For years I have seen women’s membranes artificially ruptured. Most of the time, I suggest before labor that moms try to avoid it. Rupturing the membranes doesn’t hurt, directly. But it does take away the cushion of water that usually helps make the birth more comfortable. The question is: why do care-providers suggest artificial rupture of membranes (AROM)?
Some care providers suggest that it will make the labor go faster. Studies show only a 30-60 minute decrease in labor length. Sometimes, when a labor medically needs to be managed (because the mother is ill or during an induction which could overwhelm the mother’s resources if it goes too long) AROM is the next logical step to getting a mom into active labor. The idea is, if rupturing the membranes is the only intervention needed to put the mom into fully active labor, it isn’t a big intervention. Keep in mind that once the membranes are ruptured, the clock is ticking on the birth. The longer the membranes are ruptured, the greater the chance of the baby being born with an infection.
I still find mothers tend to enjoy their labors more if their membranes stay intact or rupture on their own. Navelgazing midwife talks about the joys of the baby being born in the caul (with membranes intact at birth). I haven’t yet seen a baby born in the caul, but I would love to!