Sammi, a member of the MadeForMums Top Testers Club community, was 2 days past her due date when she was given a membrane sweep by her midwife. She gave birth to baby Eloise Kathryn unexpectedly at home at 11.45pm that same day.


A membrane sweep is a way of helping to bring labour on if you go past your due date. It's a quick procedure in which a midwife or doctor 'sweeps' their gloved finger around the neck of your womb (cervix) to try to separate the membranes of your baby's amniotic sac from the cervix. This can cause your body to release hormones that can trigger labour.

This is Sammi's unplanned home birth story:

"I was 40 weeks and 2 days and, as I had passed my due date, it was standard practice to offer me a sweep, so I went into hospital to have one.

"I'd had couple of sweeps when I was pregnant first time round but they'd had no effect. My first child was born 11 days overdue! I was really hoping the sweep would get things moving this time.

"The procedure was not at all painful; just slightly uncomfortable. Prior to the sweep, the midwife had checked me and told me I was 1cm dilated and, afterward, she was pretty confident this was a good sweep.

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"I had some cramping following the sweep which I hoped was a sign of things progressing but nothing that I felt were labour signs. I eventually went back home.

"My mother-in-law arrived at our house that afternoon as she was staying for the week so she could look after my other daughter if we needed to go to the hospital. At this point, I had already started my maternity leave and was going about my day as usual.

"My husband, mother-in-law, my 2-year-old and I went for a walk around town. I felt a little uncomfortable walking as the baby was so low in my pelvis but again there were no signs of labour starting.

"By the evening, I was feeling some tightenings in my womb which seemed like Braxton Hicks (practice contractions) as there was no pain with them – just a feeling of tightening.

"I started tracking them on a contraction-counter app. Soon, it was telling me it was time to go to the hospital but, as I was still experiencing nothing more than painless tightening, I dismissed it. At 10.30pm, we decided to go to bed.

I was just getting into bed when I felt an internal pop which I thought may be my waters and, yep, when I stood up this was confirmed!

"At this point, the tightenings started to get much more painful and were coming only about a minute apart. We called the hospital and they asked if I wanted to make my way. The hospital was a half-hour drive away.

"While I was getting ready to go, I started to feel sick, so I went to the bathroom. We then got into the car (very difficult as sitting was practically impossible) and set off down the road.

"About 30 seconds from the house, I had the urge to push and could not hold off. We made a very easy joint decision to head back home as I did not want to have a baby in the car!

I could feel baby's head was right there. Instinct took over and I didn't have much time to think or feel anything other than to just get inside the house

"My husband was in panic mode but remained as calm as he could. My mother-in-law phoned for an ambulance. I realised I was screaming – from the pain and also a bit from fear of the unknown, wondering how this was all going to work out.

"It was about 11.30pm by this point. The ambulance worker on the phone wanted to speak to me but I couldn’t because there was no time between contractions now. She also kept instructing me to not push but it as impossible not to!

"The minutes that followed were all a bit of a blur but, by 11.40pm, I had given birth to my daughter on our kitchen floor with my husband and mother-in-law delivering!

"The cord was around her neck when she came and she was rather blue but she started to cry once my husband and mother-in-law unravelled the cord.

"The ambulance crew arrived at 11.45pm. They came in and helped me to sit down. They checked her over briefly, got my husband to cut the cord, wrapped her in a blanket and put a hat on her. They asked if I wanted to hold her. My husband held her in the end as I was in shock, very shaky and just feeling rather exposed!

"Shortly after, I was taken off to the hospital in the ambulance so we could both be weighed and checked over. She was 8lb 40z. All in all, within less than an hour of knowing I was in labour my daughter was in my arms!"

Pic credit: Sammi Brennan. As told to Janet Mtima


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