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Refusing examinations

(47 Posts)
CherriesInTheSnow Thu 06-Jul-17 12:36:52

Is it possible to decline cervical dilation checks in labour, does anyone know? smile

I'm not trying to be pedantic, I just found mine very uncomfortable, they made the pain a lot worse but was still sent home based on the results, and my midwife based the decision that I wouldn't be ready for labour for hours on how far dilated I was when actually I was dilating very rapidly, was in a lot of pain and was pushing DD out a few minutes later.

So basically for me they were useless, painful, inaccurate and caused more trouble than they are worth, but I know how textbook they are an am worried about broaching the subject of not wanting one with my midwife, both antenatally and in labour.

Has anyone had any experience with not having cervical examinations to check dilation? If so how did your midwives feel about requesting this? Thanks!

OP’s posts: |
Lj8893 Thu 06-Jul-17 12:40:55

You can refuse anything you want! There should be consent from yourself given for everything that happens.

DoubleCarrick Thu 06-Jul-17 12:43:13

I had a home birth and was told if I refused an examination they would transfer me to hospital. I'm pregnant again and might put my foot down this time

user1498418402 Thu 06-Jul-17 12:46:59

of course you can refuse. I had the opposite issue to you actually - I remember begging my midwife to examine me. They were about to give me some drugs, the last exam I was only 3cm but I knew I was further along and close to pushing. They wouldn't do it so I refused the drugs. My waters then went and they checked me and I was 8cm. I was so annoyed that they were about to give me something I shouldn't have had that far along. Worth speaking to your midwife soon and getting some notes down in a birth plan advising of your decision.

CherriesInTheSnow Thu 06-Jul-17 12:47:07

Thanks for the replies smile

Yes I wish I had been a bit more confident last time, however I just assumed that they were essential and would have a useful purpose, and also wouldn't cause me any trouble - I was wrong on all counts!

That's worrying Double , I think I'm going to try and find the guidelines. I'm also going to discuss it with my midwife at my next appointment and see what she thinks.

One of the things I think is worrying me is that I had a very rude and mean midwife with DD, and so don't want to feel belittled or ridiculed again, as if I am causing problems for no reason.

OP’s posts: |
CherriesInTheSnow Thu 06-Jul-17 12:47:56

Thanks user, I think I will, I am feeling more confident since posting!

OP’s posts: |
DuggeeHugs Thu 06-Jul-17 12:48:24

It wasn't until afterwards that I realised you are allowed to say 'no'. Never again will I consent to an internal on labour/delivery.

chupsmelad Thu 06-Jul-17 12:50:44

You don't have to let anyone do anything. Not just in childbirth, but in any medical situation. It's your body.

Is a doula an option for you? I also had a horrible person with me for DC1's birth, having a doula to support me gave me peace of mind and confidence in the leadup to DC2's birth and I was so glad to have her there.

Notsure1234 Thu 06-Jul-17 12:55:40

I refused one because I was only 1cm at the last check, then my waters broke and things sped up massively and pain got so much worse. It was only about an hour from the previous examination and I thought I must only be about 2-3cms so they'd refuse me the epidural I was asking for. I let the midwife examine me about 10 mins after the epidural was sited and I was fully dilated. In hindsight I could have done it without if I'd been examined but I don't regret refusing as that's what I needed to do at the time

LotisBlue Thu 06-Jul-17 12:59:42

I declined them for my second labour, for all of the reasons you said. I told my midwife in advance, and as a result I got a call from the supervisor of midwives who advised me that it was fine to decline these, although there may be particular circumstances where the midwife felt an examination was necessary in which case they would strongly advise me to have one(eg if there were concerns that I wasn't progressing properly.) This didn't happen and so I had my second baby with no examinations .

It was definitely the right decision for me - I preferred to 'go with the flow' rather than having a running commentary of how dilated I was.

It helped that I had a home birth and didn't ask for pain relief till I was obviously about to push. (in hospital you might be told that you can't have pain relief until you are xx dilated).

KatharinaRosalie Thu 06-Jul-17 13:08:27

You have the right to refuse any medical examinations or interventions, whether in childbirth or otherwise. No, even that's not true - you have to request and/or allow any kinds of examinations and interventions.

Double, they also cannot force you to go to hospital if you don't want to - what will they do, stuff you into the ambulance kicking and screaming?

This makes me so angry when health professionals let women believe that we must have some checks or procedures and they are the ones deciding, not ourselves. Like you hear so many women asking how long will they 'let' you go overdue - while the actual situation is that if you don't want an induction, then there's nothing anybody can do, and it's certainly not up to anybody else to let or not let you.

