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To have a vag exam or not?

875 Views 9 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Tracyn
Hi mama's,

So I am 40+3 today and none too happy about it. I was 40+7 w/my dd & I don't remember it being this awful. I really feel as if I will never go into labor.

I know my baby & my body are doing what they need to do, I know a due date is a best guess, I know women's bdies are not defective, they are made to birth their babies naturally, I know it... I just am not feeling it right now.

So... I haven't had any vag exams yet this pregnancy whereas with my dd I think we did one every prenatal. (One of the many differences between an ob & hospital birth & a midwife & a homeirth)

My question is, should I ask for one at today's prenatal? I know it really means nothing, but I want to know, How effaced am I? Am I dialated? What is my cervix doing? Again I KNOW that those are just numbers and my body
can change that at any time in either direstiion, but I think I want to know.

Is anyone else out there struggeling with this? or am I just overdue & freaking out?

Thanks for humoring me,
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I have moments like that, but then I remember WHY I do not do vag exams.

For one:
They are an opportunity to introduce infection. They can push germs from the outside up into the vagina, and they can transfer germs from the examiner (even IF they use a glove, usually it's not a STERILE glove anyways). Since the info is useless for predicting labor, the "benefit" doesn't outweigh the risk!

For two: they are uncomfortable. I don't like having hands up there. I know it doesn't bother some people, but to me it's undignified (especially the way it's done in medical offices) and I don't enjoy the process.

For three:
I find it discourages me. Even *knowing* that I could go from 2 cm and barely effaced into active labor and holding a baby 8 hours later, hearing that I am "barely 2 cm" or whatever is depressing! Or, hearing that I am 3.5 and effacing gets me excited that I could have the baby "any time now" only to come back the next week and hear the SAME EXACT THING... 3.5 cm, any time now. Whatever...

So, for my own sanity, I don't give in to those occasional urges to "get checked" because past experience shows it's just not worth it to me.
Edited to add: I am 40w 4d today, none too happy about it, AND I had pre-labor from 2 pm til 9 pm last night that has made me extremely cranky!!!!

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ITA w/ pre labor making for a cranky mama!!

Thanks for the reply, I still haven't decided but it is good to hear what I believe to be true from a source other than myself & my midwife.
i have not had any.

I figured that I could walk around partially dialated for a long time, and it would just bug me to think I was making progress, and not actually have anything happen.

Also - not a fan of hands up there unless they are mine, or my DHs.
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I've not had any VEs but I can understand your temptation, there are days when I am so curious but I just have to remind myself it really means nothing to know and all I am doing is introducing unnecessary bacteria.

Good luck deciding
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I had an OB/hospital birth last time, and was checked every week starting around 34-35 weeks. I was always so disappointed--I think my last check before DD's birth was "barely a fingertip."

This time I have a CNM/hospital birth, and she doesn't do VEs routinely, but asks if I want one. I have said no every time (40 weeks today), and it is SOOOOOO freeing! I don't have to feel disappointed or excited, and then a week later go back to hear the exact same thing. I love not knowing so much more than the way I did it the first time. I also love not finding "****" in places it shouldn't be for the rest of the day.

Also, it gives me another way to head off all the people calling me to find out when I'm going into labor. "Having contractions?" "No." "Well, how dilated are you?" "I don't know--my midwife doesn't check." "WHAT??? Why not???" "Because it doesn't mean anything." Yada, yada, yada.

I am just amazed at how crazy some of my friends/family get when I don't know the gender or how dilated I am. They just go beserk! Maybe that's it--I love driving everyone beserk, because they all drive me up the wall by calling to ask if I'm in labor yet, LOL!
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Oh the ****!!!
After doing IVF, I gotta say, the less people up there the better. At one point I was having daily vaginal u/s....and man, that stupid blue gel!!!
: At least that stuff washed off a bit - the KY type stuff is evil!!!!

People are surprised I don't know what % effaced I am or how dilated I am...
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My background is microbiology, and I get kind of wigged out about vaginal exams (and the possibility of infection). I think if you're really curious, it's a better idea to have your partner do it at home (with freshly scrubbed hands)--you're accustomed to the microflora of the people you live with (and the stuff in your home) than what might be on the gloves, in your caregiver's office, etc.

I totally agree that during prenatal appts, the info doesn't really mean that much (unless you're at, say, 30 wks and they're concerned about PTL, and that doesn't describe *any* of us anymore).

All that said... If you're dying of curiosity and/or the information would help you make decisions about "what to do", then I'd do it.
Yes, it doesn't mean anything. But if you want to know I think that is the most important factor. Remember, though, you can go from 0% effaced and a fingertip dilated to full-blown labor within hours!

And you'd need to be prepared for disappointment if you're not dilated or even effaced at all... would you be able to handle that or would it worsen your mood even further?
I just had a MW appt yesterday (almost 40w) and had the MW do a VE. I must say I was curious, but more so, I want to go to a good friends baby shower, which is 3 hours from our home (only 2 from our hospital).

I'm hoping for a VBAC, as I never went into labor with DS, even after 42weeks (attempted 3 different days of induction, which put DS in distress on attempt #3, ending in CS). SO, this labor thing is all new to me. I'd been crampy off and on for a couple of weeks, but from the MW's exam I'm 'closed up tight'.

For me it was reassuring to know that although there's always the CHANCE for a fast onset of labor, with my past birth and the fact I have yet to experience contractions (that I was aware of at least) makes me more comfortable about taking the trip to the shower.

Anyway, I don't think I would have the VE if it were for merely curiosity sake, for the many reasons mentioned above, and for the fact that it can usually be more DIScouraging than ENcouraging. I was only happy with the news because of our plans for the weekend, but otherwise, I'm not too psyched that NOTHING is happening yet. SIGH. The more overdue I become, the more likely I head toward CS.... (which I am accepting of, as my first UNplanned CS was NOT a bad experience, but I really hope to experience the Power and Miracle of an unmedicated, vaginal birth).

Sorry for my ramblings....
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