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What is a Membrane Sweep?

What is a Membrane Sweep?

You may have heard your Midwife or your doctor talking about a membrane sweep? You may be offered one if you go past your due date. So what is it?

A membrane sweep is a vaginal examination where your midwife or doctor will insert a finger into your cervix and make a circular “sweeping” movement with their finger around the inside of your cervix to separate the membranes which is surrounding your baby from the inside of the cervix. This can help to simulate the prostaglandin hormone which could then start your labour naturally without the need for any other induction methods.

For your first baby you may be offered a sweep at your 40 week appointment and again at your 41 week appointment if you have not yet gone into labour. For your second baby and any other pregnancies you will be offered it at 41 weeks.

A membrane sweep can be a little bit uncomfortable so try and stay as relaxed as possible, now is a good time to practice those breathing techniques you are going to use in labour! You may have some light bleeding afterwards, you may lose your SHOW (the mucous plug that is inside your cervix) both are completely normal following a sweep. You should discuss the membrane sweep with your midwife at your 38 week appointment to see if this is something they can offer you.

If you wish to learn more about labour and birth, sign up today to our FREE Baby Care Workshop.