Sorry if TMI but are the midwife checks for how dilated you are really uncomfortable?

(32 Posts)
BettyBi0 Mon 11-Apr-16 16:33:11

Might seem silly to worry when you think of the size of the baby's head which is about to come out. However, friend got me worried the other day saying that when the midwife checks for how dilated you are it is basically almost fisting as they have to get a lot of fingers in to judge how wide the dilation is. Is this true? Obviously they use gloves but do they also use lots of lube or does labour make that unnecessary?

Also, how often do they check? I'm clearly fixating on the important things to worry about in labour here

ValancyJane Mon 11-Apr-16 16:45:10

It's no more uncomfortable than a smear test or something like that, not the most fun experience but not agonisingly painful. It's only a couple of fingers. They check every few hours I believe. You do have the right to refuse, but quite honestly it's a good idea for you and the midwives to know how things are going was my view on that. They use a kind of lube too I think. Really don't worry about it!

Drowsybutawake Mon 11-Apr-16 17:07:32

I had mine checked twice during labour and honestly I can't remember feeling it at all! Maybe a dodgy memory but I certainly remember contractions smile. Not a big deal.

Having said that I was 6cm by the time they checked so maybe if you are not in established labour yet it is a bit more uncomfortable?

IIRC the protocol is to ask every 4 hours but you have the right to refuse. For me personally it helped to know I was progressing.

AlexandraEiffel Mon 11-Apr-16 17:19:17

I had no vaginal examinations during my labour. It only tells you how dilated you are at that moment, which doesn't mean much by itself. There are much better indicators of the progress of labour. There are times when they are useful, if there's a particular reason indicated, but if you don't like the sound of them just as routine, you don't have to have them.

RNBrie Mon 11-Apr-16 17:23:19

They do have to put their entire hand inside you and I found it vastly more painful than a smear. I was 4cm dilated when I had my first internal and it shocked me completely with how painful it was. I had a couple later when things had moved along further that weren't so bad.

I declined all internal exams for dc2 and will do so again for dc3, it's not a big issue for a good midwife.

Imhere4theentertainment Mon 11-Apr-16 17:26:01

Iv had 5 babies and never once has ne midwife shoved a fist in me ! 2 fingers is the most they have put in wen examining me it can be uncomfortable but when ur in labour it's the least on ur mind u can use gas and air wen getting it done

geekaMaxima Mon 11-Apr-16 17:27:08

My birth plan requested no internal examinations unless truly necessary, and the midwives at the birth centre were happy to go along with it.

They didn't examine me when I came in, as they were happy to use rate and intensity of contractions to gauge how far along I was (so long as everything was proceeding normally). They estimated I was probably 2-4cm when I came in, based on my strong but irregular contractions.

When I suddenly reeeeeally wanted to push a couple of hours later (long before they thought I would be ready), they asked if it would be OK to examine me and I was happy to agree as I was convinced I was fully dilated. I hardly felt the internal examination, and yes I was indeed ready to push.

Later, one of the midwives mentioned that an internal exam would have been pretty pointless when I came in as they're only useful in women with textbook labours who progress with slow dilation and regular contractions. In cases like mine, if I had really been just 2-3cm on arrival, they could easily have recommended I go home for a while, which could have ended up with me having DS at home or en route to the birth centre.

If any complications had come up, of course, there would have been other good reasons to need an internal exam, but in low-risk labour it's not strictly necessary.

Fairylea Mon 11-Apr-16 17:29:00

I found them very painful but you don't have to have them, you can refuse and they can find other ways of telling how far along you are.

NotCitrus Mon 11-Apr-16 17:33:14

It was certainly way less painful than the contractions that she managed to do it in between!

I had a brief summary of medical history and wishes (so very simple birth plan) which said I wanted as little prodding as sensible and to get my explicit consent before touching me at any time (or ask DP if I wasn't able to reply). I think there were 4 in the 36 hours in hospital before birth, possibly another once an epidural was in place.

