Manual dilation?

(41 Posts)
Beckamaw Sun 05-Feb-12 20:43:53

This question is nearly 10 years old and I figured that maybe someone else has experienced the same?
Background - I am 35 weeks with DD3. First was a very traumatic instrumental birth due to foetal distress - baby stuck in pelvis. Failed venthouse, front to back episiotomy, successful forceps delivery. Just horrible. DD2 was a requested homebirth but ended up with induction, pushed for 2 hrs, baby stuck in pelvis, EMCS. The experience was beautiful compared to first. For 3rd delivery I am begging for an ELCS, hospital like the idea of VBAC. I do not.
Back to the point. During first labour I was given pethidine. Liked it but I stopped dilating at 4 . As pethidine wore off and foetal distress noted, the registrar said he would 'get me dilated so I could have this baby'. He inserted his hand into me and used a fist to dilate my cervix. I have never felt pain like it. And to be honest I felt bloody violated. When he withdrew his hand he advised 'You are now 9 cms. Would you like to push?'
I didn't want to push. No desire whatsoever. So they gave me a spinal, had me sign a consent form for whatever was necessary and pulled out my daughter.

I look back to that with horror. Cannot ever get my head around it. I assumed it was normal, but it isn't, is it?

I really need to discuss this with my consultant but I am concerned that I will go into meltdown. I want them to give me a section but don't know how to talk about this.

Anybody else been there?

OP’s posts: |
MrsPotter Sun 05-Feb-12 20:48:12

What?! Surely in that situation it would be an EMCS? No way would I let the fucking doctor fist me! He should have told you exactly how he was going to dilate you before he did such a disgusting and potentially physically damaging 'procedure'

NatashaBee Sun 05-Feb-12 20:51:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

4madboys Sun 05-Feb-12 21:04:51

i have heard of midwives manualy moving a lip of a cervix by hand to help things along if necessary but only with consent. have never heard anything like that, surely he could have caused serious damage?

i think you have every right to insist on a c section and if i were you i would asking for your notes of the first delivery and having a review!

IBlameThePenguins Sun 05-Feb-12 21:13:37

Hi. This happened to me too. The birth of my dd sounds identical to your first birth. She is 2.4 now, and tbh I feel like I am only just coming to terms with her birth. The consultant I had was a horrid polish man who kept spring at me. He also pretended the syringe.was a bee.coming to ' sting' me... Complete with buzzy sound effects and ' flying' the syringe towards my fanjo... Needless to say I curreny have no plans for a dc

Sorry, that was long, and probably of no help at all- just wanted you to know that it happened to others, and it made me feel the.same way too.


Beckamaw Sun 05-Feb-12 21:13:38

Thanks for confirming what I already thought.
I did google 'manual dilation' but could only find vague references to it.
I had no indication of what he was going to do but there were at least 5 others in the room when it happened. That's what made me think perhaps it was standard procedure.
Do they keep your notes for that length of time? Thanks for that idea. Perhaps it would help me come to terms with it a bit.

OP’s posts: |
IBlameThePenguins Sun 05-Feb-12 21:15:57

# shouting, not spring. Sorry, am still struggling with new phone! X


Lynli Sun 05-Feb-12 21:20:30

I had a similar experience, fetal distress, heart beat dropping. I had been prepared for EMCS but all surgeons and theatres were in use.

The consultant told me what he needed to do and said I would lose the baby if he were not delivered. I consented.I cannot describe the pain. I was allowed no pain relief as it would be safer for baby that way.

I consented to and do not regret it. I pushed my baby out within a minute. He is now 11 years old. I was sterilised shortly after.

I will never forget the experience, it makes me cry just to write this.

I think you have every right to have an EC. Speak to your consultant, I totally understand how you feel, it is like being tortured.

StarlightMcKenzie Sun 05-Feb-12 21:23:45

It won't be in your notes. DS was delivered by fundal pressure and I got my notes to try to work out wtf the SHO was doing winding me without warning and notes say SHO called, SHO arrived, baby's head out. When questioning head if midwifery was told it is not recognised obstetric practice and the pethedine must have affected my perception.

Interestingly I am on birth no.3 and told mw I am under a lot of pressure due to up and coming court case wrt ds and she automatically assumed it was with the hospital re ds' birth shock.

breatheslowly Sun 05-Feb-12 21:27:51

Are you in the UK? Did you have your first baby in the UK? Is your consultant at the same hospital as your previous births?

If I were you I would just prepare to go into a meltdown. I would have everything I wanted to say written down so if I was in full meltdown mode then the consultant could just read it. A meltdown could well give the very clear message "this is what I intend to do and I really mean it".

They keep your notes for a very long time (possibly as long as your child is alive I think) and you can get them through PALS at your hospital. You might also be able to get a birth debrief at your hospital (I think they tend to say that it is never too late to do that). Be aware that your notes might not be as detailed as your memory of the events and in my experience of a debrief there was a slight "well it isn't in your notes so your perception of the situation must have been wrong" attitude.

