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Learn about methods of inducing labor

Membrane sweep

A membrane sweep is a type of vaginal examination that activates the cervix. This process will make the body produce chemicals that may trigger labor to begin. This is also known as “stripping the membranes.”

Artificial rupture of membranes

Occasionally the midwife or doctor will need to break the patient’s water. This is called an amniotomy.

The midwife or doctor makes a small hole in the amniotic sac with a special tool or with their finger.


Medicine can also induce labor. It can be taken by mouth as a tablet or as a gel placed in the vagina. Medicine can also be given through a pessary, a device about the size of a tampon that slowly releases the medicine directly into the vagina.


A balloon, such as the Cook® Cervical Ripening Balloon, is inserted through the vagina. The balloon is inflated, which slowly makes the cervix dilate.


Remember, every patient is different, and your doctor knows you best. After reading the information on this site, make an appointment to talk to your doctor to help you make the right decision about any treatments or procedures.


Updated on June 24, 2022