Difference Between Breaking Your Water & Stripping MembranesAnne Sommers, Licensed Midwife
What is the difference between "breaking your water" and "stripping the membranes" as a measure to speed labor along?
"Breaking your water" is a process whereby an instrument, called an amniohook, plastic or metal, is inserted in the vagina. An amnihook looks like a plastic crochet hook. The practitioner (midwife, doctor, nurse) passes it through the vagina and cervix and then grabs a piece of the ballonlike amniotic sac, snags and breaks it. Water leaks out. It is usually done to augment labor, but can be done to induce labor. It is also performed so that an internal fetal monitor can be applied to the baby's head.
"Stripping the membranes" is another procedure in which the bag surrounding the amniotic fluid is separated by the practitioner's fingers from the uterus. This irritates the uterus, causing contractions. It is less invasive than breaking the amniotic sac.
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