Stretch & sweep/sweeping membranes: experiences? When would you do it? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 23 Old 12-14-2010, 11:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My MW checked my cervix last week and suggested a sweeping of membranes for the end of this week if nothing has happened by then, I'll be 41 wks and a few days then and really, past 42 weeks I think we have to consult doctors and whatnot. When she checked me it hurt and I bled for a bit (cervix was soft but very far back and closed), what do I have to look forward to with the sweep?? Have you had it done, was it super painful and what were the results? I want to avoid having to be induced of course and will do whatever to avoid that...any info & insight appreciated, thanks mamas!!


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#2 of 23 Old 12-14-2010, 11:46 AM
 
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I did a sweep about a week before I went into labor...it didn't do anything.

Then I did a sweep on fri the 12th...it started my labor and I had him at 7am on the 14th after 15+ hours of labor.

I think if you do them at the right time, then it can help you go into labor. But you never know when that 'right time' is lol


And as a matter of fact...my DS 2nd birthday is today!


I hope you go into labor SOOn and you don't have to be induced! Go see a chiro too!


GL!!!!!
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#3 of 23 Old 12-14-2010, 12:34 PM
 
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Sweeps *can* hurt a great deal, especially if you're hard/closed/really posterior. Bleeding is not unlikely, and there's the risk of rupturing the membranes (I wouldn't personally worry about that one if your midwife is experienced with these things). There is also debatable evidence about the effectiveness of them. It seems like they're most effective if several are done over the course of a couple of weeks. That said, you're coming to the end, and I would ABSOLUTELY have a stretch and sweep in the hopes that it might get things moving along. I'd take a sweep over a chemical induction any day!

I'm having one done on Friday, actually. :)

Are you doing the evening primrose oil thing too? orally and vaginally? Bromelein is the enzyme in pineapple that is supposed to be helpful too. It's actually an anti-inflammatory, and I'm a little unclear on the induction mechanism, but hey, fresh pineapple is yummy! I had success with accupuncture last time too - in fact, I'm off to make an appointment right now!

Good luck.


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#4 of 23 Old 12-14-2010, 03:59 PM
 
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I would never do one. They hurt, they don't effectively lead to labor but they can cause a lot of unproductive contractions and they introduce bacteria into the womb.

Homeschooling mom of two plus baby R born December 16 love.gif
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#5 of 23 Old 12-14-2010, 04:09 PM
 
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Having my membranes swept put me into labor within hours for both my girls. That being said, I was already dilated to 3 and 4 cm, respectively, so who's to say that I wouldn't have gone into labor anyway. I found the process nothing more than uncomfortable, but again, that's a personal thing. 

 

FYI, it's impossible to sweep your membranes unless you're at least a fingertip dilated. At least, I don't know of anyone who would force a cervix open (any respectable person, anyway), and your mw/ob will have to be able to get in there (that sounds terrible, I know) to complete the sweep. As long as he/she goes slow and doesn't force anything it shouldn't be too bad. Also, I had some bleeding with my first and none with my second, but lost my mucus plug immediately after both times. Just something to be aware of. 

 

In regards to the posterior cervix thing- I have a very posterior cervix, and both times I had sweeps done my CNM had to really reach. However, the position of your cervix (anterior/posterior) has nothing to do with dilation. So take heart- I went from a super high cervix to complete in a matter of hours. Some good info: http://navelgazingmidwife.squarespace.com/navelgazing-midwife-blog/2006/6/30/word-search-posterior-cervix.html


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#6 of 23 Old 12-14-2010, 05:12 PM
 
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 I'll consider it Friday, if baby has not been born yet. I will be 41+2 then and we need the baby born by 42 weeks. I really feel like I want to just trust my body and baby to start labor when ready, but we may need to start stirring things up a bit, it baby waits a long time. I would rather try this and hopefully still get my vbac, than keep waiting and end up with another c section, just because of dates.


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#7 of 23 Old 12-14-2010, 05:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm scared to get a stretch and sweep, but I'm more scared of doctors and chemical induction, which honestly I probably would never agree to, they'd have to find me! I haven't done EPO, perhaps I should call my MW and see what she thinks about that. I went to the chiro yesterday, but I really think she doesn't have much experience with preg women, she didnt do much different from other appts I've had with her.

