sometimes, that alone is enough to stimulate labor. Sometimes it really hurts and sometimes it doesn't hurt at all. I think it depends on the gentleness of the provider and how "ripe" your cervix is. There are a few risks: accidental rupture of membranes and infection are the two that pop into my head. Of course, there is always a risk that once you start with an intervention there will be more to follow. At the same time, it can be a relatively safe technique to start labor with nothing else needed. I've had it done twice....

As for walking the cervix forward, my guess is that would mean your cervix is posterior (facing the back) which is normal. Probably in the course of the stripping she would try and move the cervix anterior (facing front).

Best wishes for your upcoming birth!

Please, someone correct me if I'm wrong....
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#3 of 6 Old 03-05-2008, 11:12 PM
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Mostly accurate- but my understanding of stripping membranes is that the mw (or whomever) is actually separating or peeling the membranes from where it adheres to the uterus. Sounds totally awful, but it really is only whatever is within reach for the midwives fingers and it can usually only be done if the cervix is "ripe". It should only be done with the mom's acknowledgement and permission and I only ever do it when a woman is past her "guess date". It would be quite unusual for the bag of water to release. Someone correct me if I'm not explaining this accurately. The pp was correct in saying the it can stimulate the cervix and prompt prostoglandins to release,but really nothing will happen if the body isn't ready to consider the idea of going into labor. One may experience some "show" or cramping as a result of the exam. Also, this usually has to be done a couple of days in a row for maximum effect.

Jessica- mom to four boys ,, midwife
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#4 of 6 Old 03-05-2008, 11:47 PM
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Yes, true stripping of the membranes is when the provider will insert a fingertip between the membrane and the lower segment of the uterus and sweep around the entire circle of the cervix. When done this way, it's quite...intense...would be a good word, I guess.

Charlotte, midwife to some awesome women, wife to Jason, and no longer a mama to all boys S reading.gif('01), A nut.gif ('03) S lol.gif ('08) and L love.gif ('10).
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#5 of 6 Old 03-06-2008, 03:31 AM
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depends on who is doing it- putting a finger in the cervix and slowly stretching the cervical tissues - breaking up any scar tissue that may be present and can be done far enough into the cervix to seperate the membranes from the cervical tissue- I was taught to do this slowly (but I know many do a quick sweep) like 15 min or so and you will usually feel a bit more of a bulging bag- it is thought to stimulate some prostglandin release possibly starting labor
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#6 of 6 Old 03-06-2008, 12:26 PM
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Can be done gently and slowly and is sometimes helpful to stimulate contractions. Should be discussed beforehand. More natural than Pitocin.

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