Im only 23 weeks just now but the last time I was pregnant, I had a sweep on the wednesday morning which started off my contractions, but I didn't deliver ds until the saturday night, by this time I was totally exhausted as the contractions just didn't stop and I hadn't had proper sleep for days.
Would it really make any difference if I refused a sweep this time round?
Rather debatable, Starlight. The article you cite has a few, ahem, interesting ideas, maybe not a great surprise from someone who isn't a midwife in the sense that we would use the term in the UK. And while what she wrote about lack of evidence may have been true in 2004 (I don't know) we do have some better stats since then. Some more recent stuff just found quickly, I saw something in the BMA too but can't seem to find it now:
This isn't the BMJ thing I was thinking of but is relevant to Sky's post:
The problem is that you tend to trade reduced mortality for increased morbidity, that's what makes this very complex. Stillbirth rate gets much higher after 41 weeks but induction before that carries higher risks of admission to intensive care for baby. Additionally many women find it a pretty awful experience. Probably most of us would accept that in return for a reduced stillbirth risk, but nonetheless mother's physical and mental health matters too.
And yes, there is some suggestion that the risks aren't uniform across the population. Some women also seem to have placentas that can last a bit longer too- some people's are totally calcified and friable after only 41 weeks, others are still fine at 42 weeks.
That article posted by Starlight is nearly a decade old!!! I wouldn't rely on that personally. I personally see a stillbirth where no cause can be found as a "baby born to late", I would much rather be induced than face that. But I echo the other posters saying that she should feel able to decline the sweep, or perhaps ask for an antenatal clinic referral to talk things over e.g. what are the risks with having a sweep, how likely is it to lead to a sluggish start to labour and if it does, what else can they do to help get things going if you wanted that?