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Checking own cervix for dilation?

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
Hello wise women...this may seem like an odd question, but is it possible to check your own cervix for dilation as you near your due date? And how would one go about doing this? I haven't had any internal exams from my midwives, and I won't be having any until labour most likely, but I'm just curious if I can do it myself...

I realize that I might not get any info, or even if I do feel slight dilation, it's not definitive and won't really tell me much (i.e. I could be 3cm for a week, or 0cm and go into labour that same day), but I'm really just curious...would I even be able to reach it in the first place? I've never done it before, and it must be even more complicated with a huge belly...
post #2 of 24
I couldn't check myself but I have heard some people can. I could feel the baby's head which was cool. I asked my midwives to check me a couple times before labor began. I didn't really have any internals in labor though.
post #3 of 24
My cervix is posterior- so even now I can just barely feel the edge of it.
The easiest way is normally w/ one foot up on the toilet, or you can try squatting.
Your dh might be able to do it for you...
post #4 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thanks ladies, I'm also wondering how I would even be able to tell how many cm I'm dilated, if any...and what other information can be gathered from a cervix check or internal exam?
post #5 of 24
I could check myself- in all my pregnancies- squatting on the floor or the tub
or sitting on the toilet works best
my arm went along side my belly and when reaching in to start with my elbow was maybe near my knee
use 2 fingers index and fore your thumb is over your other fingers sort of like a
closed peace sign - if the cervix is facing foreward then you may be able to feel dilation ,that would be can a fingertip fit tight or loose? in or 2 fingers together? if you need to spread your fingers apart to feel the openess then you would have to try and reconstruct how wide apart they were inside- and set them along a cm measuring tape outside.
effacement is if the cervix tissue is thin and the length of it tells you some things about it so if you feel a nose like protrusion in front of a head and some tissue thickness around the head then you are less effaced
fully effaced feels like there is very little tissue between the head and your fingers and you can sometimes even feel hair- the cervix not be protruding much in this case--
post #6 of 24
I've been thinking this same question...and i am due on the same date as you! (which...of course...means nothing...hahaha)

Anyways--I did try to check, and my cervix must be SUPER high up there--can't feel a thing! So...does your cervix lower as you get closer? Or does the baby's head push down more, causing your cervix to be lower so you (or m/w) can eventually feel it?
post #7 of 24
I love that women want to check themselves.....it makes sense to me.
I wish more partners would learn to do vag exams too....
Touch the tip of your nose....that is what your cervix feels like....it usually gets softer as you get closer to your due date....sometimes it is up high and posterior, so it is hard to feel...but keep trying. As far as what it measures...take some different size kitches glasses, turn them over and trace them on a piece of paper. Measure the circles and then practice how your fingers feel on the different sizes.....then practice on anything with an opening.....it just takes practice....
Carla
post #8 of 24
yea when I was first learning to do midwifery I would size everything- door nobs- cans- glasses, faucet spouts--
post #9 of 24

Position of cervix

My first experience with birth was at a birth center in El Paso. I had the hardest time checking even other women's cervixes (cervicies?), so I can imagine that it would be difficult (though often possible) to check one's own. Throughout most of pregnancy, I've learned, many (most?) women's cervicies face their backs, and along with dilation and effacement, the cervix must move into an anterior (facing mom's front and thus lined up with the birth canal) postion before babe can be born. I think I missed all those cervicies at the birth center becuase I wasn't reaching up far enough behind the uterus looking for the posterior cervix. I expected 'em to be right there at the end of the vagina.
post #10 of 24
good point you can really end up putting your fingers all the way in to reach
post #11 of 24
I could never check my own, it was just too far posterior.

I too have had problems with cervixes until I learned that sometimes you have to go way back. but it I can't feel the cervix because it's too far posterior, then I'm not too worried that baby is coming soon!
post #12 of 24
Someone told me there is a mothod to check with the space in your thorax or your ribs. I am not sure if that is true or not.
post #13 of 24
ok ok ok wait...

Normally, when I'm NOT pg, my cervix can be felt on what I would call the front wall of my vagina--so 'belly side'...
Are you saying that my cervix gets so high that I actually need to reach all the way in there and look for it on the BACK wall of my vagina--or 'back side?'

