Just some answers to a few questions

In one of my last posts on induction, a girl asked about stripping of membranes and breaking your water as means of induction and where they stand. I’ll start off with breaking your water, or amniotomy. In A Good Birth, A Safe Birth by Diana Korte and Roberta Scaer, they say

“95% of women with uncompliciated unmedicated labors will still have the bag intact until very late in labor or even up to the birth.”

The bag of waters is a benefit to mother and baby if left to break on its own. It provides a soft cushion for the baby’s head and umbilical cord, meaning they will be able to receive more oxygen during labor and be able to move around better for the delivery. The longer the bag stays intact, the longer without risk of infection. Once the water breaks, infection can get into the uterus. In hospitals, you are only allowed 24 hours maximum from the time your water breaks till you have to have the baby or you go in for a cesarean. On The Farm (see previous post), they have had people go days in labor after their water has broken. They monitor frequently for infection, and keep vaginal exams to a bare minimum.

If your water breaks naturally, you will feel a gush of warm fluid ora trickling of fluid. Rarely is it a huge floor puddle like on TV.

Amniotomy is used to speed up labor or induce labor in a ready woman (meaning your cervix is soft and ripe). It is also used to attach a fetal monitor to a baby’s head and can be broken to test for meconium, or your baby’s first bowel movement. If medonium is found, it means your baby is in distress and needs to be delivered.

The pros of doing an amniotomy during labor is for meconium testing and if you are dialated 7 cms or more, it speeds up the last 3 cms of dialation, which would mean a shorter labor for most women.

The cons of doing an amniotomy is it is often the start of birth interventions, often along with a pitocin drip and EFM (electronic fetal monitoring). There is an increase in cesarean usage, since you only have 24 hours to get the baby out. There is no cushion for the baby, so contractions are harder for the baby to handle, and most often times, the heartbeat will slow down and show the baby’s distress. The risk of infection increases, as stated above. The umbilical cord has a greater chance of being compressed and cutting off oxygen to the baby, requiring an immediate cesarean. It also stops a woman’s body from acting naturally and can actually slow down labor so pitocin is needed to keep it going.

In some countries, babies that are born in their bag of fluids are often considered lucky and are said to come directly from the gods or they have some special significance in their lives and the lives of others (which I think is pretty nifty).

Stripping membranes is the process of your doctor doing an exam, but instead of just feeling your dilation, they feel around just inside your cervix where the membranes are attached to the rim. In this process, they break the membranes (on a molecular level) and this allows the membranes to break and so release and turn into prostaglandins (which soften the cervix making it ready to open) to prepare for labor, but only if your cervix is RIPE and ready for labor. Before then it won’t be worth it.

This WILL NOT cause spontaneous labor. It is a slow process, most times taking more than one try to get labor to start.

This is often used on toxemia, diabetes, and other patients that need to deliver, but it isn’t necessary they deliver immediately.

There has been a lot of argument as to whether stripping the membranes regularly actually starts someone’s labor, or it was about to start anyway. If your body isn’t ready to go into labor, this will not start it like medications will. It just helps your body prepare.

I hope these answered the question from before!

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