Anxiety starts piling up as an expectant mother is near the end of her pregnancy. However, it is commonly seen that the expectant mother after completing her 40 weeks of pregnancy and being ready for the entire process of delivering the baby, surpasses her expected due date but still, there are no signs of labor. Though watching your baby's due date come and go without any contractions is quite normal nowadays, it may leave the expecting mother disheartened, and sometimes annoyed, especially after so much of anticipation and excitement.
Besides this, late pregnancy can be challenging and extremely uncomfortable for the would-be mother. Hence, under such conditions, inducing labor sometimes becomes necessary for an expecting mother that has past her due date. However, with so many invasive ways for the same, one can surely get confused deciding which method is safe and effective. However, stripping membranes to induce labor is one such method that can make a pregnant woman have contractions naturally. The details of the same are presented in the article below.
Stripping membranes is a safe and effective way to bring on contractions naturally. In this method, the doctor or midwife after putting a glove, inserts a finger or two in to the cervix through vagina, the opening that connects the vagina to the uterus. Then he/she will move the finger back and forth or sweep side to side to separate the thin membrane connecting the amniotic sac (which homes the baby and amniotic fluid) to the wall of the uterus. Once the membranes are stripped, the body produces hormones called prostaglandins, that help ripen the cervix for childbirth and bring on contractions.
The procedure is commonly done when the mother has already started to dilate, or open up. This is because stripping membranes when a mother is not dilated can lead to some discomfort and pain. Moreover, sometimes it takes 3 - 4 attempts to start labor. Hence, it is recommended to perform the procedure when the mother is at least 2 cm dilated.
Does it Work?
This must be a common question lingering in the minds of many expecting mothers. Though the results vary as per the health condition of a mother, in most cases, this method proves effective. Considered to be a guaranteed way of inducing labor naturally, it works by removing the mucus plug (a thick membrane that seals the cervix from entering anything in to the uterus) and disrupting the attachment of the bag of water to the uterus, hence causing uterus contractions.
In some cases, it has been so effective that once the mucus plug is removed, labor starts within 2 - 3 days. However, there is one risk involved in this method, and that is the chance of premature rupturing of amniotic sag. Hence, it is important to strip the membranes only when a woman completes her 40 weeks of pregnancy or has surpassed her due date.
There are several things like herbs, nipple stimulation, etc., that can be done to start contractions, but they'll benefit only if body of would be mother is ready else she'll end up frustrated. Also, trying these methods before the right time can hyper stimulate the uterus, i.e., little or no rest between the contractions, which can cause the baby to breathe less oxygen, resulting in slow fetal heart rate. Hence, before trying any of the inducing labor techniques, you should discuss them with your doctor to avoid any unwanted complications.
Disclaimer: This HerHaleness article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.