Induction day was looming and we were offered a sweep. I didn’t want to be induced as I thought Edie should come out when she was ready not when she was forced. I had also heard a fair few induction horror stories. So… I spent ages researching whether to have one and discussed it with anyone I new who’d had one, and quite honestly anyone who would listen.
If I had my time again I would tell myself to not be such a fanny, have the sweep and spend less time thinking about it, and more time doing something else, as it wasn’t too big a deal at all.
Here’s why – it takes a couple of minutes, it’s not that invasive, it’s not painful (think smear) and it can encourage that baby to get a wiggle on without drugs.
If you are in a similar situation here is some of the pros and cons I found. Hopefully, these will help you to make your decision:
Recap: What is a membrane sweep?
A trained professional – usually a midwife will sweep her finger around your cervix. You can find out more information about the procedure here: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/induction-labour/
- Whether it works or not, it feels like you’re being proactive in getting things to move along
- Statistically, there is around a 24 percent success rate that the procedure is effective, meaning labour starting within the next 48 hours.* However, there’s no way of knowing how many of these labours would have happened naturally if the sweep hadn’t occurred. Most women will deliver their baby within one week of having a stretch and sweep done.
- If it works you won’t have to be induced, and are more likely to have the birth you’ve visualised
- It involves no drugs or medication
- It’s a quick procedure – I was in and out of the doctors within 15 minutes
- There is a risk of amniotic bag rupture associated with membrane sweep. This can make your baby vulnerable to some serious infections like Group b strep (GBS). You can find out more about GBS here: https://www.groupbstrepinternational.org/more-about-gbs-and-how-to-help-protect-your-baby.html
- It is a form of induction – so you are encouraging the baby to come out, the baby isn’t coming out by itself.
- It can be uncomfortable
Remember it’s your baby, your body and your choice. NHS procedure is to recommend a sweep at 40 weeks which may be good for the masses, but you and your baby are individuals so don’t make the decision purely because it’s NHS protocol and what the midwife recommended. Weigh up the pros and cons and make an informed decision on what’s right for you. No one should give you a sweep without your permission. If you are having one and you would like them to stop for any reason – you change your mind or it’s uncomfortable, whatever the reason, you can ask them to stop.
If you’re reading this you probably don’t have long to go now – how bloody exciting!