Sweep stories needed

(20 Posts)
keepingmum1 Mon 18-Aug-14 10:24:53

Hi, I am the proud mum of 3 month ds and had an incredibly healthy pregnancy. However, I had a very difficult labour following a sweep on 40 + 3 and wondered if the sweep was completed too early; no medical reason was given, just that if I didn't give birth soon I'd be induced on +11. On following the comments from my midwife I had the sweep. She commented my cervix was in an extremely posterior position, and that the sweep wasn't particularly strong as she could barely reach it. I then went into a 3 day 'non active' labour the next morning with contractions every 5-10 minutes, meconium found on the fourth day whereby I was finally put on the oxytocin drip. Then a 10 hour first phase and three hour second stage, with a failed ventouse and finally forceps delivery. I then had a two litre PPPH and was given a blood transfusion. My iron levels are nearly back to normal.

I wondered if anyone else had had difficulties following an early sweep, or on the other hand if there were positive stories out there. Also I wondered if medical reasons were given (raised blood pressure etc) for the sweep. Finally, I wondered if any health authorities refuse to sweep before 41 weeks. Thank you for reading and hope all is well with you x

Heatherbell1978 Mon 18-Aug-14 12:03:13

As far as I know, a sweep can be done anytime from around 40 weeks as long as the cervix is 'favourable'. I'm 40+3 today and was offered one last week when I was 39+5. The mw examined me internally but my cervix was too posterior for her to continue to do a sweep so I was basically told to get some serious walking and ball bouncing in to try and move things on. I'm back at the mw tomorrow and plan is to get another sweep done then. It doesn't sound like you were too early to get one done but if your cervix wasn't ready then she shouldn't have continued to try I think.

Applesauce29 Mon 18-Aug-14 12:12:34

I had three sweeps and none of them worked to kick start labour, tho I did get a bloody show/ lost plug after second. Was induced at 40+10 in the end.

keepingmum1 Mon 18-Aug-14 12:20:59

Thanks, I think so too. I'm glad yours had the sense to wait and advise none invasive methods. I wish you all the best x Is this your first? X

Heatherbell1978 Mon 18-Aug-14 12:52:20

Thanks keepingmum. Yes it's my first:-) Also, I don't think you have to have a sweep if you don't want one. It was offered to me last week just like it was offered tomorrow but if I say no I think that's fine. I'm hoping she can actually do it tomorrow though as I really don't want to be induced so if it helps move things along naturally then I'm all for it!

keepingmum1 Mon 18-Aug-14 12:58:00

Well I wish you all the best! I know it's so frustrating waiting, and no one wants the induction! You certainly don't have to have it unless you want it. You've got at least a week before induction so get that yoga ball out!! All the best and get them to check that cervix first!! Xx

MoonHare Mon 18-Aug-14 19:34:48

I do know of others who had what seemed early sweeps (before 41wks) and went on to have similar experiences to yours. You'll never really know whether the sweep contributed to your difficult labour but obviously your gut is telling you it did. You can ask to see your notes and speak to a member of the midwifery team to talk about how things panned out for you, this might help you understand better and come to terms with what happened. Be kind to yourself about your experience, it might help to talk to friends too.

Bugaboom Mon 18-Aug-14 19:41:08

I often wondered if my sweep was too soon. I was 40 +2 , was offered it and said yes. Cue three days and nights of contractions, only to be told I was only 2 cm dilated when I finally went in. However BP was high so kept in- by 8 cm I stopped dilating and had to have drip. Overall a very long and difficult labour. I spoke to a lovely community midwife afterwards about feeling it was the wrong thing to do. However she suggested that if I hadn't had I may have ended up more over due which given the BP issues could have been very dangerous. I certainly won't be agreeing to one this time

keepingmum1 Tue 19-Aug-14 22:12:12

Thank you

keepingmum1 Tue 19-Aug-14 22:19:56

Sorry - I pressed post accidently. Very interesting to hear that more women have gone into a prolonged non-active labour following early sweeps. Unbelievable really that this is allowed to continue. I wonder where you'd find any statistics about correlations between the two. I have talked to lots of people about my labour experience which has really helped, and that you for the comment to be kind to myself; its very important to do this, but can be very difficult sometimes. Thank you x

lisaloulou84 Tue 19-Aug-14 22:31:15

Totally contradictory to everyone else's comments.... I had my first sweep on my due date and another three up until 41+1 so basically every other day. I was induced at 41+6, was supposed to be 41+3 but I only needed a water breaking and there were no beds on labour ward. Gave birth very easily on only G&A in 3 hrs.

PicandMinx Tue 19-Aug-14 22:31:33

I found sweeps painful and violating. There is no evidence that they work. I would avoid sweeps if you can, as they are the start of the induction process and once you have agreed to one, IME the "cascade of intervention" clock starts ticking.

You are never truly "overdue". Every women's cycle is unique. Every health trust has it's policy. Depending on where you live, "overdue" can mean 40+1 or 40+5. It's all guesswork.

nyldn Wed 20-Aug-14 03:40:07

I had a sweep last week at 41+5 that put me into labour withing hours. I then had a stressful labour with a forceps delivery with a 3b tear. the sweep was very uncomfortable itself.

