Artificial Rupture of the Membranes

Overview

When you are pregnant, your membranes may break or rupture. This means that a hole or tear forms in the fluid-filled bag that surrounds and protects your baby. It usually happens when you are in labor or close to labor. When it happens, women often say their "water broke." The chemicals in the amniotic fluid may help start or strengthen labor.

Sometimes your membranes may be ruptured by your doctor to start or speed up labor. This is called artificial rupture of the membranes.

How is artificial rupture of the membranes done?

Your doctor puts a sterile plastic device into your vagina. The device may look like a long crochet hook. Or it may be a smaller hook attached to the finger of a sterile glove.

The hook is used to pull gently on the amniotic sac until the sac breaks. This usually doesn't cause pain.

A large gush of fluid usually follows the rupture of the sac. The uterus keeps making the fluid until the baby's birth. So you may continue to feel leaking, especially right after a hard contraction.

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