Has your doctor suggested stripping membranes to get your labor started? Here are the pros and cons. Being pregnant really is great: You get to eat all the soft pretzels and ice cream you want, because at a certain point, you just stop looking at the scale when they weigh you during OB appointments. For me, that time came at around 37 weeks, when, on our nightly walk, my husband literally had to call an Uber five blocks from our house because I just could not waddle any farther.
A stretch and sweep or membrane sweep is a relatively gentle way of trying to start labour. It is a simple procedure that sometimes initiates labour, reducing the risk of babies being born over the due date 42 weeks of pregnancy. A stretch and sweep releases hormones that prepare the cervix for birth and sometimes initiate labour. Your midwife or doctor may offer to perform a stretch and sweep when you have reached full term 38 weeks to try to start labour. Some hospitals and doctors recommend the procedure only if you are 40 to 41 weeks pregnant in an attempt to prevent an overdue delivery, which may place the baby at risk. The procedure is carried out by your midwife or doctor as part of an internal vaginal examination. Your midwife or doctor puts a couple of lubricated, gloved fingers into your vagina and inserts their index finger into the opening of the cervix or neck of your womb.
By Colleen Fisher Tully Mar 22, Photo: iStockPhoto. Is it worth the additional pain and discomfort you might endure? Also referred to as a membrane sweep, a membrane stripping or simply a sweep, this technique involves gently lifting the amniotic sac—or fetal membrane—from the cervix and lower part of the uterus.