Gentle induction of labor with cervical stripping

Cervical stripping is a method performed after 37 weeks of pregnancy to stimulate labor naturally. During a vaginal examination, the inner cervix is detached from the amniotic sac. This causes a release of labor-promoting hormones. In this way, contractions can be stimulated naturally.

What is cervical stripping

Cervical stripping, also known as membrane sweep or membrane stripping, is a mechanical method of inducing labor. A midwife or doctor carefully inserts a finger into the vagina and massages the inner cervix. She moves her finger back and forth until the outer egg membrane of the amniotic sac detaches from the cervix. This stimulates the release of prostaglandins, a type of hormone that helps to induce labor.

When is it normally initiated?

If the calculated due date has been exceeded by seven to ten days, the birth is often artificially induced with medication. The reason for this is the risk of a possible functional restriction of the placenta (placental insufficiency) due to maturation or ageing processes in the placenta, which could jeopardize the further supply of oxygen and nutrients to the baby.

Cervical stripping is a mechanical alternative that can be tried before starting medication. The cervix should already be slightly open in order to be able to detach the membrane. If the cervical stripping does not induce the birth directly, the method can be repeated several times.

The decision as to whether you want to use cervical stripping to induce labor is entirely up to you.

Are there any risks?

Cervical stripping is considered a method with many possible positive effects and comparatively harmless side effects. Massaging the cervix can be uncomfortable and sometimes a little painful. Slight spotting can occur after a membrane sweep and often leads to a reddish-brown discharge. This can occur on the same day or one or two days later. Irregular contractions are also common and can be painful. These symptoms are not dangerous.

If cervical dilatation becomes too uncomfortable or painful for you, you can stop the treatment at any time. If you experience bleeding that is heavier than just smearing or even menstruation, please contact us immediately.


Please feel welcome to contact us if you are interested. We will be happy to advise you in our midwife consultation hours or at the polyclinic as part of a pregnancy check-up.

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