What is a “Stretch and Sweep” and can I have this instead of being induced?
Also known as a membrane sweep, prior to having an induction of labour – usually only offered from around 39 weeks of pregnancy, it is recommended that women are offered a membrane stretch and sweep to assess the readiness of the cervix for labour.
What does it involve?
A stretch and sweep involves your medical practitioner – usually your midwife or obstetrician placing a finger or two just inside your cervix and making a circular sweeping movement which aims to separate the membranes from the cervix.
By doing this it helps to stimulate the release of hormones that trigger the start of labour contractions.
What will it feel like and what can I expect?
Although it can feel a little uncomfortable with a sensation of pressure, it shouldn’t hurt.
Following the procedure its common to bleed a little and experience some mild cramping. You may find you have a mucousy blood tinged show, which is completely normal.
When would a Stretch & Sweep be offered?
Generally only offered to women who are due or past due, however, some midwives will offer this procedure a little earlier to help prevent the need for induction if for example, the baby is measuring quite large and there is concern over the mother’s ability to naturally deliver if the pregnancy was to go full term or there is a risk of complications such as preeclampsia.
How effective are they?
Membrane sweeps have been shown to increase the chance of labour commencing naturally within 48 hours of the procedure by 30%. Some women may need to have this done 2-3 times though before the cervix is ready and for some women the procedure will have no effect at all.
What else can I do to get my body ready for labour?
We recommend preparing your uterus and cervix naturally as much as possible throughout your third trimester so that when the times (which can often be unpredictable) your body is in the best condition to proceed with whichever methods are needed for you to safely deliver your baby.
Research has shown that by regularly drinking quality red raspberry leaf tea from 27 weeks of pregnancy, you can gently strengthen and tonify your uterine muscles which can help you to achieve more effective and efficient contractions and post birth recovery.
But Im having a c-section…
Remember, even if you do need to have a caesarean section, your uterus which is up to 500 times is starting size needs to contract back quickly after the birth of our baby, so by having a tonified uterus you can help this process and potentially reduce some of the cramping pains associated.
Where can I get quality raspberry leaf tea?
MaterniTea has blended our raspberry leaf blend CAPACITEA with a little nettle to also help our mamas with fluid retention – a common side effect of the final weeks of pregnancy and to help reduce post birth bleeding.
Order CAPACITEA now and give your body the best chance of happy delivery and post birth recovery.