Amniotomy is the artificial rupture of the amniotic sac during labor or before labor naturally starts; usually done to speed...
Amniotomy is the artificial rupture of the amniotic sac during labor or before labor naturally starts; usually done to speed up labor. It is also referred to as ARM or AROM (artificial rupture of the membranes). Read one mom's story of what it was like here. How it can be helpful:

  • Can sometimes help a stalled labor to progress.
  • If the baby is high/"floating" during active labor, AROM can control the breaking the amniotic sac, so the umbilical cord does not emerge first (as it might with the water bursting) -- potentially cutting off baby's life support system.
How it can be risky:
  • Amniotic fluid cushions your baby's head like a soft pillow. If your water is artificially broken, your baby's head is now exposed to the direct effect of contractions -- intensifying sensations for both of you.
  • It can put pressure on the umbilical cord, resulting in less than optimal blood flow through the cord.
  • AROM increases your chances of you and your baby getting an infection.
Should you allow AROM? Most healthy birth advocates agree that unless your baby is showing signs of distress or you have certain other risk factors (such as those above), it's best to let nature take its course. If your labor is stalled, try nipple stimulation, walking and utilizing a birthing ball before moving on to AROM. (This is just one of the many great reasons to have a doula at your birth -- she'll know how to help you manage labor to avoid this and other invasive procedures.)

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