Sweeping or Stripping of the Membranes

Your baby is contained inside of a sac of amniotic fluid in your uterus. A number of membranes attach this sac to the inside of the your uterus.

In order to encourage dilation of your cervix, these membranes need to be separated from the lower part of your uterus. To do this, your health care provider will insert a finger into your cervix, and, using a rotating motion, "sweep" the membranes from the side of your uterus.

This helps your body to release prostaglandins, which will encourage contractions and the dilation of your cervix.

Some women find that this is an uncomfortable procedure, however, it is typically performed at your local clinic, and you can go home afterwards and wait for the results.

There are some risks associated with this procedure, including: infection, bleeding, and accidental rupture of the amniotic sac. However, these complications are quite rare.

Foley Catheter

A foley catheter is used by some health care professionals to help the cervix dilate. A thin, plastic catheter with a small balloon on one end is inserted into your cervix.

Water is slowly pushed through the catheter, allowing the balloon to inflate. As the balloon inflates, pressure is exerted against your cervix, causing your body to release prostaglandins. These hormones then cause your cervix to dilate.

Once your cervix has dilated enough, the balloon falls out and the catheter can be removed.

This technique, used to dilate the cervix, is associated with better and safer results. However, there is some evidence that the use of a foley catheter is linked with an increase in your risk of having a subsequent preterm birth.

Table of Contents
1. Medically Inducing Labor
2. Getting labor going
3. Trigger contractions
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