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To sweep or not to sweep that is the question...

(33 Posts)
helsybells Tue 18-Sep-12 19:05:33

I'm currently at 39 weeks with first baby and have been offered a stretch and sweep next Tuesday (my offical due date). Being first pregnancy I'm just really unsure whether to go for it or not. A bit worried about being squeamish, painful and labour perhaps being more uncomfortable than it would be if it just happened naturally.

I come from a family of serial overdue babies - I was 2 weeks late, my sister 2.5-3 weeks late so have been preparing myself not to get too many hopes up for a timely arrival. I also have a suspicion that they have given me an early due date from my scans earlier in the pregnancy. Calculating from the first day of my last period (Christmas day!! Can't forget that one!) I really think they have got me a bit wrong but they were certain from the scans that baby was further ahead than the calculated due date would suggest.

Having said all this baby does feel extremely "low" at times over past two weeks, exerting really strong pressure etc and I've had a phenomenal amount of BH contractions for some time now plus a few period type pains lasting for a minute or two at times. M/W also seemed to think it was really low at last appointment.

Sooooo... Just wondering what other folk think. Leave well alone or go for it! I'm just totally undecided. A week ago I was miserable and not sleeping at all then I finished work and have started sleeping really well and feeling actually more comfy than I was before. Also of course worried about baby being huge if it's late as I was a big baby and DH is a rather sizeable unit!!

Hmmmmm sad

vodkaanddietirnbru Tue 18-Sep-12 19:08:45

I had 2 with dd and they never made any difference and I went on to be induced a few days later (had gestational diabetes so they didnt want me going too overdue)

Katienana Tue 18-Sep-12 19:13:51

Go for it, if it starts you off its better than being induced.

minipie Tue 18-Sep-12 19:14:24

From my (limited) knowledge I understand that labour following a sweep is pretty much like natural spontaneous labour. It's not fast like labour following an induction drip is.

I wait to be corrected though...

However, there is no reason for you to accept it if you don't want it. 40 weeks is not overdue so not sure why they are suggesting it for then. I'd ask them for monitoring after 40 weeks instead, and then a sweep when you get fed up!

PineappleBed Tue 18-Sep-12 19:20:53

I've never heard anything about it making labour any different to how it is naturally. It's not like a drip.

It's about as uncomfortable as a smear and they've done 10000000 before so don't let that put you off.

I'd do it.

mameulah Tue 18-Sep-12 19:24:43

For what it is worth I think I would do it aswell. For no other reason than I am really excited about meeting our baby, I would just be too tempted. Hope whatever you choose goes well!

Traceymac2 Tue 18-Sep-12 19:29:03

I have had two sweeps, they were both quite painful I have to say. From what I have heard if you aren't ready for labour then a sweep won't induce it but it may hurry things along a little if you are ready. It didnt make my labours any more difficult, it encourages your body to respond in a natural way. An oxytocin drip will cause the labour to be more painful in my experience not a sweep. Good luck!

PrimaBallerina Tue 18-Sep-12 19:34:44

I had a sweep at 40+4 and it did the trick. I can't see how it would make labour worse. It just triggers your natural labour I thought.

So yes I would.

Nottigermum Tue 18-Sep-12 19:37:34

There's a chance that the cervex won't be ready enough - too hard - to do the sweep, so they might try but might not be able to. I went for three sweeps (two for first baby, they couldn't do it because of above reason, and one for second birth and it did speed things along I think).

It's a very mechanical process, there are no drugs involved, and doesn't mean that labour won't start naturally.

With my three, only one was painful I think it's because the midwife had very small hands and she had to push loads to reach the cervex. The other times were not much worst than a smear.

And I would do it again no questions.

helsybells Tue 18-Sep-12 19:50:30

Thanks for the thoughts so far everyone. I really want baby to arrive soon but am just worried about the sweep being painful if things aren't "ready" yet, I guess... I just have this idea in my head of things just coming on naturally at home and that makes me feel a bit more "ok" with the whole scary prospect too. Whereas "making" things happen just makes me feel less comfortable about everything at this stage.

Also, maybe I'm being a wimp but I had a m/w appointment about 3 weeks ago where she couldn't feel baby's head as it was so low and she poked and prodded so much I was really uncomfy and that night I had a terrible night in quite a lot of discomfort. This will be the same person who will do my sweep and she is lovely and very experienced but am a bit anxious that if a simple tummy examination can be that painful what will one of her sweeps be like!!!?

flubba Tue 18-Sep-12 19:52:23

I had five or six with DC3 and it made no difference whatsoever. Was blinkin' uncomfortable though.

AFAIK it works if your cervix is ready. But if your cervix is ready, you'll go into labour anyway, so I personally wouldn't recommend it.

helsybells Tue 18-Sep-12 19:59:26

Thanks flubba. I wonder if the m/w can easily tell if cervix is ready before they go ploughing ahead....? Maybe I'll ask them to proceed with caution??...

