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Obstet Gynecol. 1996 May;87(5 Pt 1):767-70.

A randomized controlled trial of membrane stripping at term to promote labor.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Faculty of Medicine, Chiang Mai University, Thailand.



To determine the effectiveness of membrane stripping at term to promote the onset of labor.


One hundred twenty gravidas at 38 weeks' gestation, who were attending an antenatal clinic and planned to deliver at Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai University Hospital in northern Thailand, were assigned randomly to one of two groups. One group had weekly pelvic examinations only, and the other also had membrane stripping, beginning at 38 weeks' gestation and continuing until the onset of labor or until 42 completed weeks' gestation. Outcome measures included the proportion of patients who delivered with 7 days after the first examination, Bishop scores among those who did not deliver, days from the first examination to delivery, incidence of postterm pregnancy, and maternal and fetal complication.


Twenty-five of 61 patients (41%) assigned to membrane stripping delivered within 1 week, compared with 12 of 59 controls (20.3%), a statistically significant difference (P = .014). There was also a statistically significant difference (P = .013, Mann-Whitney U test) in the Bishop scores among those who did not deliver within 1 week (4 +/- 2.5 versus 2.6 +/- 1.7 in the study and control groups, respectively). A significant difference was also observed with respect to the mean number of days to delivery (8.8 +/- 6.7 versus 13.6 +/- 7.5, respectively; P < .001). The incidence of postterm pregnancy was one of 61 (1.6%) and three of 59 (5.1%) in the stripping and control groups, respectively. No significant differences were observed in maternal and fetal complications.


Membrane stripping is safe and effective in promoting the onset of labor at term.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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