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Memi April 4th, 2013 07:45 PM

Pelvic Exams
I will be 35 weeks tomorrow and asked about when pelvic exams will begin for future appointments while visiting with my midwife today. I was informed that they do not do routine pelvic exams unless requested which I didn't know before hand. I was going to the typical Doctor practice when pregnant the first time around so I am use to being checked every week at the end.

Now I feel very torn as to if or when to request to be checked. I know I'm going to get more and more anxious towards the end of my pregnancy. I'm a very have-to-have-control and have-to-plan kind of person. I want to know...I think :confused: What would you do in this situation. Opt to be checked or opt to just let things happen and not know? If you would be checked how far would you go before asking?

I'm thinking maybe a happy middle ground is to hold off until my 39 week appointment, which will hopefully be my last, and ask to be checked then to see if any progress has been made to that point. But I'm still just not sure. I'd love some insight and thoughts.

4 boys April 4th, 2013 08:31 PM

Re: Pelvic Exams
I know what you mean. I kind of liked the option of not having to be checked all the time with a midwife, but I still kind of liked to know what was going on at the same time. I think waiting until your 39 week appointment is a good compromise.

Even though they say cervical dilation at the end doesn't mean much as far as how soon labor will begin, I still like to know that at least something is happening. With one of my boys I didn't dilate at ALL, even two weeks overdue, and had to be induced. At least if you find out you are 1 or 2 cm, you know it's headed in the right direction!

Earthy.Mama April 4th, 2013 08:52 PM

Re: Pelvic Exams
I wouldn't do it. I would hate to get excited over seeing if I'm dilated only to hear that nothing has happened at all. It'd be a huge let down and anxiety would start to creep up "is my body not doing what it's supposed to be doing?!?!" --- which I know is complete crap b/c the cervical checks mean diddly squat. Such a mind game :lol:

daneeleigh April 4th, 2013 09:34 PM

Re: Pelvic Exams
My midwives only do them after 41 weeks or in active labor. I had false labor on a Friday and found out I was 1cm but ended up delivering 3 days later. I wouldn't put too much stock into dilation beforehand just because it can really turn on a dime. But I know what you mean about wanting to know where you stand. I did get jealous of other girls who knew in my DDC where they stood at 36 weeks but it ended up not making a difference.

Heidijens1 April 4th, 2013 10:55 PM

Re: Pelvic Exams
My Dr only does the one at 37 weeks when they do the strep( or whatever it is) test. With my 3rd I was at a 4 then and I was still late and was induced. So for me I say they really don't tell you much of anything.

CrunchyMommaTo2 April 5th, 2013 06:36 AM

My midwife only does them in active labor and still only if I ask. I don't have to have a single check the entire pregnancy or labor.
I did have her check earlier on when I was having painful contractions around 22 weeks, but that's the only time it was done. I don't plan on having her check while in labor unless something "feels off" or it's really drawn out.
It doesn't really tell you much since women walk around dilated for weeks and months without labor beginning.

ashj_1218 April 5th, 2013 01:20 PM

Re: Pelvic Exams
I think they can be just as hurtful as helpful, as someone mentioned. If you could handle hearing "no dilation at all" and not feel defeated...I think the compromise of 39 weeks is fine.

But if your planner personality would get discouraged at that, it might be best to just decline them and wait for baby to come on his own.

The ONE I had in Liam's pregnancy was in the hospital and I was told I was not dilated at all even though I was contracting (they were barely picking up on the monitor, but also were barely reading at 9cm, so it meant nothing). I had him about 40 hours after that check. I did not have any with Kieran and was fine with that. I hear both sides of the coin...labor starting out of nowhere with women who are "closed up tight" and women getting induced at 42 weeks even though they have been 3cm dilated for five weeks. I think it would just frustrate me to know, especially if I wasn't "doing what I wanted to be doing."

