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internal exams during childbirth

(10 Posts)
lightsandshapes Tue 04-Oct-11 09:56:27

Had my home visit by my midwife to do the birthplan yesterday. It all seemed more 'officious' than I had hoped, and she presented VEs as a 'fait accomplit'. She also had lots of regulations about where I could put my birth pool. I ended up thinking - "is this my birth or hers??".

My question - has anyone sucessfully refuse VEs and how did you go about it? It's my body afterall. hmm

LadyMaybe Tue 04-Oct-11 10:06:15

Everytime they do a VE, they will discuss it with you and ask for consent. You can decline.
Or you could agree but tell them not to tell you what the progress is if you think that finding out you're still 3cm is going to be disheartening. (for example)
The form-filling and checking of boxes is NOT what your birth will be, they just have to do certain checks and make sure they've given the advice so you can make the decisions.

MrsHuxtable Tue 04-Oct-11 11:37:27

You can insist they ask before any VE but I'm not sure you can get around them completely. Maybe if you have an easy birth but if it takes forever, how would you know you are still making progress?

I'm also planning a birth as unmedicalised as possible but I think checks for dilation are important. Not every half an hour but you know...
Even Ina May, who certainly does the natural birth thing, checks her women regularly to judge the situation. They might miss complications otherwise.

lightsandshapes Tue 04-Oct-11 11:43:28

Hmm, okay - MrsHuxtable - you're winning me over if InaMay does it, it can't be that bad!! (Glances over at book dug out this morning for reassurance). I just hate the thought of another lady with her hand up my bits and the potential for me to tense up and it slow things down....!!

MrsHuxtable Tue 04-Oct-11 11:53:05

I read the Ina May book and according to her, it's not about VE but about how they are performed that might tense you up and slow you down. If you are asked for permission and the midwife is gentle and explains things to yo, chances are bigger you will be able to stay relaxed etc...

I assume the bit about the midwife's bedside manner can be hit and miss but you can certainly insist that now random doctors, midwives, students are touching you!

MarathonMama Tue 04-Oct-11 12:41:13

I was only checked twice during my whole labour, every 5 hours they said was normal. It was also pain free, my midwife was super gentle and as everything was quite loose and wet it didn't hurt at all and was over in seconds.

icravecheese Tue 04-Oct-11 16:55:00

I was checked twice during my 1st labour - once when I arrived at hospital (just to see how dilated I was, although they said I didnt have to have internal if I thought it might dishearten me if I was only 3cm....glad I had it - was 6cm and gave me a huge boost that I was doing ok! But they would have been happy not to check if I said no). Second time was when I thought I wanted to push & they just wanted to check I was fully dilated.

With my 2nd labour, they didnt check at all - arrived at hospital & midwife said she could tell by just looking at me & monitoring frequency etc of contractions how far into labour I was. Gave birth 2hrs after arriving in hospital with no VE's at all.

Have to admit, they are very good about it at our hospital anyway - you don't lie there with everything on display, they put a sheet over you first so its all very dignified. Am sure its the same up & down the country. If you really don't want an internal then I don't think a midwife would force it unless she thought baby might be in distress & really needed to check things.

TBH, even though my VE's have been very dignified & fine - it didnt really make much difference because once you're at the pushing stage with legs akimbo, you really don't care who / what shoves their hand up there - you're so focused on delivering baby its the last thing on your mind! Good luck with the birth, its a wonderful experience x

BedHog Tue 04-Oct-11 18:49:56

I put on my first birth plan that I wanted minimal VEs, but when it came to actually giving birth I wanted lots of updates on how the dilation was progressing, and had to practically beg them to check!!

By the way, they are much more comfortable if the midwife has long fingers!!!

ToriaPumpkinPasty Tue 04-Oct-11 18:59:43

I really wasn't fussed about them until someone in my ante natal class started worrying about them! But that probably has more to do with the number of people who've been up there for testing and coil insertion/removal and various other problems in the last few years. Plus my mum's a MW so it's just another one of those things to me.

But we were told that unless baby appears to be in distress then it's standard to only check you once every few hours and that you will always be asked for consent first. Oh, and that if there is anyone in particular you don't want to touch you then you can say so!

JeanBodel Tue 04-Oct-11 19:04:37

VEs can be a good thing.

I know two people who started labour in a midwife unit but transferred for an epidural when the contractions got too strong. In both cases the MWs refused to do a VE because they knew the woman had hours to go. In both cases the woman arrived on the consultant unit and started pushing because she was 10cms dilated.

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