Traceymac2 Tue 18-Sep-12 20:02:07

What an exciting time, my dd3 is now 18 wks and I feel I could do it all again! Then sanity kicks in!

If your cervix isn't soft and effacing, they won't do it any way. It takes about a minute, even if it is uncomfortable a minute isn't long.

Even in labour I felt that I wasn't ready for dd1! it was just too surreal a prospect to get my head around. If you don't want to do it don't but really it is no big deal.

helsybells Tue 18-Sep-12 20:04:11

Thanks so much Traceymac that's made me feel a bit better that it only lasts about a minute. I had some five minute ordeal in my head. I know what you mean about still not feeling ready in labour, I fear I might feel similar though everything is ready at home etc etc.

Traceymac2 Tue 18-Sep-12 20:08:25

It is such an amazing experience though, you will forget all of this as soon as you are holding your baby, it's all worth it I promise!

SmellsLikeTeenStrop Tue 18-Sep-12 20:15:28

I've had a sweep and it was uncomfortable and felt a bit weird but it was bearable. As traceymac said, it doesn't take long and it's probably no worse than a smear.

I have my 41+ week midwives appointment tomorrow and I'm going to ask for a sweep to be done. I went in to labour the same day as the sweep last time and I hope that happens again.

flubba Tue 18-Sep-12 20:39:00

Maybe I was unlucky then, because mine were a lot more painful than a smear, and gave me a few afterpains too or maybe that was more to do with the 12lber I was lugging around hmm

Very exciting for you. Am envy despite having three ~ I'd love another! smile

AliceHurled Tue 18-Sep-12 20:59:35

I wouldn't. Maybe if it gets to actually be late, I'd consider it, although my plan in acupuncture if I get to that stage. I don't see the point of meddling, and they can push bacteria from the vagina higher up and could catch the waters. But I'm generally pretty anti meddle. I'd much rather just wait until he's ready.

wigglesrock Tue 18-Sep-12 21:06:48

I had sweeps with my first two children and did not make a button of difference - one was 9 days over and I was induced with the second (ps my induction was the easiest of my labours shock).

I had a sweep with dc3 two days before my due date, it worked, went into labour about 6 hours after the sweep - the only thing I did differently was to go for a really big walk about 2 hours after the sweep oh and carry a 2 year old who "got sooooo tired". Good luck grin

PMMummy Tue 18-Sep-12 21:16:57

I would but perhaps not on your due date, perhaps a week later if still waiting around. With DD1 I had 2 - one at around 41 weeks which did nothing and another at about 12 days over, which worked but I honestly think was just a complete fluke and she was on her way anyway.
DD2 however is another story - had 4 and quite frankly she would have still been in my stomach to this day, nothing was shifting that girl.
Think I am in the camp of give it a whirl, nothing to lose.

Midgetm Tue 18-Sep-12 22:52:34

I would have one. but I am impatient I found it a lot less painful than a smear.

mynameisalexdrake Tue 18-Sep-12 23:37:01

I had two sweeps, 1 at 40+3 and the other at 40+7, neither did any good and I was induced at 40+12. Although the sweeps didn't work I don't regret having them, weren't painful and over with in less than a minute. I was keen to avoid induction so would've tried anything to get baby to budge.

If you're really not sure you could skip the 40 week sweep and reconsider for the 41 week midwife appointment.

Nottigermum Wed 19-Sep-12 07:21:14

The bacteria problem is very unlikely. Whoever does it uses sterile gloves, not normal examination gloves. Be prepared though, I was very anti meddling, prepared for home birth, had acupuncture, hypno birth, etc but ended up with a lot of interventions which ultimately saved DS's life. I think that a sweep is the mildest of the meddling, iyswim.

MakeTeaNotWar Wed 19-Sep-12 08:00:25

helsy thank you for your post as I am in exactly the same position - 40 weeks at next app next Wed and midwife has offered a sweep.

On balance I think I am going to ask her to try at 41 weeks. Like you, my last LMP was Boxing Day so by my reckoning, not due until Oct 2 whereas scan gave me Sep 26....don't want waters to break then no labour as a result so going to wait another week (arrrgh!)

helsybells Wed 19-Sep-12 12:11:30

Thanks again everyone for the feedback - still undecided. I keep going through moments of "oh I'll just do it" and then, "actually I think it's best to leave be"... Maybe I'll be so busy making my mind up baby will make an appearance of their own accord!!! Let's hope!

MakeTeaNotWar (love your username btw!!! :D) So interesting to hear we are in identical boats on due dates. So maybe if they gave us both 26th September this is because officially a pregnancy is actually just a little bit shorter than the so-called calculators would suggest - I guess a proper NHS scan should be more accurate than an online calculator! ;)

I know what you mean about waiting until 41 weeks too. I'm tempted to do that too and maybe try some other "home remedies" in the meantime!

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