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What does a sweep involve?

(26 Posts)
newtonupontheheath Tue 02-Oct-12 08:53:15

Will be 40 +2 tomorrow and have midwife at lunchtime. No signs of anything happening yet so hoping she will give me a sweep...

What can I expect to happen?

DS was a few days early so this is all new to me!!

Msinterpret Tue 02-Oct-12 08:57:25

Have MW just after 10 and am 40+4 now, also more pregnant than got to last time.

So I haven't had one before but far as I know, MW stimulates your cervix, if poss, to get things moving, hormones working. She can tell you if it's still v firm & closed or if it's already softening.

Anecdotally, seems to speed things along if it is soft ie things'd start soon anyway, les likely to if not.

Sure someone with actual experience can help us out more soon!

Good luck!

newtonupontheheath Tue 02-Oct-12 09:00:26

If its not tmi.... Does she just use her hand? Does she use one of those "things" like when you have a smear test? (No idea what they are called...)

Hope it does start me off as ds is at nursery tomorrow so it would be most convenient if baby decided to make an appearance! grin

Good luck ms keep us updated smile

Msinterpret Tue 02-Oct-12 09:02:09

I think she uses her surgically-gloved hand/fingers!?

It's like the blind leading the blind here I'm afraid.

Help us someone! grin

newtonupontheheath Tue 02-Oct-12 09:04:41

Ha ha grin

YoullLaughAboutItOneDay Tue 02-Oct-12 09:06:36

She uses her hand.

Just to say, don't be too dispirited if she can't do much. I had a failed sweep with DD2. It was excrutiatingly painful (I am weird, that isn't normal) and she couldn't even reach my cervix. She said it was totally closed and firm. I was in tears of combined pain and frustration and was +6 at that point. I thought the failed sweep meant it must be days more before things would kick off. I went into labour 24 hours later, with niggling contractions from about 12 hours after.

It should just be a bit uncomfortable. If you find smears bearable it should feel a bit like that (I also find them agony. As I said, I am weird. I had no pain at all on crowning though so, you know, not a bad trade smile).

Msinterpret Tue 02-Oct-12 09:25:15

Thanks YoullLaugh, v informative.

I think if she offers today I will go for it. Even though things have been feeling imminent for last week and just now eased off (less pelvic pain, easier to move, just feel a bit...lighter?)

Hm, we'll see I suppose. Will be sure to give you all the gory details let you know how it goes, Newton grin

AliceHurled Tue 02-Oct-12 10:12:38

I have an official sheet!

If the cervix is favourable ie admits a finger then insert index finger as far through the os as possible and rotate twice through 360 degrees to separate the membranes from the lower uterine segment.

There are more things on my sheet but that is the what happens description. And no idea what os means

blooblies Tue 02-Oct-12 12:04:15

I've just had my 7th sweep (3rd dc). The os is the hole in the cervix. The midwife uses sterile gloves and gel to feel for your cervix and if she can, gets a finger through and rubs around on the inside. This unsticks the membranes a bit and can stimulate lots of braxtons and, ultimately labour. However not every time as you can tell by my tally! I've never found them painful, but then I may not be normal either wink. I like them in that I get an update on the state of my cervix (nice and soft and ready ATM) and that baby gets a bit of a wake up call that moving down might be a good idea (it hasn't taken the hint yet). My midwives have advocated lots of walking, bouncing, romantic cuddles and chick flicks for afterwards. In my experience they will help things along when they are good and ready. Not today for me, I fear.

Msinterpret Tue 02-Oct-12 12:23:51

Back from MW - she said baby is fully engaged and that's probably why I'm feeling less pain/heaviness, funnily enough. Had the sweep, was just as Alice said/c&p'd! MW said she would be giving the baby's head a tickle!

Turns out cervix is soft (good), 1cm dilated (good) but still a bit long (needs to shorten) and she could feel head so we'll see. Oh what we'll reveal on an MN childbirth thread! Wasn't painful for me at all. Suppose it might depend what state the cervix is in? Also the one who did sweep was student midwife - I always find they are a lot more gentle than more experienced...

Sent me off with some clary sage to inhale, mixed with frankincense smile and murmurs of curry/sex/nipple stimulation...

YoullLaughAboutItOneDay Tue 02-Oct-12 12:34:04

Good news Ms!

The pain thing might depend on the state of the cervix, but it is also a very personal thing. There was a thread a while ago about people who found smears agony and others who just couldn't imagine that process being more than a little uncomfortable. I agree about students though!

Msinterpret Tue 02-Oct-12 13:43:00

Thanks! Fingers crossed but not legs...

Sorry, didn't at all mean to discredit it being painful for you or anyone else. In fact, I feel a little blush that it wasn't for I have a big ol' fanjo then? grin I find smears uncomfortable and occasionally painful so was surprised this wasn't too bad at all for me.

