I guess you are wondering what that is to begin with. Amniotomy is the breaking of the bag of water artificially by the health care provider. I have noticed that more and more women are saying that their doctor broke their bag of water to get their labor started. I was really confused by this because I have always thought that the bag of water or amniotic sac is there for protection for the baby and you, even if it is during labor. So, you know me, I had to look up the pros and cons of this procedure. Here is what I found:

    Pros

  • It will let you know if the baby has passed merconium (the first bowl movement) in the uterus. Merconium could lead to lung infections if not handled properly.
  • Could possibly speed labor up. If you have a labor that has stalled, braking the bag of water could help make the baby’s head drop some and put more pressure on the cervix.

    Cons

  • Can often be the start of many unwanted interventions. Breaking the water often goes along with Pitocin or other contraction strengthening drugs (including Cervidil and/or Cytotech), and then will require continuous fetal monitoring.
  • Research has shown that women who have their water broken are more likely to end up with a c-section.
  • Once the water has broken, there is no longer that cushion for the baby’s head. Which can lead to deformities of the skull.
  • The umbilical cord is more likely to become compressed (or squeezed) during contractions cutting off some or most of the oxygen to the baby.
  • Sometimes makes women feel like they are in less control of their bodies.
  • The women and the baby no longer have that natural barrier from infection.
  • Puts the women under a time limit to deliver the baby.

As you can see there are serious risks involved in breaking the bag of water. In fact, most health care providers agree that unless the baby is showing signs of distress, then there is no reason to break the bag of water.

If your labor becomes stalled, it is best (from what I have read) to do other labor stimulating techniques before you have medications administered or have your water broken.

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