It's a tough call though. I do understand the desire to know. Even if it doesn't necessarily weigh on the outcome.

alittlelost April 5th, 2013 01:30 PM

Re: Pelvic Exams
did you hear about the purple line check?

The Bottom Line: An Alternative Method for Checking Cervical Dilation : Labor and Childbirth : Pregnancy

More info on checking without checking:

You can also learn to do self checks. A lot of people get up in arms about them, but many women check their cervix while TTC and doing so safely is very easy, so long as you educate yourself on how to do it. I also find self-checks MUCH more gentle than being checked by a doctor/midwife.

GranolaMamaOf3 April 5th, 2013 04:27 PM

Re: Pelvic Exams

Originally Posted by ashj_1218 (Post 27261365)
I think they can be just as hurtful as helpful, as someone mentioned. If you could handle hearing "no dilation at all" and not feel defeated...I think the compromise of 39 weeks is fine.

But if your planner personality would get discouraged at that, it might be best to just decline them and wait for baby to come on his own.

Ditto. This is such a personal choice, and I think every mom's emotional needs are different.

You know I'm a planner too ;) With my second I started dilating at 36 weeks. I asked to be checked every week from 36 weeks until he was born. Each week I was further dilated and more effaced. By the time I went into active labor at 41+ weeks (yes, 5 weeks later!) I was already 6 cm dilated and 90% effaced! To be honest, it made me feel a bit like a ticking time bomb... I don't plan to have any checks this time until at least 40 weeks... but who knows how I'll feel at that point ;) I'm really hoping for less stress this time around, and I think, for me personally, It will be easier not knowing and just trusting.

If at 39 weeks you want to be checked, go for it! Just be prepared emotionally that you may not find anything, and that's *normal*. :) I'm so excited for you!

Calendula April 6th, 2013 07:41 PM

Re: Pelvic Exams
For me, it isn't worth the cramping I get after being checked. It always makes me uncomfortable afterwards. I would skip, unless something was making me think I might be on the edge or possibly in early labor.

It can also be discouraging. I know I dilated really slowly until transition, and hearing the same number as the last check after an additional four hours of labor was the one moment I truly felt discouraged. Shortly after I hit transition and moved several centimeters and was ready to push.

If you'd prefer to know, by all means ask, but take it with a grain of salt.

Kelllilee April 6th, 2013 07:50 PM

Re: Pelvic Exams
They aren't worth it to me so I'm glad it's never been routine in my pregnancies.

MissusF April 6th, 2013 11:39 PM

Re: Pelvic Exams
My midwife doesn't do them routinely. I didn't have one until 41+4 and I was devastated to find out I was not dilated at all. For me, it would have been pointless and upsetting to have them done earlier. I agree that if finding out there is no progress would stress you out it's best to skip them.

Memi April 7th, 2013 12:14 PM

Re: Pelvic Exams
Hmm...this has made me think. Thank you all for your input and responses. Now I think I'll try to hold off as long as possible. Labor is a surprise anyways as far as when baby decides to come and how things unfold...maybe I'll just try to keep all details of that surprise as long as possible.

I think I've decided to try my very very very best to wait until my 40 week appointment. If I make it to that point I know I will "have" to know by then just to see what's going on, if anything.

therevslady April 8th, 2013 09:24 PM

Re: Pelvic Exams
Waiting till 40 weeks is probably a wise choice. I always tell my clients "Your cervix is not a crystal ball." There really is no evidence out there to support the correlation of cervical dilation in pregnancy and time of labor. But there is evidence to support the risks: premature rupture of membranes, care provider strips membranes without informed consent, introduction of foreign bacteria to birth canal, and more.

daneeleigh April 10th, 2013 02:06 PM

Re: Pelvic Exams
The only reason I was born on my due date is because my mother had a cervical check and her doctor accidentally broke her water during it. She ended up induced that day. Not that she was planning a natural birth lol! But it does have those risks.

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