Membrane Stripping Had My Baby Out After Just Seven Hours!

Membrane stripping allowed me to avoid inducing labor using chemicals. I was very thankful to my midwife for what I considered to be natural labor induction in preparation for the natural child birth I had planned.

Stripping membranes is considered by some to be in between a natural labor induction and a medical induction. This is because it does involve medical intervention, but doesn't involve chemicals.

When I think of the name it makes me shudder. When I was told about this option she referred to it as "stretch and sweep" and I found this name described the procedure well without scaring me.

This procedure involves your mid wife or doctor inserting a finger into your cervix and sweeping from side to side between the cervical wall and the amniotic sac (membranes). This results in loosening the membranes and stretching and irritating the cervix releasing prostaglandins (which is like a hormone) into your bloodstream. This is known to have good results in initiating labor.

There are what many call natural labor inducers which have varying degrees of success. Partly it may be because the technique isn't truly an inducer but rather just a "primer" - to get the body ready for labor. It could also be that mama's and baby's bodies are just not ready.

On the other end of the spectrum are chemical inducers. If you are overdue you may not have another choice. However, need we say anything about the side effects and risks of chemical induction?

In researching all the chemical-free induction options and after experiencing it myself I love this method! It's an excellent alternative to a chemical induction and I found it to work incredibly well! Also, it's relatively safe with a very small chance of rupturing the membranes (amniotic sac).

Here's my membrane stripping story:

At 41 weeks my midwife informed me we couldn't wait much longer before inducing. Between 41 weeks and 42 weeks the placenta starts to get "old" and unable to provide the oxygen and nutrients your unborn baby needs. I was informed about the choices in chemical induction and decided on what I thought was the lesser of the evils - the gel.

I was informed also about an alternative to chemical induction that we could try before my scheduled appointment.

So, when I was nine days overdue I went to the midwifery office for membrane stripping. It was much like a pelvic exam - with little more discomfort. I had no pain that I remember.

The mucous plug came out which is reportedly a good sign of your body's progression towards readiness for birthing. Also, I experienced spotting afterward which also is considered normal and a step closer to having baby.

Less than four hours later as I was very relaxed finishing lunch at Ikea I went into labor! If you are familiar with Ikea stores, it's a maze to get out of even at the best of times. A mama who's experiencing ever growing contractions really hates the store design!

Less than three hours after the start of those definitive contractions my little boy was out!

That was a fabulous day! I look back on that day very fondly because everything went so smoothly and quickly. Because my baby was so overdue and ready to come out the membrane stripping worked remarkably well!

That, apparently, is the key to membrane stripping - both baby and mama's body has to be ready. You could feel totally ready, even impatient, to get your sweet one out. But, if baby isn't ready stripping membranes won't work nor will any other natural birth induction method.

So, are both you and your baby ready for birth as determined by a Bishop's score with the help of your midwife or doctor? Or, are you overdue and your babe needs to come out for his safety? Then stripping membranes might be for you.

Inducing labor by membrane stripping is effective, relatively safe and chemical free. As a natural mama I was very glad to know about and employ what felt to me like natural labor induction.

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