NanooCov Thu 06-Jul-17 14:22:29

I didn't refuse them but did limit them - mainly because they were very uncomfortable for me. My labour was pretty intense and fast. The midwife was great. I basically told her when I was ready and she was super quick. Think I only had three in he end - one on arrival, one about half way through and one just before I started pushing. Having my OH there as an advocate for what I would and would not allow was essential for me. He was fab. 21 weeks pregnant and he's already started preparing for his role! smile

chupsmelad Thu 06-Jul-17 15:05:23

the actual situation is that if you don't want an induction, then there's nothing anybody can do, and it's certainly not up to anybody else to let or not let you.

I so agree with you katharina. I was medium risk with one of mine and people kept telling me that I would "have" to do this or that. When I pointed out politely that while I would in fact be doing what the doctors recommended (as it was sensible advice based on their expertise and experience) I didn't "have" to do anything and could in fact do whatever I wanted however stupid. Then people would tell me that I was quibbling over semantics and it amounted to the same thing hmm.

I still don't see how. If I want DH to put the rubbish out I ask him politely, even though we both know he's going to do it anyway. I don't just say "You have to take the rubbish out." But when it comes to women's bodies anything goes, apparently confused.

CherriesInTheSnow Thu 06-Jul-17 15:18:00

Thanks all, you are absolutely right! I actually feel silly now thinking that it wasn't an option. blush

I just don't want to feel belittled and treated like an idiot again. I also felt like some of you have said that it is incredibly disheartening to be told you are only 1 - 2cm dialated when actually a lot of the time that isn't an indicator of anything - it certainly wasnt for me!

I have decided to put in my notes and make it known that I do not want them, with the caveat being that if I have an epidural I am happy to be examined to see how I am progressing tbusmile

OP’s posts: |
LottieDoubtie Thu 06-Jul-17 16:01:53

Don't feel silly OP- I've never felt as vulnerable as I did when I was pregnant- and it's extraordinary how you get spoken to as a result. It's very hard to stay on top of it but try and hang on to the excellent advice you've had here.

In the end I only had one internal examination in my pregnancy and it was done by a very very kind doctor who took the time to get informed consent first. She shouldn't be a rarity - but she was, other doctors I saw were not all kind; and as a result I made different choices to the ones that they were pushing.

OlennasWimple Thu 06-Jul-17 16:07:19

Examinations were one of the most painful bits of delivery for me!

I was specifically told to refuse all examinations except by the doctor who was supervising me (I was in premature labour and there was a risk of infection), so ended up having fewer than usual thankfully

TitsalinaBumSquash Thu 06-Jul-17 16:12:53

I refused to lay on my back and the midwives said they absolutely couldn't examine me on my hands and knees so I refused examinations and just told them I was pushing without the prior confirmation of the magic 10cm.

WizardLizard Thu 06-Jul-17 16:31:53

I was induced and declined all internal examinations after they started the drip. I asked the midwife to check me after about 7 hours as I felt a lot of pressure. Ten minutes later he arrived! I found the midwives and Drs to be very respectful of my wishes.

I had written a v detailed plan with all my preferences. Even if everything doesn't go to plan I found having my wishes there in black and white really helpful.

chupsmelad Thu 06-Jul-17 17:25:42

the midwives said they absolutely couldn't examine me on my hands and knees

What nonsense. I remember being examined while kneeling on the bed.

justanotheryoungmother Thu 06-Jul-17 17:26:54

You can but I had the experience of having quite a lot (induced) and I once told a midwife to stop because it was too sore and she didn't, told me to wait as she was nearly finished and made me go through with it angry

AnneElliott Thu 06-Jul-17 18:49:30

I agree with you Katharina. I got fed up with being told "the Dr won't allow your to do this or that" or that I needed permission for a home birth.

I corrected everyone who said this, and got a reputation as a right pain on the arse- but I hate being told what to do, or it being suggested that as an adult I don't have autonomy over my decisions.

DuggeeHugs Thu 06-Jul-17 18:52:24

just the same happened to me during an induction - I begged them to stop and they refused. It wasn't until I broke down in tears at my smear test a year later that the nurse explained I'd technically been assaulted, hence the upset I still felt. I'm so sorry and angry this happened to you too flowers

LollipopsandWine Thu 06-Jul-17 18:57:42

I am both really glad to hear this question and the answers and also really shocked to hear other people's experiences! I was 17 when I had DD and had no idea I could refuse the examinations - I had a really heartless woman doing mine, I cried because it hurt so much and she said "you put something up there to get pregnant so it can't be that bad" :/ I felt really humiliated and a bit violated tbh. I passed out the next time she did one, the second she got to my cervix, and since a doctor has told me I absolutely should not be in that kind of pain with an examination.

So so glad to hear they can be refused - please update us OP and let us know how it goes!

16middlenames Thu 06-Jul-17 19:13:47

Is it possible to refuse these when having twins? I don't like the idea of it but feel they'll tell me I need them more since I'm high risk.

chupsmelad Thu 06-Jul-17 19:21:42

You can always refuse them. I would recommend, though, that you discuss the issue with your HCP and ask them to explain whether/why they recommend them, so you can make an informed decision.

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