Artificial rupture of membranes involves risks and possible complications. Complications may become serious in some cases. Complications can develop during the procedure or in the days after it. 

Complications of having your membranes ruptured are not common but include:

  • Infection in the mother or the baby
  • Injury to the baby
  • Umbilical cord prolapse, which occurs when the umbilical cord comes out of the uterus before the baby. This can compress the umbilical cord between the baby and the mother and cut off blood supply to the baby. Umbilical cord prolapse may require an emergency cesarean section (C-section).
  • Vaginal bleeding 

Reducing your risk of complications

You can reduce the risk of certain complications by following your prenatal plan and:

  • Getting all recommended prenatal care
  • Following activity, dietary and lifestyle restrictions and recommendations during pregnancy and labor and delivery
  • Telling your care team about the type and extent of contractions you are already feeling
  • Notifying your doctor immediately of any concerns such as increase in pain or bleeding 
  • Taking medications exactly as directed 

How do I prepare for artificial rupture of my membranes (amniotomy)?

You are an important member of your own healthcare team. The steps you take before your procedure can improve your comfort and outcome. You can prepare for artificial rupture of membranes by:

  • Answering all questions about your medical history and medications. This includes prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs, herbal treatments, and vitamins. It is a good idea to carry a current list of your medical conditions, medications, and allergies at all times.
  • Taking or stopping medications exactly as directed
  • Telling your doctor if you have cramps, contractions, vaginal discharge or bleeding, or if there is any decrease in the baby’s movement

Questions to ask your doctor

Having a scheduled labor induction using artificial rupture of membranes can be stressful. It is common for parents to forget some of their questions during a prenatal office visit. You may also think of other questions after your appointment. Contact your doctor with concerns and questions before the procedure and between appointments.

It is also a good idea to bring a list of questions to your prenatal appointments. Questions can include:

  • Why do I need to have artificial rupture of membranes? What are my other options to artificially induce labor or help labor to progress more quickly?
  • How long will the procedure take? 
  • What medications will I need before and after the procedure? 
  • What happens once my membranes rupture?
  • What are the risks for my baby and me if I chose not to have artificial rupture of membranes or labor induction?

What can I expect after artificial rupture of membranes (amniotomy)?

Knowing what to expect can help you proceed with your baby’s birth with more confidence.

How will I feel after the membranes are ruptured?

You will feel warm water flow out of your vagina immediately after your membranes are ruptured. It may be a trickle of water or a quick rush. You may also experience menstrual-like cramps or discomfort in your lower back or pelvis if rupturing your membranes moves your labor forward quickly. 

Tell your doctor or care team if you feel sharp pain or something that does not feel right because it may be a sign of a complication.

When will I know that the artificial rupture of membranes was successful?

You should start to feel contractions or a strengthening of contractions after artificial rupture of membranes. This can happen right away or within a few hours of the procedure. This signals that your labor is progressing and that you are moving towards a vaginal birth.