Beckamaw Sun 05-Feb-12 21:59:57

I am upset that others have gone through this but also slightly relieved that I am not being a drama queen. It was the singular most horrifying thing that has happened to me.
I totally understand why someone would not have another child afterwards. It took me 4 years.

I suspect it probably won't be on my notes. Would still like to see them though.

It was at Northampton General. I have had both of my children there and will be having this one there too. My consultant is also based there.

Thanks. This is enormously therapeutic. I think I needed to talk about it before seeing the consultant again.

OP’s posts: |
maxbear Mon 06-Feb-12 20:10:44

It is not physically possible to dilate a cervix from 4 to 9 cm dilated however much you try. It is not right that you were in so much pain from a vaginal examination though. As a midwife if a woman does not consent to continuing an examination if it is really painful I will tell a dr to stop. It makes me mad that so many women have such negative experiences of examinations.

It is possible to slip a lip of cervix over a babys head at 9cm dilatation in some circumstances, not always a great idea but sometimes useful.

I hope you manage to get your elective section. It sounds like you would be a good candidate. smile

Beckamaw Tue 07-Feb-12 21:46:09

Please take some time to read through the link above. I have found it cathartic and difficult to read at times.

Maxbear, it happened. A similar experience has happened to a number of people. It is unsurprising that we do not advertise our experiences. It is a violation.
I assume you are a midwife or other medical professional by your certainty in disputing the validity of my experience. I assure you it was not a rough vaginal examination.

It took me ten years to discuss this publicly. I am not suggesting that other medical professionals would advocate such a procedure. I know what happened to me.

OP’s posts: |
maxbear Wed 08-Feb-12 05:20:50

Don't tar us all with the same brush, just because I am a midwife doesn't mean I agree with doctors doing horrible things to women.

I may be wrong, but I personally have not seen anyone 'manually dilated' in 18 years as a midwife. (Apart from the last centimetre). I have seen doctors try to do it but they haven't managed to because it won't happen if the cervix is not going to dilate quickly anyway. A cervix that takes hours of contractions to get to ten cm is not going to suddenly open up fully by some manual pressure. If it worked they would all do it.

laluna Wed 08-Feb-12 08:27:11

Add my 16 yrs as a midwife and I have never seen or heard of manual dilation either (bar an anterior lip at 9cm) and fully agree with maxbear.

Op I am deeply saddened that you were so traumatised and hope that you are able to gain the support and info you need.

laluna Wed 08-Feb-12 09:17:52

Add my 16 yrs as a midwife and I have never seen or heard of manual dilation either (bar an anterior lip at 9cm) and fully agree with maxbear.

Op I am deeply saddened that you were so traumatised and hope that you are able to gain the support and info you need.

timetomoveon Wed 08-Feb-12 19:36:52

It happened to me too. Definitely happened. I was told I was 3 cm (after being told 4cm an hour previously) and was very disheartened. The obgyn asked me if I would like his help. I had no idea what that meant. He then put his hand inside me and I felt the most excruciating pain. He then withdrew his hand and told me I was now 8cm.

CervixWithASmile Wed 08-Feb-12 19:41:01

Maxbear, I know you didn't mean it badly but your comment 'if it worked they would all do it' chilled me.

Beckamaw Wed 08-Feb-12 23:43:20

If you google 'power birthing' it sounds like it is happening a lot in the US. I am actually quite pleased to read that many UK midwives are not familiar with the procedure. I am not suggesting that all midwives are conducting this procedure in secret.

I think it was a major contributor to my PND following my first birth. I had no PND after the second birth.
I also had a cervical smear at my 6 week check which resulted in a colposcopy. The consultant involved in the procedure identified damage consistent with severe birth trauma.

It happened.

OP’s posts: |
maxbear Sun 12-Feb-12 19:47:18

cervixwithasmile you are right, I didn't mean it badly, it kind of chilled me as I typed it if you know what I mean. I definitely wasn't saying that I would approve of it or think that they should do it though. Sorry if it came accross that I was blush

CervixWithASmile Sun 12-Feb-12 20:12:57

I know what you mean Maxbear, I guess it's chilling as it has a ring of truth, doesn't it! smile

claricestar Wed 15-Feb-12 21:20:29

I found this very dated article (1973) about this technique

claricestar Wed 15-Feb-12 21:23:48

sounds horrific sad
found the article when I was googling something else and then remembered this thread

splashymcsplash Thu 16-Feb-12 23:41:03

I also experienced this and it left me rather traumatised. 'My' midwife left on a break, and the lead midwife too over, asked to perform a VE. Without warning she then manually dilated my cervix. The pain was excruciating. It still makes me angry remembering this.

splashymcsplash Thu 16-Feb-12 23:45:38

I had also only been induced for a couple of hours I think, so don't understand why she did it.

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