 

At this point, I'm drinking RRL tea, taking homeopathic stuff suggested by my MW (actea racemosa, aka black cohosh & caulophyllum tha, 3 pellets 3x day), bouncing on the birth ball, DTD, massaging pressure points...jeez what else can I do?? If my cervix stays posterior, I would say any attempt to get into it will be painful, but I don't see my MWs trying it if it's still closed up. We'll see what the next day or so brings with me stepping things up a bit with the pressure points and the ball. And no idea if I can do EPO with the stuff I'm already taking. DH is trying to reason with the baby...Prayer is an option I haven't tried yet...

 

Thanks for the opinions & encouragement.

Happy birthday to your little one, Jennifer!


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#8 of 23 Old 12-14-2010, 09:46 PM
 
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DDC crashing!!  I just had to respond to your post as a fellow VBACer.

 

Please, please trust your body. Trust you baby. Know that your body know's how to birth. Everything needs to line up to allow your baby to emerge. Pushing things, going against nature, going against your body, can lead you down the path of a repeat c.  My son was born 6 mo ago and he was born right at 42 weeks at HOME! It was amazing to push out this 9lb 10oz squishy, yummy smelling newborn. He was my VBAC baby and I can't even tell you how amazing and how healing it was. No-one but me ever put their fingers in my vagina until I asked to be "checked" at 7cm.. Cause it didn't matter how dialated I was pre-labor.

 

Please read this article. web.archive.org/web/20060718000302/http://www.birthlove.com/free/induction.html#castor

With my first, I was hard and closed. My midwife suggested I get a stretch and sweep weekely. I truster her.  The sweep weakened my sac and it broke before my body was ready. and to top it off my dd was posterier. We induced with castor oil. I got to only 5cm. Transported to hospital and had a devistating c-section that left me ill for 6weeks post partum. it sucked big time.

 

Read up on everything including going past 42 weeks. No-one can make you do anything, including induction.

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#9 of 23 Old 12-15-2010, 05:45 AM
 
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I had a membrane sweep with my 1st after going 41wks 1 day.  Later that evening contractions began and my water broke.  I did not find it painful just uncomfortable. 


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#10 of 23 Old 12-16-2010, 08:31 PM
 
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I had a membrane sweep this Tuesday, at 39.1 weeks. I was 1cm and 70% prior to the sweep. (after being 0 and 50% the week before)

 

Today (Thursday) she checked me and I was a "stretchy 1cm" and 80% effaced. She swept again today.

 

Next appointment is this upcoming Tuesday, where I'll be 40.1. Im curious to get checked again, but not sure if I should continue the sweeps?

 

Thoughts?


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#11 of 23 Old 12-17-2010, 12:33 PM
 
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I had it done at my 40 w appt with my son, but he wasn't born until several days later, so I don't think it did anything.  I'm trying to be more zen and trusting this time (despite my anxiousness about wanting to get home for the holidays), so I'll probably skip it.

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#12 of 23 Old 12-17-2010, 12:37 PM
 
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I had it done twice, 3 days before the due date in the hopes that labour would start and my birth partner (my sister who was leaving for an overseas trip the following week) would be there. Didn't work. At a few more days overdue we tried again. Didn't work - but I was 3cm dilated.

 

Eventually I was induced at 10 days 'overdue' - the labour was 6 hours long and not too bad (said coz it was 13 weeks ago and my memory is fading? lol).

 

good luck with your decision!


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#13 of 23 Old 12-17-2010, 08:03 PM
 
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My midwife did a sweep today at 40 weeks. I wasn't going to...but it seemed harmless. I am 3 cm and 80%--it didn't hurt me at all. I had been sent to labor and delivery after another non-reactive non-stress test (which had me pretty stressed out!). I hate all of these tests. I definitely don't want to be induced at 42 weeks so I'm hoping that baby and body are ready soon. My doula mentioned that a sweep will do something only if your body is ready. If your body isn't ready, then it should be harmless-- however, this is my only experience with it.

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#14 of 23 Old 12-17-2010, 09:23 PM
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I let a midwife try it for my son when I was around 41 weeks, but it hurt too bad and I had to stop.  I've later learned that I dilate outside first and have a very posterior cervix, so although she said I was "a stretch 5" I probably was still pretty closed on the inside.  I went into labor for him on my own the night before I would have been induced.  Now having gone over so many times, I'm not doing anything but waiting.  I know that is easier to say than do though!  I time out of a home birth at 42 weeks and at that point any hospital in the state would try to induce me-which I won't allow.  I just know my babies need the extra time.  Fortunately they have all come before 42 weeks (although the 1st 2 pushed it to the last day).

