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Internal examinations

(28 Posts)
girlylala0807 Sun 26-Oct-08 14:57:25

This may seem like a bit of a dumb question...


There seems to be alot of negative vibes about these examinations on this thread, I have got a few months before im due yet but am getting worried now!!!

What exactly is involved here? What aare they checking for and is it 100 percent necesarry?


Grammaticus Sun 26-Oct-08 14:58:44

I think they are necessary, yes. I asked for gas and air when i had them as I found them pretty uncomfortable.

SqueakyPop Sun 26-Oct-08 14:58:59

They are checking the cervical effacement and dilation (ie checking that you are actually in labour), and also the position of the baby's head.

You don't have to have one if you don't want to. If you want drugs, you pretty much have to have one.

policywonk Sun 26-Oct-08 14:59:32

I think they're checking mainly to see how dilated you are.

They're not 100 per cent necessary, no. If you don't want them you can specify that on your birth plan, and most midwives will comply unless there's a compelling reason for needing to do an internal.

OTOH, I had plenty of internals during my labours and they were no trouble at all - not uncomfortable, let alone painful.

littlelamb Sun 26-Oct-08 15:04:32

With dd I had a few examinations and I found them comfortable as well as disheartening as after hours of labour I wasn't dilating as fast as I'd like! With ds they weren't necessary at all, I had one when he midwife came to my house at the start of labour just to confirm that I was in labour (had been 3cm at my sweep 3 days previously) and I was 4cm. Didn't have any more, but it was a very fast labour (3.5 hours). If it had been longer I might have asked for them, but my midwife could tell how I was getting on just by looking how I was behaving- apparently when I was in transition it was obvious to everyone in the room but I can't really remember it.

littleducks Sun 26-Oct-08 15:05:18

Not necessary, no
Not painful but not terribly comfortable, although tbh as you may have realised labour isnt!

I had only one exam in two births just to convince mw to admit me to mlw (had baby an hour later!)

They check to see how dilated your cervix is, at ten cm you are 'ready' but it was the desire to push that made me realised i was ready though. The more intervention you have the more necessary the exams are, im pretty sure if you had an epidurial you would need an exam to check you were ready as it numbs the desire to push

girlylala0807 Sun 26-Oct-08 15:13:16

Lol, yes I realise labour will probably be the most painful thing ever, but just reading some other threads made me realise the pain could be added to.

Im rubbish in hospitals with needles/doctors or nurses, and im not dealing with the whole giving birth thing very well at all!!!

However, I know i just have to get on with it.


Grammaticus Sun 26-Oct-08 15:13:54

I had no intervention - they seemed to want to do the internals to see how far on I was.

littleducks Sun 26-Oct-08 15:21:24

If you do want to be examined the important thing is to relax, they wont do it when you are contracting

If you dont want to be just say so, put in your birth plan/mention it to midwife

A good midwife should be able to tell how labour is progressing from observing you, however they dont tend to be have the time to observe and can just rely on examing you

Its your body, so is your choice but i think the best thing to do is to see how your labour progresses

cupcakesinthesnow Sun 26-Oct-08 15:25:20

When I had ds1 I found the internals really horrid and I that was something I dreaded whn I was pregnany with ds2. However, it was fine with ds2. Don;t know if this was don to the midwife or the fact it was a 2nd baby but it really was nothing unplesant at all.

They only take a few seconds though so try and focus on your breathing and it will be over in no time

girlylala0807 Sun 26-Oct-08 15:43:13


Im just terrified of the whole bloody idea of it all (giving birht and examinations)

Cant wait for it to all be over!!!


Horton Sun 26-Oct-08 15:45:55

I didn't have an internal at all until I was fully dilated (they were happy to give me gas and air without examining me). TBH, at that point I barely noticed them doing it. They aren't necessarily awful.

Romy7 Sun 26-Oct-08 15:52:02

they can be a good thing and midwives can't always 'tell by observing you'. having been told i wasn't yet in established labour for 12 hours (as i paced around the hospital - 'just keep walking dear') i eventually decided i was so exhausted i couldn't be bothered any more and asked for some drugs to knock me out so i could get some sleep and wake up and try again the next day grin
they were going to give me something but then remembered they were supposed to do an internal before drugs - and at that point realised i was 7cms, so i didn't get to go to sleep after all. well, not with chemical assistance anyway.
i'm quite a fan of knowing how far there is to go mind...
they are nowhere near as bad as internal rotation of a back to back baby though grin
sorry - couldn't resist that - you'll be fine!

