Amniotomy does not hurt or cause pain to the mother or the baby. The mother may experience a little discomfort when the amniotic hook (the instrument to perform amniotomy) is passed through the birth canal. Amniotomy is typically followed by increased contractions to facilitate labor. The doctor may often rupture the amniotic sac to get the labor started. This procedure is called an amniotomy and requires the doctor to make a small hole in the amniotic sac with a special tool called an amniotomy hook. The doctor may also do the same procedure if the patient is in labor, but the amniotic sac is not broken yet.
- An amniotomy is performed by an obstetrician in a labor or delivery room, with the patient lying on a hospital bed. In some cases, the patient is asked to stay in a semi-sitting position to minimize cord compression and ensure a good oxygen supply for the fetus.
- The procedure is done when the neck of the womb (cervix) is thin and dilated, and the head of the baby has moved down into the pelvis (engaged).
- The procedure is done using either an amniotic membrane perforator, also known as an amniotomy hook or AmniHook or an amniotic finger cot.
- Before performing the procedure, it is crucial to determine the fetus’s presentation and location. Second, the patient may need to be placed on an electronic fetal monitor to monitor fetal wellbeing.
- When the patient has been prepped for the procedure, the obstetrician proceeds to dilate the opening of the womb.
- The doctor then ruptures the amniotic membrane using the hook, timing it in between contractions. As the amniotic fluid begins to flow out, the doctor keeps one hand in the vagina to let it flow in a gradual manner and prevent umbilical cord prolapse.
- As a follow-up step, the doctor measures and notes the color, odor, volume, and consistency of the fluid that comes out.
- After an amniotomy, the fetus’ heartbeat will be assessed for one full minute, which is also performed prior to the procedure. This is to check for any changes in the fetus’ condition and any warning signs that may signal fetal distress.
There are certain complications associated with an amniotomy. These include:
Cord compression: Baby’s umbilical cord becomes compressed or flattened, usually because of the movement of amniotic fluid as it is released. When this occurs, the fetus may not get enough oxygen and blood, and this, in turn, places the baby at risk of heart problems and birth injuries. If mild cord compression is suspected, the patient may simply be given additional oxygen or asked to change position to relieve the compression. However, if these do not work and the fetal heart rate changes drastically, the patient may need an emergency cesarean delivery.
- Cord prolapse: It refers to the situation when the umbilical cord drops between the part of the fetus near the birth canal (the presenting part) and the cervix into the vagina. This commonly occurs because of the sudden and rapid flow of amniotic fluid, which is why the doctor has to control the flow once the sac has been ruptured.
- Fetal blood loss: This can be a life-threatening complication, one that warrants an emergency cesarean delivery to save the fetus.
- Fetal scalp trauma: If the head of the fetus is positioned too closely to the amniotic membrane, it may be possible for some scalp accident or injury to occur, but this is often very mild.
- Infection: The pregnant patient may need to be given antibiotics because once the amniotic fluid is released, there is a high risk of intrauterine infection.
- Chorioamnionitis: This refers to the infection of the fetal membranes.
Why is amniotomy done?
Amniotomy is done to:
- Induce the contractions of the womb for facilitating vaginal delivery
- Assist in internal fetal monitoring to know the wellbeing of the fetus
- Speed up the process of labor
- Allow placement of internal monitors, such as a fetal scalp electrode or intrauterine pressure catheter
- Assess amniotic fluid
How effective is amniotomy?
Top Does an Amniotomy Hurt? Related Articles
Childbirth Delivery Methods and TypesLearn about the pros and cons of various childbirth methods, such as the Bradley method, C-section, natural childbirth, water birth, Lamaze, and vaginal delivery. Read about birthing centers, hospital and home births, midwives, and doulas.
Braxton Hicks Contractions (False Labor)Braxton Hicks contractions are also known as false labor pains. Though these irregular uterine contractions may occur in the second trimester, they're more likely to occur during the third trimester of pregnancy. Unlike true labor pains, false labor pains are often irregular, may stop when you walk, rest, or change positions, and the contractions do not get closer together or stronger.
