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sweeps - what are the success rate?

(32 Posts)
ExtremeCouponQueen Wed 07-Aug-13 13:02:44

38+3 weeks and booked in for a sweep at 40+3. What are the success rates for a sweep? I'm nervous and hope I go into spontaneous labor before this! Also, does it hurt? Is it like a smear?

matilda101 Wed 07-Aug-13 13:09:48

I had a sweep at 41 + 1 with my dd and went into labour within 24 hours. Went for a sweep yesterday for dd2 at 40 weeks and my cervix was too high so the midwife struggled with it so that one isn't going to be successful!! I've got another one booked at 41 weeks. It doesn't hurt but it is uncomfortable, the key is to relax although this is easier said than done. It's not really like a smear-takes longer and (not sure how to put this) you've got more going inside you than with a smear!

ExtremeCouponQueen Wed 07-Aug-13 17:02:16

Thank you matilda - so if the cervix is too high they won't attempt to do it then? I'm scared of them forcing the situation and hurting me when the baby's not ready to come out yet.

Gobbolinothewitchscat Wed 07-Aug-13 17:07:50

I didn't need a sweep with DS but I'll refuse any sweep for dc2. I think they only work if labour is about to start in any event. My GP (ex obs and gyne) has said it is very difficult to assess how useful they are because of that

If I'm overdue, I'll go for expectant management

Gobbolinothewitchscat Wed 07-Aug-13 17:08:43

extreme you can refuse the sweep. If they start and it hurts, tell the midwife to stop

rubyslippers Wed 07-Aug-13 17:10:10

i had a sweep

i had already had a show, and the MW could feel the baby's head as she did it

it was (very) painful but it did the trick as i went into labour 2 hours afterwards

i was quite ready though and was around 2 cm dilated too

ExtremeCouponQueen Wed 07-Aug-13 17:11:00

Thank you gobbolino - i don't want to be very overdue but the whole idea of a sweep just freaks me out. It seems like it's forcing a situation that's not ready to happen yet which makes me think it will cause unnecessary pain.

FattyMcChubster Wed 07-Aug-13 17:12:58

The doctor doing mine was quite rough and it hurt, not just uncomfortable but contractions started within the hour so it was worth it.

Gobbolinothewitchscat Wed 07-Aug-13 17:14:22

extreme - I agree. Spontaneous labour is nearly always the best option. Therefore I'm not having one

I'll consider induction if any issue arises on the expectant management

Is this your first DC? I was only 4 days overdue so you may well not need anything

SunnyIntervals Wed 07-Aug-13 17:33:20

Extreme, for the facts, research and stats on sweeps look at the nice guidance on management of overdue pregnancy.

They are evidence based, have been done for decades iirc and are very effective at avoiding medical intervention like induction. I had 2 (on 40+7 and 40+14 iirc) and DS started to make his way out on 40+14 - I am grateful to the sweeps as I was told my cervix was totally unfavourable before the first sweep.

catinabox Wed 07-Aug-13 17:51:17

ExtremeCouponQueen If you are not comfortable with this, please refuse. No one should do anything to your body you are not comfortable with unless it's ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL. You have a couple of weeks to go until you are overdue. Perhaps try to relax, bounce on a ball, drink lots of rasberry leaf tea, have baths with clary sage oil, hot curries. Go for some long walks.

I am 37 weeeks and have a very excellent midwife and will not be having a sweep, or anyone doing anything to me unless it's totally necessary. I'm not going to hospital either. I feel much more relaxed now that i hve decided to be in control of my choices. Of course, i'm aware that i might have to give that over but and happily going to try and do it myself as much as i can.

If you feel uncomfortable or pressured or that the decisions are not your own at this stage, make a fuss!! - check out 'Birthrights' too.

You will be absolutely fine.

matilda101 Wed 07-Aug-13 19:25:38

Yes, if the cervix is too high they can't do it. I agree with others that it probably only works if labour isn't too far off anyway, it probably does speed things up a little but my dd2 defo isn't ready to come out yet!

clabsyqueen Wed 07-Aug-13 20:26:10

There is no need for you have a sweep at all. You can say no thanks. I had one at 40 weeks as I have been advised to have a section at 41 weeks (placenta problems and EMCS last pregnancy). I've got another one at 40+4 but I'm only doing this avoid a section. I worried about mine more than I needed to tbh - uncomfortable and weird but not too painful. Hope you can relax.

pinkr Wed 07-Aug-13 20:30:37

Will they do a sweep if the head is not engaged?

