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Induction Methods – Stretch and Sweep

Your medical caregivers will tell you that a stretch and sweep is not considered an “intervention” because it doesn’t involve drugs, so it is natural.

This is not true and anyone putting their fingers up inside your vagina and pulling, poking, stretching and sweeping around the inside of the cervix is not natural and more honesty should be given around the information provided to women about a stretch and sweep.

Anything that is trying to start labour (other than your own body) is an “intervention” and has risks.

The stretch and sweep success rates are not very high.

A stretch and sweep is performed from 38 weeks (sometimes even as early as 37 weeks) and studies show that only 24% of women will go into labour within 48 hours of having a stretch and sweep.

Your midwife or Obstetrician will insert their gloved index finger into your vagina and in through the cervix.

The cervix has to be “favourable,” which means it is soft and stretchy and slightly open to get the finger inside and if this is the case, this means that your body is already starting to do something.

Once inside, the finger is moved around in a circular motion (sweep) inside the cervix to separate the membranes (amniotic sac) from the cervix.

This is a way of triggering the release of prostaglandins, which may initiate labour – but more often than not it doesn’t.

The stretch is the massage and stretching open or movement of the cervix with the finger to again trigger the release of prostaglandins. 

stretch & sweep, induction, labour, Vicki Hobbs, pregnancy, Hypnobirthing in Perth


Stretch & Sweep Benefits

Stretch & Sweep Risks


Here are the RANZCOG Guidelines for Induction of Labour in Australia and New Zealand.



Prostaglandin Gel – CLICK HERE

Balloon Catheter (Foley’s or Cook’s) – CLICK HERE

Artificial Rupture of Membranes (AROM) – CLICK HERE

Synthetic Oxytocin (Syntocinon) – CLICK HERE

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Vicki Hobbs

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    About Vicki Hobbs

    My name is Vicki Hobbs and I am a Childbirth Educator (Back to Basics Birthing), Hypnobirthing Practitioner, Certified VBAC Educator, Remedial Massage Therapist specialising in Pregnancy & Postpartum Massage, Birth & Postpartum Doula, Certified Placenta Encapsulator, Hypnotherapist, Aromatherapist, Reiki Practitioner and Life Coach.

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