YoullLaughAboutItOneDay Tue 02-Oct-12 13:48:18

No, no. I didn't think you were discrediting anyone's feelings. I just didn't want some poor woman who was 5 days overdue to come across this thread and think 'shit, it was bloody agony, I must be nowhere near ready to go into labour' grin. I am the evidence that the sweep can be a disaster and your body just then does everything at once IYSWIM.

Sounds like you had a very careful student. Lucky you!!!

Msinterpret Tue 02-Oct-12 13:53:57

Good point and very considerate of you.

Yep, great that your labour started shortly after what you describe as a 'failed sweep'. Just goes to show once again that they'll come when they're ready and we can't really do much about that...

YoullLaughAboutItOneDay Tue 02-Oct-12 14:13:10

Yup. It was what the MW called it. I was a failure at sweeping grin. I think she meant she couldn't even reach the cervix, much less do the little circles thing.

Hope both the babies on this thread put in an appearance soon!

hellymelly Tue 02-Oct-12 14:21:27

I found my sweep really horrendously painful ,and shocking (I hadn't been told that was what she was about to do, and I would have refused had I known). I think it led directly to my c-section and I felt as though I'd been assaulted. I don't think there is any point to a sweep- either your cervix is gearing up for labour in which case it will happen soon regardless, (which is maybe why women think they work) or it isn't, in which case it will be painful . Michele Odent thinks that anything which alters the natural course of labour is a really bad idea hormonally and I'm inclined to agree, I think that midwives use sweeps far too often as a way of seeming as thought they are doing something, when doing nothing would be a better approach.

blooblies Tue 02-Oct-12 14:26:00

Doing nothing really is an ideal, but when you've a history of super long gestations and you feel the need to nudge things along in the least intrusive way, then a sweep ain't that bad in the grand scheme of things. Way better than pessaries and drips, anyway smile

newtonupontheheath Tue 02-Oct-12 15:16:53

Sorry for not checking back.... Thank you, I feel much more prepared now!

I really would like her to have a feel as to what is going on after regular contractions last week and lots of snooty pains. Plus I can get a hand between my boobs and my bump-I feel like I'm sitting on babies head whenever I sit down!!

Race you to the finish line ms wink grin

Badgerina Tue 02-Oct-12 15:24:02

Just to add: I had a sweep yesterday at 41+2. Be prepared that you might bleed and that the blood might be FRESH and a bit scary looking.

I had a sweep in my previous pregnancy and it was very undramatic. However with this one yesterday she pulled her gloved hand out and... there was BLOOD. Fresh blood. I knew "theoretically" that women sometimes bleed during or after a sweep, but I guess I wasn't expecting dark blood. I thought it might be pinkish or whatever.

MW was reassuring, not phased at all. Told me to pop a pad on. Listened in to baby, and all was fine smile There was probably only a couple of tablespoons of blood altogether.

Just bear it in mind. Obviously if later on you feel you're losing more blood, you must call your MWs.

newtonupontheheath Tue 02-Oct-12 15:28:02

Thanks Badgerina I didn't know that until a couple of women on our ante-natal thread had the same thing happen.

I don't want anything to interfere withy homebirth plans so would always air on the side of caution smile

Msinterpret Tue 02-Oct-12 17:00:03

newton normally I'd say 'you're on!' but lost too of these races recently smile

Oh yeah, I forgot to say they listened in to baby afterwards and her little heart was much faster - 'Who's that tickling me?' grin

EugenesAxe Tue 02-Oct-12 17:07:24

I had one on 40+3 and I think mine used a speculum to open the vagina and expose the cervix. MW then popped her gloved hand up and did the equivalent of scooping the last bit of Nutella out of the rim of the jar, with the sac around the neck of the cervix.

I think that's what was going on anyway; essentially they aggrevate the membranes a bit. It didn't hurt; it was a bit like a smear really and uncomfortable. She said I was 1cm dilated (unknowingly... unlike the fucking rest) - I think if you are clamped tight shut they might not bother.

For DC2, the MW wouldn't sweep me at that time - said it was too early (different area). So you may find they won't offer it, although I guess you could ask.

SchrodingersMew Tue 02-Oct-12 17:19:38

I had one when pg at 36+6, The Dr who had done it was a bit enthusiastic and while it was madly uncomfortable I can't remember it being particulary painful.

newtonupontheheath Tue 02-Oct-12 17:37:07

Speculum.... That's it!!

ms I never win stuff so it'd be a safe bet... smile

Msinterpret Tue 02-Oct-12 19:30:13

Well I am technically due ahead of you anyway... wink

Was having a look at this about cervix effacing and wondered if MW could touch baby's head does that mean no mucus plug is there now? Or does she just go...through it confused

Never had as much googling time to think about it all last time!

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