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pointless sweeps

(26 Posts)
fells Tue 19-Jul-05 20:47:44

Is it true that there is no point having a sweep unless you are fully engaged and your cervix is nice and soft? Can the midwife check these things before going ahead with the sweep or is there nothing to be lost by doing the sweep at the same time as the internal? I just get the impression that midwives just forge ahead and do these things when they are not really necessary. I am due to have one next tuesday when I will be 41 weeks.

Blondeinlondon Tue 19-Jul-05 21:12:04

Personally I would avoid a sweep or internal unless you are desperate. For me it really really hurt - felt like internal bruising - and it did nothing to speed things up as my cervix was tightly closed

majormoo Tue 19-Jul-05 21:43:32

I'd avoid one next time I think. Mine really hurt and made me feel really weird afterwards(teary/premenstral) and did not work anyway. Still ended up with an induction.

mummy23 Tue 19-Jul-05 22:28:40

I had a sweep and it did hurt but it got labour going again (my waters had broke, was having contractions then stopped after about 4 hours, after i had a warm bath), i had my sweep at about 3pm and my DS2 was born at 1am! I was not fully engaged but my cervix was soft though and i was 3 cm dilated when examined before i had my sweep though!

I hope everything goes ok next week for you (unless things start happening before then)

Let us know how you get on!

BTW is this your 1st baby?

kgc Wed 20-Jul-05 01:44:25

are you being pushed to have one???? If you do not want one then do not have it done.

rattie2307 Wed 20-Jul-05 02:28:01

Luckily I didn't have to have a sweep, although it was mentioned during both my pregnancies. My first was during my first consultant’s appointment at 12 weeks - I didn't even know what he was talking about! As I was still reading up about everything. During my second I was due at Christmas and it was discussed with MW before she went on holiday. Then a day later my waters broke (Tues) but nothing else, I went to hosp for a check and was told to go home get on with things and if nothing had happened by Fri to go straight in for inducing which would probably include a sweep. I adamantly did not want this and had DD Thurs AM naturally.

My BF did have a sweep however and she said that it was the worst thing out of the whole pregnancy and labour! Sorry !

BTW are you dates exact? Sometimes if they are a bit out some MW are happy to wait a bit longer. My second pregnancy was all guess dates as I was still BF my DS when I found out I was pregnant and hadn’t had a period . My first due date was estimated at 11 Jan. My scan date was 26 Dec! DD was born 23 Dec.

I also think you are right about MW just forging ahead and doing things when not necessary.

Have you started trying the raspberry leaf tea, curries etc to get things moving along?

LizP Wed 20-Jul-05 14:36:55

just to say i had a sweep with ds3 and it didn't hurt a bit and he was born 12 hrs later. I was 41 weeks and probably was going to have him soon anyway, but my bp kept going up and this seemed the least invasive way to get him out - better than induction or cs I thought

fells Wed 20-Jul-05 16:08:17

Thanks for the feedback everyone! Yes, this is my first baby. I really don't think it is ready to come out yet. If the MW can tell that my cervix is tightly closed is she likely to still proceed with the sweep? I have a feeling I will be induced a week on saturday anyway. Inductions seem to run in the family! Are they really that bad?
What would be the advantage of not having a sweep at all and just waiting until the induction? Does anyone know?

fells Wed 20-Jul-05 16:28:00

Just thought of another question! Do things like pineapple, curries and sex also only work if your cervix is starting to soften and the head is well down? Also, does anyone know if there is specific order these things should be tried in? Say, curry for main course, pineapple for pudding and then sex a couple of hours later!? Or should the curry and pineaplle come after the sex?! I've been taking raspberry leaf capsules for the last 4 weeks - onto 6 a day now.

triceratops Wed 20-Jul-05 17:01:10

Perhaps you could try nipple stimulation with a pineapple

From a quick survey of my playgroup mums only one birth out of 12 was not an induction. Does anyone give birth naturally any more?

highlander Wed 20-Jul-05 17:34:41

Isn't there evidence to suggest that sweeps are pointless for a first pregnancy? Can't remember where I read that (NICE guidlines?), but do remember my friend (a doctor) actually taking the published paper to her midwife to show her she was talking bollocks

CarolinaMoon Wed 20-Jul-05 17:41:20

Majormoo, I had the same thing - the actual sweep was ok (like a smear test, but lasting a bit longer), but that evening I was in utter floods of tears for no particular reason and my cervix felt so tender I couldn't sit down - had to lie on my side so that ds's weight wasn't over it.

IMHO, sweeps are pretty pointless. If you are going to go into labour soon it might bring it on, but then why not just wait a bit longer? (unless it's either that or induction, obviously).

Can't say pineapple, curry or acupuncture helped either. They come out when they're ready (or maybe when they're induced ).

Eriberri Thu 21-Jul-05 12:57:12

Fells, you said - "What would be the advantage of not having a sweep at all and just waiting until the induction? Does anyone know?"

