Ah, the membrane sweep. What is it exactly? Also referred to as a stretch and sweep or membrane stripping. It is a technique that involves gently lifting the amniotic sac away from the cervix and the lower part of the uterus. Your doctor or midwife inserts a gloved finger through the cervical canal and uses a sweeping motion to separate the membrane from the cervix. This intervention releases prostaglandins, which are the chemicals that help soften and open the cervix for labour. Most providers will offer you a sweep in late pregnancy. Remember, it is your choice and it should never be preformed without your explicit consent!
What are the risks and benefits of the sweep?
Why is it good to labour at home as long as possible? So many reasons, early labour can be long, the hospital won't admit you until you are in active labour (sorry....no epidural yet!), you are comfortable, less anxious, you can eat, drink, be in your own bed and personal space.
So what are the things that you can be doing at home so you get to the hospital in active labour?
Having said all this, never hesitate to check with your provider or head into ELAU if you need to. But know that your body and baby are doing their job and if you can labour at home if all is well until active labour, your time on the birth unit will be reduced and your progression might be faster.