I regret doing it and wish I had held out to let him come on his own as I really wonder in delivery might have gone slightly differently.

Heatherbell1978 Wed 20-Aug-14 06:43:40

Update to post above. Had my 1st sweep yesterday (at 40+4) as first attempt was unsuccessful. It was uncomfortable but tolerable I thought. Apparently my cervix is still pretty closed so she didn't manage to do much but she said I would 'definitely' have some bleeding, cramping and the like. None.....so I'm assuming it was unsuccessful. Another one on Friday and then induction will be next Wednesday if that doesn't work. I'm trying everything not to be induced but yes, I can't help feeling baby will just come when he's ready.

keepingmum1 Wed 20-Aug-14 19:18:49

Heatherbell I really hope you're feeling okay; your baby will absolutely come when he or she is ready. Keep walking around and do your best to keep your mind off it - I made curtains else I would have gone mad. I do hope things start soon.

feeona123 Fri 22-Aug-14 21:04:24

Hey, I had 3 sweeps. First 2 did nothing even when everything looked favourable.

3rd worked! Upon leaving hospital I was back there 2 hours later I'm full blown labour! Contractions every 2 mins lasting for a min!

Baby was born 8 hours later with only a 1st degree tear and graze. Very glad I had the sweeps and avoided induction at the last min!

pickletalk14 Sat 23-Aug-14 07:43:13

I had 4! In hindsight the first was too early- bang on 40 weeks. After the first 3 I had some cramping and bleeding but no labour which was disheartening. Went into labour about 10 hours after the 4th (41+4) and had a normal, if prolonged labour, with no intervention at delivery.

For me this meant I avoided drug induction and could stay in the midwife led unit rather than the labour ward. I'd do it again but not until after 41 weeks.

Jellylove Sat 23-Aug-14 08:16:57

Quite varied experiences, I found mine very uncomfortable although favourable; but I was 37weeks withDS1 and 38 weeks DD2 and needing induction with both and a sweep was a precursor to both inductions, they didn't work in either case but I thought it was worth a shot.

Sweeps are generally done after 40 weeks, and as long as baby's head is well down and the cervix is reached then a sweep can be done, but who knows whether a woman's body is ready. Sometimes I think it ripens the cervix rather than sets labour off.

The experience that some people describes sounds like long latent phases, which happen with or without sweeps. It is a very common experience and having seen many many women with this experience, I would not attribute it to the sweep, it's just a normal part of labour. A long latent phase is really hard, can last several days, especially if baby is back to back (and if your in hospital can lead to intervention), and more common with first births but it's not something that's talked about much or how to cope with this slow part of labour.

For the OP, if the cervix was unfavourable then maybe it played no part in starting labour off, but it is not likely it contributed to your labour events, sorry that your experience wasn't great. Maybe you should chat with a birth afterthoughts team at your hospital to see if they can shed any light on your experience?

mssleepyhead Sat 23-Aug-14 09:53:30

This is a really interesting thread, thanks for starting it OP.

I'm due to have a sweep (my first) on Tuesday when I'll be 40+3, but my instincts were telling me to turn it down and reading this thread has convinced me. Before 41 weeks seems to early to force things, if they're not naturally moving along. After 41 weeks, I'm willing to do what it takes!

SnowPetrel Sat 23-Aug-14 21:35:17

First baba= went for midwife appt at 40+3 and was advised that my blood pressure was on the high side (even though I told her how I'd had poor sleep the night before, a hot bath on waking and then rushed to the appt late- if that won't make your blood pressure rise, I don't know what will!). Was sent to hosp where they checked for protein in urine (the accompanying sign of pre eclampsia) but there was none, although my BP was still high. Was advised to have a sweep anyway, and as it was my first baby and I was scared I had one. Like an earlier poster I found it painful and violating. The sweeper said that I was already partly dilated and so things seemed to be underway anyway. That was at 3pm then contractions started at midnight and he was born 2pm the next day, only complications being that I got dehydrated and had to have a saline? drip, and that meconium was found as he was on the way so they got a paediatrician down just to be on the safe side (who stood in the room with his back to me as I gave birth, the midwife saying "I don't think he's ever been present at a birth before"- wtf?!), anyway thankfully all well with DS and I.

Baba 2: offered a sweep at an appointment on the day of Wk 41, although there was no reason to do so other than that she was booking me in for induction at 41+5 and it was "just a natural way to get things started" (no it's not, it's a fucking intervention!). I asked whether I'd be offered a sweep a few days later when the induction process began. She said no, it'd go straight to induction. I refused the sweep, saying I was confident he'd make his own way when he was ready. She encouraged me again to have the sweep, I refused. Glad I did as he was born 4am the next morning after a 5 hour labour, naturally and with no complications (other than excruciating pain of course) and it went brilliantly and both very well. In your face sweep!

My view is that sweeps are largely unnecessary, intrusive and unpleasant and are massively over-used by a risk-averse NHS. I think that they'll go out of fashion in future and will be one of those things that our daughters will be saying "they did what to you?!" about, like the shaving and enemas of the past are to us now. Here's hoping!

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