Although a sweep is still an intervention, it is a less risky intervention than induction. Induction forces the body to labour, when the baby may not be ready. That in itself carries its own risks, and may set you onto a "cascade of intervention", giving you a higher risk of epidural/instrumental delivery/caesarean section and distressed baby. By having the sweep, which may or may not work, you could well avoid induction altogether, which surely has to be a better option. A sweep will work if you are ready or close to ready to go into labour. If all is well with you and the baby, why not wait to go into labour naturally? Why force things onto yourself and your baby, and then have to deal with the risks of an induction?

fells Thu 21-Jul-05 16:01:46

Thanks Eriberri. So you think I should go for the sweep? I suppose there is nothing to lose by going ahead with it and I would like to avoid an induction.

Does anyone know how late you can safely be induced? Here in Bristol they induce you 12 days after your so-called due date. But as the due date is based on a 28 day cycle and you know your cycle is longer than that you could safely wait a few more days???

Eriberri Thu 21-Jul-05 16:45:28

Hiya Fells. I think a sweep is worth a try at 41 weeks, you really don't have anything to lose by trying it, and everything to gain if it works and you avoid induction!

Remember you do not have to be induced, 12 days over or otherwise. They can recommend it, but you can always opt to have you and the baby monitored more regularly. A normal pregnancy lasts from 38-42 weeks, so really inductions shouldn't be offered until 42 weeks gestation, regardless of hospital policy.

serenity Thu 21-Jul-05 16:55:01

I had sweeps with DS1 and 2 which didn't work, and two sweeps with DD, the last one of which worked. I was induced with DS2, and I would have had sweeps everyday with DD rather that be induced again. I asked my m/w for a sweep with DD, and she refused to do it until I was 7 days o/d. The general view was that it was pointless before that time.

I have to say that I didn't have any problems with my sweeps - they didn't hurt at all, but then I don't tend to find smear tests painful either, so I must be quite insensitive down there!

Fran1 Thu 21-Jul-05 17:00:06

Personally i'd rather have a sweep ( i was told 50/50 chance it would work) than be induced.

I had sweep two days before i gave birth, yes it was painful, and i was left with period sort of pains for next two days, when i then went into labour at 41 + 6 days. (due for an induction the next day).

I like to think those period pains were the start of it and that the sweep saved me from induction.

Spoo Thu 21-Jul-05 17:25:53

My DS was 13 days late. I had the sweep and it didn't hurt a bit. 12 hours later a baby boy. I think go for it. Stories I have heard about inductions don't sound like much fun. At least you can go home after a sweep, rather than stay in hospital.
TBH, I think I was already in labour as I was 2 cm dilated when they did the sweep but I definately felt it helped things along!
Good luck!

Mosschops30 Thu 21-Jul-05 17:42:16

Message withdrawn

CarolinaMoon Thu 21-Jul-05 17:48:36

Fells, I was given the choice of being induced at 11 days overdue, or having a "biophysical profile" (i.e. scan to check the level of amniotic fluid and condition of the placenta) at 9 days overdue and then being induced at 14 days over if the scan looked ok.

The consultant wasn't keen for me to go over 42 weeks (prob because induction can take a few days anyway), and tbh I wasn't keen to either because of the risks to the baby so wouldn't have made a fuss about it.

I was keen to avoid being induced so went for the 14-day option and it just so happened that I went into pre-labour on day 13 and avoided induction because my hindwaters had broken by then.

Personally I'd put the sweep off till it was really necessary, just because it wasn't much fun for me, but it might be fine for you.

Distracted Thu 21-Jul-05 17:54:49

Highlander said she had read that sweeps were pointless in a first pregnancy, but I had a sweep with my first baby & it worked, had it something like 5 pm then had mild period like pains overnight and went into labour at 6 am next morning.

Have to say though, that I had 3 sweeps with my second pregnancy and none of them worked, so had to be induced, although was able to just have my waters broken as more than 2-3 cm dilated by then (you remain slightly dilated after having a baby, so was 1 cm anyway before first sweep and maybe sweeps helped dilate me a bit further so could have waters broken instead of pessary induction).

I should also say that having had 4 sweeps, none of them hurt at all (I was really scared before my first sweep having been told it would hurt). Having smears is much worse (for me anyway)!

fells Sat 23-Jul-05 10:51:52

So if a sweep is going to be effective how quickly can you expect labour to start after having it?

Eriberri Sat 23-Jul-05 11:49:21

If it works, you would be expected to go into labour naturally within 48 hours of the membrane sweep.

fells Sat 23-Jul-05 16:25:52

If your first sweep doesn't work how soon could you have a second? I assume after at least 48 hours?

SpikeMomma Sun 24-Jul-05 11:00:15

I think sweeps work differently for different people. Some say they are painful, others don't mind them. Some are successful, others aren't.

I had one at about 41 weeks. Didn't want one as thought it would be grim, but when the time came i was actually glad to try it as i was so fed up by then.

It was uncomfortable and the first 'internal' i'd had since being pregnant, so it is a bit strange, but it wasn't mega painful. Advice would be to use deep breathing to make you less tense - worked for me. They found out that i was already 3cm dilated when they did mine - so it gave me some encouragement. Although, saying that, i still waited 3 days and eventually had to be induced! But it wasn't too bad.

Good luck anyway - really hope it worked for you.

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