In order to start your labor, your doctor may stimulate the cervix through a simple procedure called "a membrane sweep". Your doctor or midwife will insert a figure inside your cervix and try to separate the membranes from the cervix through a sweeping movement. Sometimes, the procedure is simply referred to as a sweep or stretch – your midwife may decide to stretch your cervix if it doesn't respond to simple sweeping movement. Most women are interested in this procedure but they want to know more about membrane sweep success rate. Keep reading to find out more aboutmembrane sweep effectiveness.
Membrane Sweep Success Rate
The membrane sweep success rate is around 24% and the chances are that you will deliver your baby within a week of having a sweep or stretch done. In some cases, when labor has not started in 36 hours of having a first stretch done, you may have to consider going for another procedure. The 2nd sweep success rate is usually higher, but it is important not to have a stretch done at every antenatal appointment, as it can be risky at times. It is worth mentioning that sometimes the sweep or stretch won't bring on labor, which usually means you have to do an ARM and then start a Syntocinon drip.
When Is Membrane Sweep Needed?
You may be worried about membrane sweep success rate, but you need to know if you really need it in the first place or not. You usually need it when you're overdue and have passed 41 weeks. You may also need it if you're dealing with other medical conditions such as pre-eclampsia, pregnancy diabetes, obstetric cholestasis, and symphysis pubis dysfunction. You may also consider having this procedure done if your baby isn't growing normally or you're expecting more than one baby.
How Is a Membrane Sweep Done?
Once you have decided that a membrane sweep will be beneficial in your case, you should go see your obstetrician to learn more about procedure. Your partner should go with you and discuss all the benefits and risks of the procedure. The procedure is not that complicated though.
You will have to use the toilet first to ensure your bladder is fully emptied. Then your midwife will perform an abdominal exam to check your baby's heartbeat. If they notice something is not normal, they may choose not to perform the procedure.
In case everything is fine, they will insert two gloved fingers into your vagina to feel your cervix. The first thing they will do is to check your cervix for how soft or dilated it is. If it has started thinning, they may proceed with the sweep. They may not continue if your cervix is still closed and high – this may be extremely painful if they continue with the procedure when your cervix is not 'favorable' to the procedure.
If they decide to continue, they will feel for the membranes that may be surrounding the baby. They continue stretching to help the cervix to open up a little – they may even have to sweep it to separate the membranes from the cervix. A midwife may have to massage the cervix first to open it up a little and then insert a finger for stretching – they will rotate their fingers in a sweeping motion to open up your cervix. It is important that only an experienced midwife handles the procedure because they have to perform a full 360-degree motion without breaking the membranes. The membranes may break sometimes though, especially when they are about to rupture spontaneously.
What Does a Membrane Sweep Feel Like?
Like mentioned already, it depends on the current condition of your cervix. If it is already soft and dilated, you may not find it painful. It may not be entirely comfortable either. You'd not feel pain if you were already in labor, but that's usually not the case. So, be ready to experience some discomfort even when membrane sweep success rate is high.
What Are the Benefits and Risks of Membrane Sweep?
Just like other procedures, there are certain benefits and some risks involved in performing a membrane sweep. The biggest benefit is that the procedure will save you from going for induction in case you're already overdue – this will also help ripen your cervix and may even start the labor.
The biggest issue is that you'd experience some discomfort when undergoing the procedure. It becomes an even more difficult decision to make when you know there is only a small chance of success. It may also lead to cramping and even bleeding that may continue for a day after the procedure. When not performed carefully, it may break the waters before labor.
In addition, some women may find the procedure a bit distressing and even personally invasive, so they choose not to opt for it. If you're under stress because you're undergoing a procedure, this will further reduce the membrane sweep success rate. It is also important to bear in mind that sometimes a caregiver may give you a membrane sweep while performing a regular vaginal examination, so it is important to ask before every exam about what they are going to do and why.