Hey Tranquility Tribe! When you’re an expecting mama, you’ve probably been anxious and ready to meet your baby since the day that test came back positive! Pregnancy is quite the journey, and as you get closer and closer to your due date, you may be counting down the seconds for that day to finally come. But what about when the big due date arrives and there has not even been a sign of labor starting anytime soon? Your mind need not automatically start to prepare for an induction - there’s another option too! Today we’re going to be giving you all the information you need to know in order to know if a membrane sweep is right for you!
First of all - what exactly is a membrane sweep? The name sounds a bit terrifying, but it’s a fairly low-key process! The sweep is done physically by your provider’s gloved finger, who inserts it in your cervix to physically, manually separate the membranes of the amniotic sac away from the uterine wall. The sweep is supposed to stimulate the release of prostaglandin, a hormone that aids in starting labor. At 40 weeks or more, 1 in 8 women went into labor within 48 hours post-sweep. Repeating it multiple times may be necessary in order for the effects to take place.
The sweep can be really painful for some women and can also cause bleeding or an accidental rupture of those membranes. However, most women only experience a bit of discomfort during the process, similar to what is felt during a routine vaginal examination. If the sweep does rupture the membranes and labor does not begin soon, you will most likely need to be artificially induced with medication.
It’s important to note that these sweeps haven’t been found to be effective unless you’re over 40 weeks, and they shouldn’t be done in conjunction with other labor-inducing techniques. The process is also only recommended for pregnancies that aren’t high-risk, as high-risk pregnancies usually require immediate use of medication for induction. Also, your cervix must be dilated even just a little bit in order for the sweep to be performed, as the membranes can’t be reached without some dilation. Above all, this is not a DIY type of situation! As with any vaginal procedure, there is a risk of infection, and that risk skyrockets up if you don’t know what you’re doing!
Overall, if you’re 40 weeks or over and have been on a low-risk pregnancy journey, a membrane sweep might be just what you need to get baby to begin to wiggle on out of you! However, if this doesn’t sound like your jam, this along with so many other aspects of pregnancy and labor are, at the end of the day, up to you! Do your research, talk with your doctor, chat with your village, and make an informed choice from there!