AliensInUnderpants12 Mon 11-Apr-16 17:33:27

I found them very painful when the midwife was checking and had to stop because I had a contraction. I only had to have one internal examination with each labour as I arrived at the hospital 9cms dilated with DS and 8cms dilated with DD. it might be less painful earlier in labour? I think it is useful to know how far along you are though even if it is painful, it is over and done with quickly! Good luck!

Mummyme87 Mon 11-Apr-16 17:57:10

Midwife does not put her whole hand in for a vagunal examination. It is two fingers.

SweetAdeline Mon 11-Apr-16 17:59:41

I didn't find any of them very painful in my two labours (agree no worse than a smear). The student midwives were definitely the most gentle, followed by midwives. Consultant was the worst.

katienana Mon 11-Apr-16 18:02:33

I didn't find it painful at all, I had one when I was 3cm another at 8-9 and another when fully dilated.

Dixiechick17 Mon 11-Apr-16 21:08:42

I was examined when I got onto the midwife led unit, my waters had just gone in spectacular fashion all over the bed, midwife was very quick and to be honest in comparison to the contractions the examination was nothing, I don't even remember it being uncomfortable. There was certainly no fist up there shock

I was 5cm and we were told that they check every four hours if we want to be checked.

I was pushing within 90 mins, she didn't check me then, just trusted my instinct to push and guided me through. So, just the one examination.

Mrscog Mon 11-Apr-16 21:14:35

Had a couple with DC1, don't remember it being any worse than a smear, plus the midwife was very understanding and stopped when I had a contraction.

DC2 flew out with very little warning 15 mins after getting to hospital while they were still fannying about trying to get me to do a urine sample so no time for any internal!

Runningupthathill82 Mon 11-Apr-16 21:21:27

I didn't feel it at all during either of my labours - the contractions were far too painful for a midwife's hand to even register!

BettyBi0 Tue 12-Apr-16 09:21:33

This is mostly really reassuring - thank you.

Silvercatowner Tue 12-Apr-16 19:47:44

I found the examinations really reassuring and I think the midwives did too. I progressed very fast and was in absolute agony an hour after an internal that had revealed I was not dilating. The internal confirmed I was ready to push - the midwives were telling me there was no chance I had made such progress and I was ready to pack the whole thing up and go home.

Tfoot75 Tue 12-Apr-16 20:24:57

I had two and could barely feel it tbh, compared to the agony of having to lie flat on my back during them while contracting in a back to back labour! Another one here that had one at 3-4cm and felt urge to push what felt like minutes later, and another to confirm I was fully dilated. So not of much use if not a textbook slow dilation as pp said.

LisaRinnasLips Tue 12-Apr-16 20:33:20

If they want it to hurt, it'll hurt. I had one who made me jump two feet in the air and scream then lots of blood. Second time around I told her to be gentle and didn't even feel much

BillBrysonsBeard Fri 15-Apr-16 08:00:15

It depends on the person doing it.. The first one made me scream as she was so rough and fast, it was awful. The second and third were lovely and gentle and slow, it was so different.

motheroreily Fri 15-Apr-16 08:02:24

I honestly can't remember, so can't have been that bad for me.

countingdown Fri 15-Apr-16 08:10:19

I found it really painful - so much so that in my 2nd labour I refused to be examined. I was 9.5cm when I was examined though so it may be less painful in the early stages of labour. Also, I'd been active throughout labour so found lying down to be examined really uncomfortable.

Frazzled2207 Fri 15-Apr-16 08:36:06

It's uncomfortable but not nearly as bad as contractions and pushing the baby out (sorry).
Assuming you are in labour you won't really care and although you can refuse it will probably be helpful for you to know what stage you're at
Once you've had the baby, these will seem entirely insignificant.

Snog Fri 15-Apr-16 09:26:55

For me it was painful and really traumatic - if only I had known that I could refuse!
I had gas and air for it which only made it worse sad

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