Lib76 Sun 26-Oct-08 16:38:10

They are not that bad and they always wait till contraction is over. I found the worst bit of getting them done was that they cleaned your bits before every one!! oh the joys! girlylala0807 labour is painful but it is also amazing! i would do it again tomorrow! well not quite DS is only 20wks!!!!
really wouldn't worry about internals, i was keen for them cause i knew how far on i was. smile

SharkyandGeorge Sun 26-Oct-08 16:47:43

You don't have to have them but is often useful for you (and midwife) to know how your dilation is going, is nice to know how you are progressing and also how low babies head is. Only takes a few seconds in my personal experience isn't at all painful just slightly uncomfortable.

SharkyandGeorge Sun 26-Oct-08 16:49:54

Have you thought about a home-birth. If it is the hospitals / doctors / nurses that are causing you worry it might be worth considering.

JamesAndTheGiantBanana Sun 26-Oct-08 16:57:33

I really wouldn't worry about examinations, you may find that you want to know how you're doing, and the need to know will outweigh any worry you have (in labour you really are on a different plane, too, your priorities change radically)

I had two or three, the first one didn't hurt and I barely noticed, the last couple hurt because the contractions were coming quite fast (it's the contractions which make examinations hurt imho, not what the mw does with her hand, if that helps?) if they can do it between contractions it's not too bad.

Keep sucking on your gas and air during the examinations, or do your breathing.Deep breathing doesn't sound like much but you'll be surprised how much it helps, and trust me you'll be doing it months afterwards when you stub your toe or have to rip a plaster off quick lol smile

CuppaTeaJanice Sun 26-Oct-08 17:00:32

I didn't like the idea pre-childbirth. When the day came though, I was begging them to check as often as possible so I could find out how dilated I was.

It helps if the midwife has long fingers!!!

girlylala0807 Sun 26-Oct-08 17:29:36

See I think the mistake I have made is spending to much time reading some awful birth stories on the birth trauma thread. Bad idea in retrospect.

SharkeyangGeorge, a homebirth was discussed but midwife lead unit at hospital and any problems your straight in the lift up to 24hour medical help. My midwife said unless I 100% wanted a homebirth I should go, and I do have reservations so I think best to best where I will feel safer, kinda, if that makes sense.

Its all just going round in my head really.


Squitten Sun 26-Oct-08 19:31:08

I had two internal exams while I was in labour and neither was uncomfortable at all - I never felt them!

It was actually quite funny because the guy doing the second one was really cute and, terrible as it is to say, but him doing the internal was actually the only point that the pain actually stopped!

I said to DH afterwards that I had to stop myself because I didn't think it would be appropriate to ask cute doctor if he wouldn't mind just carrying on doing that....! wink

JamesAndTheGiantBanana Sun 26-Oct-08 20:41:50

lol squitten! I started laughing at something during the first VE I had... the poor consultant examining me looked quite embarassed and the midwife suddenly felt the need to remind everyone that I was on gas and air. blush

Star1ightExpress Sun 26-Oct-08 20:52:25

I put in my birth plan 'no internals', but I gave birth in a forward-thinking mlu where internals weren't standard and only took place if something was odd.

There is research to show that internals can slow down labour as they interfere with the womans natural behaviour and can stall progress. Contractions on your back whilst waiting/just after an internal can be enough to persuade a woman who was coping that she needs drugs!

nicewarmslippers Mon 27-Oct-08 08:43:20

during my first (induction, never really dilated or got into established labur and ended in cs) I HATED the internals. I even refused to have any more at one point (though had to agree in the end but would only let tge mw do it not doctor). However this time round they were totally totally fine. No pain at all and barely noticed. I thyink its was cause I was dilated more this time. Also a nice mw.

Also, the mw only did 2 the whole time as she could tell when I was in transition without checking inside by behaviour (I was shivering and howling in a very odd way-though not really in pain just sad and happy)

good luck and don't let your self worry, use the gas and air

star6 Mon 27-Oct-08 11:44:03

ask to have as few as possible. I thought they were really uncomfortable. They hurt more than the contractions. Finally, they gave me drugs just so that they could to the internal exam. I would suggest that - if you're finding them uncomfortable (some people don't) then ask for drugs for the next time they do one.
Are smear tests really uncomfortable for you? I found it to feel pretty much like that. I find smear tests to be incredibly painful. If you aren't so bothered by these, the internal exams probably won't bother you so much

cupcake76 Mon 27-Oct-08 13:51:05

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