Background Stripping of the membranes is a relatively quick and noninvasive procedure performed by many obstetricians and midwives on at-term pregnancies and is thought to promote onset of labor and the avoidance of post-term pregnancy with its corresponding complications and risks. Its efficacy is intensely debated with conflicting results in the current literature.
Study Design and Methods Our randomized controlled trial study investigates whether the practice of stripping of the membranes at term is an effective and safe procedure associated with a reduction of time until labor onset and a reduction in the occurrence of post-term pregnancies in at-term, nulliparous Latina women in a community health care setting. From 38 weeks until delivery, the control group receives weekly pelvic exams with no stripping of the membranes while the study group receives weekly pelvic exams and stripping of the membranes when possible. The primary outcome measured is the proportion of patients who will deliver within 3 weeks of the first examination, and secondary measurements include bishop scores among patients who do not deliver by 41 weeks, number of days from the first examination to delivery, incidence of post-term pregnancy, maternal and fetal complications, and patient discomfort.
Study Timeline and Progress This is an ongoing study at Sea Mar Community Health Center in South Seattle. We project that the data for approximately 15 to 20 patients will be available for a preliminary analysis by January 2006. The study will continue at Sea Mar past January 2006 to capture a larger study group.
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