Thurlow Wed 07-Aug-13 20:32:34

No need for you to have a sweep if you don't want one.

However, I have to say that while the sweep was uncomfortable and yes, weird to be chatting to a mw on your bed while she has a good rummage around, but not painful. I have no idea if it achieved anything - it was a few days before labour started but I did get my show the next day.

Personally I would give it a go as it is less painful than an induction can be, but as most places don't induce until around 40+12, you could ask to not have a sweep until 40+7 or something like that? I do think a lot of places offer it very early, for me it was just assumed that they would do one at 40+2.

MooseBeTimeForSpring Wed 07-Aug-13 20:34:43

Mine was really quite painful and didn't work sad

YoMamma Wed 07-Aug-13 20:48:35

First sweep (40 plus 1) was unsuccessful despite being 1cm dilated. Second sweep (40 plus 8) started labour a couple of hours later. They were uncomfortable but not painful.

LoganMummy Wed 07-Aug-13 20:53:23

I had a sweep with second DC - was born less than 48hrs later. I was already 2cm though. Was a bit uncomfortable but not sore.

learnasyougo Wed 07-Aug-13 20:58:27

I seem to remember its a 60% success within 24 hours.

I had mine at 40+13 which did get contractions going, but two days I was stuck at 3cm. I had synto drip in the end (after over fifty hours of labour!). He was born eventually, huge, 16 days overdue, 71 hours of labour. I just don't think I or he was ready, even though I was 42+2 when he finally arrived.

ilikebaking Wed 07-Aug-13 21:17:57

I am really sorry to ask this, but can anyone, bluntly and very graphically explain what happens during a sweep?
I am 25+3 and really worried about this.

Thurlow Wed 07-Aug-13 21:33:56

The midwife came to my house, I got on the bed with a towel underneath - we had a big debate about that one! - and put my feet together with my knees apart. Then she inserted a few fingers, I imagine (I wasn't asking grin) and swept around my cervix. I was rather freaked out as she announced that my baby had a LOT of hair - I wasn't expecting that at all!

It was uncomfortable because, to be blunt, there was very much the sensation of someone having several fingers inside you and pushing upwards. But the sweep of the cervix didn't particularly hurt. That might have been because I was starting to dilate anyway.

I wouldn't worry about it now, ilike. If you do get offered one, there's a high chance you'll be so annoyed by being pregnant or desperate to have your baby that you'll try anything, and you can refuse it if you want. But it really wasn't too bad at all.

snorkmaiden2 Wed 07-Aug-13 22:22:36

I had 6 sweeps with dc2 - I can't even tell you how pissed off I was with having them by the time baby arrived. This time I'm booked in for one at 40+8 but I think I'll refuse on account of my other 2 pregnancies going over 42 weeks. Not to worry anyone but I found them bloody painful especially the earlier ones when I was no where near ready

Remember you don't have to agree to anything unless it's what you want

FattyMcChubster Wed 07-Aug-13 22:24:44

It starts off feeling like a smear then there's a lot of pressure and for me, it felt like really bad period pains. I managed deep breathing through it but I couldn't have relaxed. You can't really feel exactly wht they're doing, feels more like rummaging and stretching which I guess is the point

I had one before going into labour with DD and three before DS (as was being induced due to cholestasis and wanted to tried to get things going without drip etc). One with DD was a bit uncomfy. First two with DS were absolutely fine, last one, oh my... The midwife said, if it doesn't hurt, it hasn't been done right. I thought her hand was going to come out my mouth. Didn't start me off, still ended up being induced. Hey ho.
You don't have to have it, but if you decide to go ahead, tell her you are nervous and to please be gentle.

ExtremeCouponQueen Wed 07-Aug-13 22:42:47

Thank you all. I can't see how someone putting several fingers inside you with no pain relief can be just uncomfortable, it sounds horrendous to me! Starting to worry slightly, I'm useless with pain and dc1 had to be induced so am guessing this be will be late too.

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