An artificial rupture of membranes (AROM) is a procedure that can be used for the induction of labour.
A sterile, plastic, thin hook is brushed against the membranes just inside the cervix (termed a membrane sweep) This causes the fetal head to move down against the cervix, usually resulting in the contractions becoming stronger and eventually causing the membranes to rupture.
- labour may be shortened by an hour
- facilitates collection of the amniotic fluid, which can be examined, e.g. for the presence of meconium, indicating fetal distress.
- the fetal heart rate can be monitored with cardiotocography directly on the baby's scalp
- the baby may turn to a breech position, making birth more difficult if the membranes are ruptured before head engagement
- increased risk of umbilical cord prolapse
- increased risk of infection if there is a prolonged time between rupture and birth.