Laminaria is commonly used to help dilate the cervix. Laminaria, although typically used in conjunction with other labor inducing methods, can be done by itself as well. Although laminaria seems fairly natural, it carries both benefits and risks.
What is laminaria?
Laminaria, commonly referred to as “laminaria tents” when used for obstetric purposes, are made from dried seaweed stems. Laminaria tents have been used to aid inductions of labor for over one-hundred years.
How is laminaria used?
When dry, the laminaria tents are very thin and can be inserted into the woman’s cervix. The laminaria tent is left in the cervix, being allowed to swell three to four times it’s dried size as it absorbs fluids from the woman’s body. This causes the cervix to dilate slightly. The laminaria is generally left in place for 6-12 hours.
What are some reasons laminaria may be needed?
Laminaria tents may be recommended if the woman is not dilating on her own. The woman may prefer to try laminaria due to its less invasive nature, than to jump immediately to synthetic prostaglandins or contraction-inducing medications, such as pitocin.
What are the advantages of laminaria?
Laminaria is less invasive than other medications and procedures. Unlike medications that help ripen the cervix, such as cervidil or cytotec, laminaria does not require the mother to remain on fetal monitors and does not increase her risk of uterine rupture.
Laminaria is more natural than most other cervical ripening agents. This can be very important to women hoping to avoid medications during labor and delivery.
What are the disadvantages of laminaria?
The use of laminaria in labor induction has declined due to the increased occurrence of infections in women who used laminaria. These infections are thought to have been caused by ineffective sterilization techniques used on the plants prior to drying. However, with the discovery of new sterilization techniques, laminaria is becoming more popular.
“Laminaria for Labor Induction? – IVillage.” IVillage.com: Health, Beauty, Pregnancy, Entertainment, Women’s Community and More. Web. 14 Oct. 2010.
“Laminaria – Uses and Side Effects of Laminaria.” Health Clinic and Health Information – Get Online Health Care Tips by Medical Doctor. Web. 14 Oct. 2010.
“Complete Laminaria Information from Drugs.com.” Drugs.com | Prescription Drugs – Information, Interactions & Side Effects. Web. 14 Oct. 2010.