How to Have an Amniotomy
An amniotomy, or artificial rupture of membranes (AROM), is when a doctor or midwife breaks a pregnant woman’s bag of waters. Many women have the choice to have an amniotomy, and some doctors require the procedure.
Read on to learn more about amniotomies and whether or not this is for you.
4 Steps to Have an Amniotomy
1. Know how doctors perform an amniotomy.
A medical professional inserts a metal hook into a woman’s vagina and pricks her bag of waters, thus draining the amniotic fluid from around the fetus. The doctor may also wear a glove with a sharp end (called an amnicot) to perform the procedure.
2. Understand why doctors perform an amniotomy.
Some doctors believe rupturing a woman’s bag of waters helps to induce or begin labor. Other medical professionals believe an amniotomy speeds up labor, especially if a woman is just before the pushing phase of labor.
Still other doctors and midwives believe a woman’s bag of waters should break during labor should be left to progress naturally.
3. Acknowledge other reasons a doctor may request an amniotomy.
If a doctor suspects that meconium (a baby’s black, tarry first bowel movement) is in the amniotic fluid, he or she may perform an AROM to test for its presence, as meconium can be harmful to the fetus.
AROMs allow for fetal blood testing as well. If you encounter complications during delivery, your doctor may want to place a fetal monitor directly on top of your baby’s head. He or she cannot accomplish this without an amniotomy.
4. Weigh the advantages and disadvantages of an amniotomy.
Advantages include proper testing of amniotic fluid, if suspected, and the potential speeding up of labor.
Disadvantages include compression or prolapse of the umbilical cord, a lack of cushion for the baby’s head and skull, a higher likelihood of infection, a higher incidence of a Cesarean section (most doctors only allow you to labor for 12 to 24 hours after your water has broken) and possible bed rest or movement restriction.
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