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So is it possible to check your own cervix during labor?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Just curious.  I was thinking it might make the "labor at home as long as possible" more possible if I know, for example, that I'm only 3 cm.


I've checked my cervix on and off for a year while charting, so I know what it is all about--just wondering if it is really feasible to check during labor.  Anyone done it? 


Pros, what do you think?

post #2 of 11

I'm 37 weeks pregnant, and I can hardly reach down there.. let alone check inside. It would be physically impossible! I'm tall too and carry well (ie unlike my sister who stopped being able to shave her legs and touch her toes).

post #3 of 11

Yeah, I think the biggest, erm, obstacle would be, well, the obstacle--I'd think it would be virtually impossible to reach your cervix at 9mo pregnant! Personally, I'm not a believer in cervical checks in labor: they don't tell you much (when you feel like pushing, you're probably there), risk introducing all sorts of things, and put you on a clock-like schedule to progress in a timely fashion. It sounds like you're birthing at a hospital? If you've already had a baby, as I see from your signature, you likely know what transition feels like--I'd head to the hospital when you're saying "I can't do this any more," the contractions are fast, strong and long, and you aren't feeling on top of things any more. But then I'm a homebirther, so I'd rather arrive at the hospital as late as possible.

post #4 of 11

I've checked my cervix in labor. I can't check it in the last few months before labor because of the belly and it being too high and posterior, but once I'm in labor and it moves forward a bit I can check it. I can't tell dilation, but I can tell if it's opened or gotten softer. That's how I knew my last labor was progressing much faster than I expected and one of the things that made me leave for the hospital when I did, which is good cuz I was pushing by the time I got there lol.

post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 

My labor with DD was so strange that I don't trust myself to "know"--I never had anything but constant back pain and vomiting, no "tightening" or "cramps" or "waves"--just constant, awful back pain.  I labored at home for almost 12 hours before I couldn't stand the vomiting any more and went, and was only 3 cm!  Took another 16 hours to get to 10....Just thinking this time I would stay home longer and deal with the vomiting if I knew I was only 3 cm.  I really should be having a homebirth, but DH isn't on board....but that's another thread! 


Thanks for the thoughts ladies.

post #6 of 11

I gave myself the worst contraction of my entire labor and triggered a vomiting spell by trying to check my own cervix last time.  I'm not planning to try this time around.


For a second birth I'd err on the side of caution and leave for the hospital whenever you are sure it's labor.  Riding in the car during transition or pushing = Not Fun.

post #7 of 11

I checked my own, got approximate dilation as well as observing when the bag of waters was bulging at the end, and found when I was swelling upon early involuntary pushing and needed to hold back a while. Less intrusive than having someone else do it, and possible alone before being with a care provider.


If I left for the hospital when I knew I was in labor with baby #2 I'd have been there 26 of the 28 hours from first patterned contractions to birth. I finally moved past around 4cm about 22 hours into it with suddenly transition-like contractions. Would have sucked to get diagnosed ftp because of my normal labor pattern.


Cervical change is only one part of it of course, its a combo of contraction pattern, emotional/mental state, cervical change, and other less observable factors all move forward either in fits and spurts or in steady progress.

post #8 of 11
I checked mine in both labours. I had to do a deep squat in early labour, but no problem later on when I was 8-fully.
post #9 of 11

Yes but I don't recommend it.  It was a major mental block for me.  I was checking it every hour in the begniing of labor, last check I was 3-4cm, but than I got frustrated that I couldn't reach it, then my doula came and said quit it!  And I'm glad I did.  It didn't matter how far along I was.  I needed to let time go and just labor and birth my baby.  And it was perfect, I could totally tell when I entered transition, it just felt so different, so that's when I went to the hospital and starting pushing 15 min's later.  I also refused when they asked to check me when I got there.  It really just doesn't matter, things can change so quickly, it really doesn't tell you much of anything. 

post #10 of 11

Hey, I'm a CNM and I had my first baby last month.  I struggled a lot with this question for myself!  I ended up firmly resolving not to check my cervix before or during labor and this is why: 1.  I felt it was important to allow myself to get out of that analytical, quantitative mindset when laboring.  I wanted to be able to relax.  I knew that there are usually plenty of outward signs that labor is progressing that are easy for observers to note, but not for the woman actually laboring!  So, I hired a doula and one of her main jobs was to help me and my husband decide when I was in very active labor, and ready to go to the hospital.  I wanted to do all of my early laboring at home but not have to go through transition in the car, and that's exactly what ended up happening.  I was only in the hospital for the last 3.5 hours of my ~12hr labor. 2. If my midwife/ a doctor/a nurse asked to check me at the times I wondered what my cervix was up to, for instance when I started to see bloody show, I would have said NO! because every internal exam is an opportunity for infection, and so they should only be done for a damn good reason.  I figured if I wouldn't let someone else check my cervix, why should I do it?  


In the end I had three vaginal exams in my entire pregnancy and birth, which I am pretty happy about!

post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 

That's a really good way of looking at it.  I do plan to have a doula, so maybe my big concern (not wanting to leave too early) will be resolved by her presence.   My labor was not at all what I was expecting at the time, so it was hard for me to go by some of the silly "signs" that I had learned. 

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