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Cervical Check and Differing Opinions

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

I have been reading Ina May's Guide to Childbirth and I have noticed that they seem to do a lot of cervical checking during labor at those births.


During my pregnancies, I've never declined a check. With DS, I think I was 1cm on Tue and arrived at hospital on Friday morning 8cm and completely effaced. (Reached 10cm within an hour or so after arrival.) With DD, checks didn't really mean anything since I was not exploring a vaginal breech birth. (DD was sititng in sort of an "L" position with her legs across my abdomen. Nothing was actually presenting so the dilation was a surprise to me.) Knowing I was 3cm just made me nervous about a prolapsed cord.


Since I'm planning to VBAC for this birth, I'm totally trying to prepare for any less than ideal labor situations. I guess I could be thinking more positively, I'm trying not to expect to dilate so "effortlessly" this time. I'd rather be surprised.


I feel like a lot of people on MDC mention that they avoid cervical checks and knowing how open they are so I thought it was strange that it seems like a lot of checking happens on The Farm. What are everyone's experiences and thoughts on the checks?

post #2 of 7

I was never checked at any of my appointments (even the one on my due date).  They did, however, check me when I arrived in active labor at the hospital where they found I was 8 cm.  They didn't check me again after that and I just told them when I was ready to push.  I was more than comfortable with the one check, but I'd probably request that they not do any other checks unless it seemed necessary- mostly to avoid having to be interrupted during labor and having to change positions. 

post #3 of 7

With DS1 I was checked often because he was premature and they were trying to stall labor so when I went in was checked at 3 cm then several hours later I was 5 cm but contrax were not stopping and they decided to birth him. Broke my water and checked about 1 hour later and I was read to push.


With DS2 I was a little blindsided because of his heart condition they were pushing me to have an induction. The OB checked me at my 38 week appt and claimed I was already 3 cm and pushed for the induction that next day (for me to go into the hospital at midnight). Not wanting to put DS2 in any more danger than he already was with the heart defect I caved. I was more than a little pissed off when I nurse checked me at the hospital and said that I wasn't dilated at all, though. Nonetheless, I was induced and progressed quickly and luckily had a natural birth instead of a c/s. I count my lucky stars over that one!


With THIS BB I asked OB to check me a few weeks ago because I was getting nervous about lots of BH contrax I was getting and more discharge in my undies than I was used to. She, however, told me that I was fine and hasn't checked at last to appts.


I think once I do go into labor (hopefully not preterm, I am hoping for a completely normal birth this time lol) I would like as few checks as possible, though. I know they wear gloves to check but it still makes me uneasy having hands down there a lot.

post #4 of 7

With my first two I had tons of checks, but it was a hospital birth and before I learned how very little any of those numbers mean.


With Mae, I had 3 the entire pregnancy. 27 weeks because of bleeding, to make sure I wasn't dilating (and this one was done by ultrasound, no less!), one at 41w and some days to see if I was "ripe" enough to try a sweep (I wasn't.) and one during labor because my labor seemed to be "stalled", I had a lip left, midwife said it would fix itself over time or I could change position to fix it quicker... changed position and she was born like 20ish minutes later.

post #5 of 7

It's very helpful to hear all of these perspectives. I have had NO cervical checks for the entire pregnancy and I doubt I will have any unless there is a problem of some kind. I was worried about this (my friend had one at about 38w to see where she was, and I thought this was more "normal") until I discovered that the doc told her she wouldn't go to her due date, and now she's almost to 41w. So now I think I would just as soon not have one if it's not going to tell me anything, or make me think I'm going to go into labor soon when I'm really not. On the other hand I worry that something will be "wrong" and it won't be discovered... but I have to think I would be experiencing bleeding or leaking fluid or something if that were the case. My SIL's water broke gradually over a period of several days, and the only reason she even noticed was because she was having weekly checks due to a medical issue the baby had. I think she thought it was just excess discharge or something like that, and it never occurred to her that it might be amniotic fluid. So I do worry about something like that a little, though I doubt it's common.

post #6 of 7

With my first I had no cervical checks in pregnancy or labor, home birth midwife.

With my second no checks in pregnancy, but a few checks in labor. DS's heart rate was low and I think they wanted to determine if birth were imminent or if we should transfer. I was not complete and was un-dialating during a contraction, so we transfered. We were on the way to the hospital when DS was born in the car. Same midwife.

With this one no checks in pregnancy and hopefully no checks in labor.


I don't think checks in pregnancy are necessary and if offered I would refuse.

The info doesn't tell you anything and I rather not have people poking around in my vagina.


I would only want checks in labor if I thought it would help me cope or if the info were needed.

post #7 of 7

I had one cervical check with each of my babies at my 40w check up.  I was 1cm each time, somewhat effaced, like 50-70%. I do like this check because it reassures me that my body is starting to get ready for baby! Then with each labor, my water broke as a first sign, so I didn't get a check with my first until I was feeling pushy - and I was 8cm - 9cm with contractions -- and this was in a hospital!  With my second my midwife checked me after a few hours of more active labor and I was 5cm.  I'm not super opposed to being checked, but I don't think it means much and I don't want to introduce infections.  When I found out I was "only" at 5cm, I thought for sure I'd have forever before baby was here, but it was less than 2 hours.

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