Or is it just at the very end of my vagina? (the 'dead end')

And again--when the baby drops, will it be easier to feel--ie I won't have to stick my entire hand in there to find it?
post #14 of 24
well I guess you will just have to check and see-- it does usually get a bit higher if the baby isn't deeply engaged and yep it might be posterior or it could be frontwards-- my cervix that is normally lower and forward does move up and back while I am pregnant until the baby comes down more
post #15 of 24
I wasn't able to-- it was WAY posterior--
but I kept trying! I had just finished my course in El Paso (Hi Alison!) when I got preg. so I was dying to keep up the skills by practicing on myself-- I thought I would be such a great subject to practice everything I learned. I was wrong!
Besides, my belly was HUGE (I think b/c the babe was so long and I have a pretty short torso) that I could hardly get in very far......

I could JUST touch the edge. Far enuf to put in some EPO, but not to check dilation :
post #16 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrs_Hos View Post
when the baby drops, will it be easier to feel--ie I won't have to stick my entire hand in there to find it?
It depends. A lot of times when baby drops (if baby drops at all...sometimes they don't until labor with multips), baby's head ends up in front of the cervix, so someone doing a vaginal exam has to follow the curve of babe's head around, then on the backside of the head, look for the cervix. That's a posterior cervix (the ones where when a nurse or dr. checks it feel like they're looking for your tonsils!) and it GENERALLY won't be very effaced or dilated. It is sometimes an entire finger's length inside the vagina.

An anterior cervix is where the cervix is in front of baby's head, not behind, and would be much easier for a mother to feel herself. It is usually starting to thin and possibly dilate (though I've found that about 90% of mothers don't dilate at all before labor starts, no matter what their OBs or L&D nurses are telling them!). It is much closer to the vaginal opening...maybe 1 or 2 knuckles inside the vagina.

I feel like I didn't explain that well at all! :
post #17 of 24
I checked mine all the time during my pregnancy with my ds...especially when prodromal labor started six weeks before his birth. It made me feel a LOT better to know that all of that work was DOING something! I found it easiest to feel for it when I was sitting on the toilet. I also think it's a lot easier to know what you're feeling for if you know your cervix before you get a belly that you have to reach around! I use natural family planning, so check my cervix daily for mucous and position. Soooo, I was familliar with it when I was preganant and in labor.

In fact, when I transferred care from one midwife to another in mid labor, I was able to check myself before I left for the hospital and tell her that I was completely effaced and dilated to about a 4.5(which may not have been such a good idea, she thought I was gonna have a baby in the car on the way there... ), so that she was waiting for me by the time I got there.

I think it's wonderful to not to have to ask permission of another person to know what your body is doing...for me, especially as a doula, it means that it's just another way that a woman's birth is something SHE does, not something that is done to her.
post #18 of 24
Here is a good article that helped me....

http://www.joyousbirth.info/articles...xlearning.html
post #19 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxye View Post
Here is a good article that helped me....

http://www.joyousbirth.info/articles...xlearning.html
What a great article. Thanks for sharing it.

This is really interesting to me.

Curiosity got the better of me tonight and I had to check. Don't think I felt the cervix but I'm pretty sure I felt the head! That really makes me want to meet this baby even more now!!
post #20 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charmie981 View Post
It depends. A lot of times when baby drops (if baby drops at all...sometimes they don't until labor with multips), baby's head ends up in front of the cervix, so someone doing a vaginal exam has to follow the curve of babe's head around, then on the backside of the head, look for the cervix. That's a posterior cervix (the ones where when a nurse or dr. checks it feel like they're looking for your tonsils!) and it GENERALLY won't be very effaced or dilated. It is sometimes an entire finger's length inside the vagina.

An anterior cervix is where the cervix is in front of baby's head, not behind, and would be much easier for a mother to feel herself. It is usually starting to thin and possibly dilate (though I've found that about 90% of mothers don't dilate at all before labor starts, no matter what their OBs or L&D nurses are telling them!). It is much closer to the vaginal opening...maybe 1 or 2 knuckles inside the vagina.

I feel like I didn't explain that well at all! :
Nope...made total sense to me!
And I LOVED the article link paxye! THANKS! I'm going to check again, next shower!
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