Braxton Hicks vs. True Labor: How to Tell the DifferenceSome pregnant women may mistake Braxton Hicks contractions (false labor) for real labor contractions, especially in the first pregnancy. Real labor contractions occur at regular intervals that become progressively shorter; more painful as labor progresses; are described as a tightening, pounding, or stabbing pain. Braxton Hicks contractions do not occur in regular intervals; do not become longer over time; and may disappear for a period of time and then return. Braxton Hicks contractions occur in third trimester of pregnancy, however, sometimes can occur in the second trimester. True labor contractions begin around your due date (unless your baby is preterm, in which you will be in preterm labor). So how can you tell the difference? Here are a few similarities and differences between Braxton Hicks contractions and True or real labor contractions.
Braxton Hicks contractions
Braxton Hicks contractions tend to become more frequent toward the end of pregnancy, and are not as painful as real labor contractions; do not occur in regular intervals; do not become longer over time; and may disappear for a period of time and then return.
Frequently one of the early symptoms and signs of true labor is when the contractions begin to occur less than 10 minutes apart.
Real labor contractions occur at regular intervals that become progressively shorter; more painful as labor progresses; are described as a tightening, pounding, or stabbing pain; may feel similar to menstrual cramps; and sometimes Braxton Hicks contractions can be triggered by dehydration, sexual intercourse, increased activity of the mother or baby, touching of the pregnant woman's abdomen, or a distended bladder.
Natural and home remedies to soothe and provide comfort for Braxton Hicks contractions include relaxation exercises like deep breathing or mental relaxation; change positions or take a walk if you have been active and rest; drink a glass of herbal tea or water; eat; or soak in a warm bath for 30 minutes (or less).
Preterm labor signs and symptomsWhen you have reached 37 weeks, and the contractions are more painful and are increasing in frequency you will have abdominal pain or menstrual-like cramping, an increase in pelvic pressure or back pain, and the contractions are more than four contractions an hour.
Labor Symptoms (Early Signs)Every woman's experience with labor and delivery is unique for each woman, and thus "Normal" labor varies from woman to woman. Some of the common signs and symptoms of normal labor include the "baby dropping," increase urination, back pain, contractions, and diarrhea.
How Is A Cesarean Delivery Done?Cesarean delivery is the surgical delivery of a baby by making an incision in the mother’s abdominal wall and uterus. Although cesarean delivery is generally safe, it should be performed during certain circumstances. About 30% of all babies in the United States are born through cesarean delivery.
Labor and DeliveryEarly and later symptoms and signs of labor and delivery are unique to each woman. Early signs of labor are "lightning" and passing the mucus plug. Later symptoms and signs that labor that labor is are the woman's water breaking, and when contractions begin. There are three stages of labor, stage 1 is the longest and occurs when the cervix begins to thin and dilate. During stage 2 of labor the baby passes through the birth canal and remains there until delivery, and stage 3, is when the baby is delivered.
How Long Does It Take to Go Into Labor After Being Induced?The time it takes to go into labor after being induced can take anywhere from a few hours to 2-3 days. Learn what to expect when inducing labor. Check out the center below for more medical references on labor and childbirth, including multimedia (slideshows, images, and quizzes), related diseases, treatment, diagnosis, medications, and prevention or wellness.
Stages of Pregnancy: Week by WeekSee pictures on the various stages of pregnancy. See and learn what changes a woman's body goes through and view fetal images of how her baby grows during the 1st, 2nd and 3rd trimesters.
What Are the Side Effects of Cesarean Delivery?Cesarean delivery is a surgery to deliver a baby through a surgical cut (incision) on the abdomen and uterus. It is generally a safe procedure for the mother and baby. There may, however, be a few risks to the health of the mother and baby. These risks are described below.
What Are the Side Effects of Vacuum Delivery?Vacuum delivery is a type of assisted birth delivery also called ventouse-assisted delivery. Vacuum-assisted birth is a method to assist the delivery of a baby using a vacuum device. The side effects include potential risks to the mother and risks to the baby.
What Is the Process of Normal Delivery?Normal delivery refers to childbirth through the vagina without any medical intervention. It is also known as a vaginal birth. Every delivery is unique and may differ from mothers to mothers. There are different stages of normal delivery or vaginal birth.
When Can You Have a VBAC After Cesarean Delivery?VBAC stands for vaginal birth after cesarean. If a woman has delivered a baby by Cesarean delivery and she is pregnant again, she may be able to choose between delivering through a repeat Cesarean delivery or a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC).