Peeling of membranes: what is it, when to do it?

At the end of pregnancy, when baby is slow to point the tip of his nose, a trigger can be offered to the future mother. Several techniques exist. Among them, the detachment of the membranes. What is it? Is it painful? The explanations of Dr Caroline Verhaeghe, medical and obstetrics gynecologist at the University Hospital of Angers.

  Stripping of membranes: c'est quoi, quand le faire ?

Definition: What is a membrane stripping?

The stripping of the membranes is a technique that can be proposed at the end of pregnancy to speed up labour. It aims to cause the contractions . There are two membranes that protect the fetus in the amniotic sac: the amnion (inner membrane) and the chorion (outer membrane). This gesture can be performed by a midwife or an obstetrician-gynecologist from the 39th week of amenorrhea . A trigger may be necessary for several reasons: when the term is exceeded, when the health of the mother or baby depends on it as well as in the event of premature rupture of the bag of waters.

How does membrane peeling happen?

'The patient is placed in a lithotomy position. The obstetrician or the midwife performs a vaginal examination and will slide his fingers between the col of the uterus and the bag of waters to peel off the lower pole of the egg from the cervix . This will release proteins, enzymes and hormones (the prolactin and oxytocin) which will cause contractions and thus induce labour. This maneuver requires the cervix to be opened a little' , develops Dr. Caroline Verhaeghe.

When do you give birth after a rupture of the membranes?

Delivery can occur two hours after the membranes peel off or a week later, but more often, it occurs within 48 hours. This medical gesture works best on patients who have already given birth.

What is work?

Work corresponds to gradual opening of the cervix under the effect of uterine contractions. This period is long, difficult and often painful. The exercises and advice provided during the childbirth preparation sessions allow you to acquire a more efficient breathing , essential to make this step more bearable.

What to do after membrane peeling?

'After a detachment of the membranes, the patient goes home to wait for labor to begin. She can continue to live normally,' indicates the gynecologist.

Is the peeling of the membranes painful?

Peeling of membranes can be unpleasant . It is also for this reason that it is never performed without the consent of the patient, who must be warned of any pain she may feel.

What are the symptoms after a rupture of the membranes?

'In some patients, especially primiparous women, the separation of the membranes can cause contractions painful but ineffective. There may also be slight bleeding related to changes in the cervix. This medical procedure is also likely to lead to premature rupture of the bag of waters which would expose the baby to a risk of infection ', report notre interlocutrice.

Notice detachment of the membranes

' Fifteen days before my due date, the obstetrician suggested that my membranes be detached because I was suffering from Gestational Diabetes and that my baby might be too big. I was told it was painful but I didn't expect it to be this bad! If I had to do it again, I would clearly oppose this gesture which I found very painful “, says Aurélie, 32 years old.