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Amniotic Sac

Did you know!? The Amniotic Sac has two layers. So when your “water breaks” it could be 1 layer or both. The amnion, the inner bag also called the hind bag, is the sac where the baby lives. The chorion is the outer membrane or fore-bag and this is what is attached to the uterus.

So if you’ve ever heard of “strip your membranes” or “membrane sweep”, what they mean is separate the chorion sac from the uterus by manually inserting a finger to detach it. It’s kind of like using your finger to separate adhesive. It's not very comfortable and some mothers may feel a little pain depending on how the provider does the sweep. It's not recommended unless it's been discussed with your provider that it would be of benefit for your particular situation.

Some of the situations where it may be helpful is when you're trying to naturally induce labor. This should only be done when you passed your due date and you've made an informed decision that it's best. As a side note it's normal to go past your estimated due date and even pass 41 weeks gestation as long as your provider and you are working together to properly monitor and manage your pregnancy and the health of your baby.

So what happens if you have a membrane sweep? First, in order to have it done you must be dilated so that your provider can enter the cervical os. The goal is to stimulate contractions. When you sweep the membranes it releases prostaglandins that help stimulate contractions. It's normal to have some spotting after due to the cervix being very vascular and some capillaries breaking. It's also normal to feel light cramping as well.

A membrane sweep doesn't always start labor, especially if your body is not ready. However, some studies show a success rate of 86.4% of being able to stimulate labor naturally. So, if you're past your estimated due date or it's been decided that having the baby soon for other reasons is best for you & the baby then this method to stimulate labor can be an alternative & more natural option then other methods.

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