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What is membrane stripping?

Membrane stripping is a procedure where your  doctor or midwife inserts their gloved  finger through the cervix (the opening at the bottom of the uterus) and moves their finger around  to separate the membranes from the uterus. Membrane stripping is also known as membrane sweeping  or "stretch and sweep" . The procedure causes release of prostaglandins , and may reduced the number of post-term pregnancies. However, "Routine use of sweeping of membranes from 38 weeks of pregnancy onwards does not seem to produce clinically important benefits. " [1]   . Stripping of the membranes should not be done in women who may have placenta previa, vasa previa, or a low lying placenta

  • Can my membranes be stripped if I'm GBS positive?

    Group B streptococcus (GBS) is a bacteria normally found in the vagina and/or rectum of about 1 in 4 of all healthy women.  GBS bacteria passed from the mother to the baby can cause some babies to become very sick and even die.   Two small studies publish in abstract (summary form) found membrane sweeping did not affect adequacy of antibiotic treatment for GBS or need for infant antibiotic treatment . ACOG advises that there is not enough  available  information  to encourage or discourage the practice of  membrane stripping in GBS-colonized women .



1 Boulvain M, et. al., Membrane sweeping for induction of labour. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2005 Jan 25;(1):CD000451.PMID:
2. Netta D, et. al.,  Does cervical membrane stripping increase maternal colonization of group B
streptococcus?. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology 2002;187(6):S221.
3.  Janakiraman V et. al., Membrane sweeping in GBS positive patients: a randomized controlled trial
American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology Volume 204, Issue 1, Supplement , Pages S41-S42, January 2011
4.. Prevention of early-onset group B streptococcal disease in newborns. Committee Opinion No. 485. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Obstet Gynecol 2011;117:
5.Andersen BB, et. al., Acupuncture and/or sweeping of the fetal membranes before induction of labor: a prospective, randomized, controlled trial.
J Perinat Med. 2013 Sep 1;41(5):555-60.PMID: 23612695

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