Birth Definitions

Amniotomy Definition

Amniotomy is the medical procedure of artificially breaking the amniotic sac so as to cause the release of amniotic fluid. Amniotomy is also known by its lay description “breaking the water.” This is most commonly done with an Amnihook, which is a hooked tool that is inserted through the cervix and then used to puncture the membranes of the amniotic sac.

Amniotomy may also be referred to as an artificial rupture of membranes (AROM). It is a common procedure in the birthing process, although it is not without risks.

There are a few different reasons why an Amniotomy may be performed:

  1. to induce or to speed up labor,
  2. to help the baby’s head or body come out of the birth canal,
  3. and to check the baby’s heart rate.

Risks Associated with Amniotomy

Amniotomy is a relatively safe procedure, but there are some problems associated with it. These include infection, rupture of the uterus, fetal heart rate drop, intoxication, meconium aspiration, and umbilical cord prolapse. These risks should be weighed against the benefits of the procedure before it is undertaken.

This image shows how often the term ‘Amniotomy’ is used in relation to other, similar birth terms:

Other Related Terms

Here are some terms related to amniotomy:

Amniotic sac – the sac that surrounds the baby in the womb

Amnion – the innermost membrane of the amniotic sac

Chorion – the outer membrane of the amniotic sac

Fetal heart rate – the heart rate of a fetus

Cervix – the opening of the uterus at the top of the vagina

Meconium – a baby’s first stool, which is typically green or black in color

Amniotic Fluid – the fluid that surrounds the baby in the womb

Amnioinfusion – the injection of fluid into the amniotic sac to help resuscitate a baby

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