 

Melissa, I really enjoyed your post.  I saw the same thing happen to my friend with her 2nd baby-a VBAC attempt, and it was heartbreaking.  Unfortunately, her midwife was just pressuring her too much to do "natural" inductions.  Congratulations on your home birth!


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#15 of 23 Old 12-21-2010, 05:01 PM
 
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I had it done- I was one day overdue, I was dilated 4 cm and I had a bulging bag. I started having regular contractions and went into labor within 12 hours (I should also mention that I had orgasmic sex (TMI) and I walked Costco for 2 hours that day as well).

Personally, it didn't hurt me at all. Also side note- though my bag was bulging, it never broke- they ended up breaking it once I was 10 cm and ready to push. I only mention that because I do honestly believe that the sweeping of my membranes helped push me over the edge into labor.

Hope that helps!!

Jamie from Indiana, , Baby #1- Nolan Michael born December 9th, 2010
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#16 of 23 Old 12-21-2010, 05:26 PM
 
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I had to deliver before my due date or be induced as I was high risk. My OB did a gentle sweep at 38 weeks and then she did a 5 minute sweep at 39 weeks. She had a patient insist on doing a sweep for 10 minutes once and was the only patient she ever felt like the sweep actually put into labor. She swept the membranes at 9am on Monday and another patient at 10am and we both delivered within hours of each other on Tuesday afternoon both at 39 weeks. I'm thinking 5 minutes or more might be the key, but who knows?

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#17 of 23 Old 12-21-2010, 05:44 PM
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I did a sweep with my last baby and it totally worked.  I went into labor that night.

 

It is uncomfortable, a little painful, but not terrible.  It was over pretty quickly.  I see people above talking about sweeping for 5 or 10 minutes - I think mine was over and done in about 30 seconds. 

 

I would do it personally at my due date, but I am an impatient gal.

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#18 of 23 Old 12-21-2010, 06:11 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MsFortune View Post

I did a sweep with my last baby and it totally worked.  I went into labor that night.

 

It is uncomfortable, a little painful, but not terrible.  It was over pretty quickly.  I see people above talking about sweeping for 5 or 10 minutes - I think mine was over and done in about 30 seconds. 

 

I would do it personally at my due date, but I am an impatient gal.


Mine definitely lasted all of 10 seconds or so as well.

Jamie from Indiana, , Baby #1- Nolan Michael born December 9th, 2010
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#19 of 23 Old 12-21-2010, 06:28 PM
 
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I just want to thank you all for this.  I am in the Jan DDC and I am starting to get anxious b/c DD was here a little early. oh yeah and "boys come earlier than girls"

 

Big momma

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#20 of 23 Old 12-21-2010, 08:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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In the end, I went to my last MW appt last Friday (after an ultrasound and biomedical exam to check on baby) and was having some contrax and my cervix - which had previously been way posterior and soft but closed - was forward and I was an easy 2 cms. She offered to sweep my membranes then and I declined, given that it seemed that things were moving in a positive way and I ended up having my boy that night love.gif. I'm glad I didn't take her up on the offer and gave my body a chance to do its work, but I think I would have had I been closer to facing medical intervention, which I would do just about anything to avoid. Thanks for the input!!


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#21 of 23 Old 12-21-2010, 11:10 PM
 
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I have an appointment Thursday at 40+6 (if I don't have baby first), and will probably be offered the sweep then.  I probably will decline, partly because I'm Group B strep positive, and the potential for infection makes me nervous (even though I can't find good evidence either way if that's a significant risk).  If I haven't had the baby by next week though, as I'll be approaching 42 at that point, I'll probably do it then.

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#22 of 23 Old 12-22-2010, 08:00 AM
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Well congrats on the baby!

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#23 of 23 Old 01-04-2011, 12:16 PM
 
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Just in case anyone is still hanging out waiting for a baby....

I can't believe I did  this, but I asked for a sweep and had one done at 39 weeks. I was having prelabour stuff within 24 hours, and babe was born less than 36 hours later. We did accupressure too, but I think the sweep put me over the edge. It CAN work. :)


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