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Stretch and sweep so painful she had to stop- now terrified of labour

(28 Posts)
Chattycat78 Wed 14-Jan-15 11:10:35

Hi girls,

I'm completely traumatised having come back from a failed sweep this morning. My cervix is in the wrong place ( posterior) and too high apparently, so she couldn't get to it and instead i just experienced horrendous pain while she rummaged around trying to find it! I hadn't expected it to be so painful- I was literally screaming- so now I'm terrified that I'm a wimp and how am I going to handle labour if I can't even manage a sweep!?

I'm booked in to be induced on Friday!

ElphabaTheGreen Wed 14-Jan-15 11:20:04

I was terrified of having a sweep done because I knew from Pap smears that my cervix was hard to get at and I've always found them terribly uncomfortable.

Obligingly, my waters broke on DS1's due date so I never had to have one thank fuck but then, I never went into labour either, even with induction, because he was too big to descend and therefore trigger cervical dilation. DS2 just went straight to ELCS because he was even bigger.

You might get similarly lucky (sort of - going to EMCS after two days of failed induction was well-scary), or you could just demand an epidural from the get go. Modern medicine has great pain-relief options smile

Don't know if you've ever tried to get one, but when I went to have a coil put in after DS1 they couldn't do it because of the position of my cervix. Might be something to keep in the back of your mind post-birth.

babyblabber Wed 14-Jan-15 11:23:54

Ok I'll be honest. I was induced. They give you gel to open your cervix so they can insert a needle and break your waters. Most first time mothers need 2 doses of gel and the most you can get over 48 hours is 4. I had 3 and in retrospect, having talked to other people who've been induced, I should have had 4. I think the doctor just wanted to get on with it so he broke my waters and that was the most excruciatingly awful 20-30 seconds of my life. I was screaming and trying to crawl up the bed while the nurses held me down. I don't think my cervix was even close to ready and that's why it was so painful.

So your sweep was probably so sore because your cervix was just not ready. I know loads of people who've been induced and most felt nothing when their waters were broken so it's not the norm. You will be fine, they will soften your cervix and make sure it's ready, I think I was just unlucky

Hobby2014 Wed 14-Jan-15 11:26:26

I had a sweep. It hurt. It was uncomfortable. But I'm not going to lie. I was induced. It was 1000x worse. I was crying as they kept doing things to me and wouldn't stop. 3 of them with head torches etc it was horrendous. 3 days of being poked and prodded and literally nothing happening I eventually told them I refused anymore & I wanted a section. Everyone from every department came and tried to talk me out of it. They wanted to try more things. I got a section in the end. DS was undiagnosed breech and 11lb7oz. I'll never be induced again. And looking at the size of him I think I'll have a section again with future babies.

babyblabber Wed 14-Jan-15 11:26:35

Oh and contractions, although not as bad as getting my waters broken, hurt like hell but that's why epidurals were invented. They are bliss!

Chattycat78 Wed 14-Jan-15 11:27:22

Thanks for the reply- midwife didn't suggest it's because my cervix is always hard to get at- just that it's not in the right position right now and it will move/soften ready for birth. Is that not the case then?

Chattycat78 Wed 14-Jan-15 11:36:55

Thanks guys. Induction sounds terrible. Oh no- how am I going to manage it?!!!

ShootTheMoon Wed 14-Jan-15 11:39:00

Try not to worry too much. Your body isn't quite ready if the sweep was so painful - and yes, all being well your cervix will move and soften as the labour begins.

Labour is completely different - your body will produce a cocktail of hormones that should allow you to copy with the growing contractions and dilation. There are hormones to deal with pain and if the baby gets into a good position, the head will help trigger the right cascade of hormones. If that doesn't work for you, there are lots of pain relief options available.

I had a quick labour and went straight from nothing to contractions which were only a few minutes apart. But the baby was head down, ROA, and even though she was delivered with her hand over her head, I didn't need pain relief in the end - I was lucky that I could just go with the flow. I just used breathing techniques and hypnobirthing techniques - there's still time to look into these if you are interested.

Haven't read whole thread, I need to go in a mo, but had to say this.

Sweeps are unnatural. They are basically interfering with nature. Sometimes I can see why they might be necessary, and in the scheme of interventions they are probably the most preferable kind. I've had one. I found it very painful too, I used gas and air but it was still horrible (and it didn't work)


It's not that labour doesn't hurt, but it's not like a sweep! It's a natural pain, a progressive one. It's something your body is doing, it isn't being done to you. Sweeps are a bit like having somebody pick your nose for you. Often the person doing it isn't sure what they're doing, they're fumbling around, possibly doing it wrong, and if you aren't ready then they're a bad idea. The only time they work is when you're already ready to go, and then who's to say whether it was the sweep or just labour starting anyway?

You aren't ready, but at some point you will be. No more sweeps, don't be talked into interventions unless you're 42+ weeks and at the end of your tether wink let your body do its thing, it knows what to do and when to do it. Mine were 5 days late, 11 days late, 12 days late. All perfectly normal births, just took their sweet time getting round to it.

Why are you booked in to be induced? You can say no, you know. Did you know that you don't have to agree to anything you don't want to do? They can't wrestle you onto a bed and shove the gel up your whatsit, they need your permission. If all else is healthy and normal just ask for monitoring. In other places in the world you aren't considered late til 42 weeks. They've chosen an arbitrary date of 40 weeks here, based on a guessed edd from a scan. You don't have to agree to it (as long as everything's chugging along nicely, lots of movement, scans/monitoring ok)

ElphabaTheGreen Wed 14-Jan-15 11:46:37

Induction was a piece of cake for me. Didn't really hurt much at all. The midwife kept coming in, double- and triple-checking that yes, I was indeed on the maximum dose of syntocin and that yes, I was actually asking 'Is it supposed to be hurting yet?' I had a few token induced contractions that TENS, breathing and walking around helped with but that was all. It was when they realised that, after over 12 hours of this, and almost 48 hours after waters having broken spontaneously, my cervix had not shifted, softened or dialated one nanometre that DS1 wasn't coming out that way.

Unfortunately, the sheer quantity of syntocin they'd pumped into me with no effect lead to difficulties delivering the placenta and subsequently a PPH, but that's a whole different ballgame. It's not painful, but it is rather a long and exhausting recovery...

ThePriceOfMagic Wed 14-Jan-15 11:46:56

Try not to worry too much. Labour is very different to a sweep and you'll probably surprise yourself by how well you cope.

I've never had a sweep but i've always hated smears and having my IUD inserted was agony. BUT I've had 2 DCs and labour with DC1 was a breeze. I think I had 2 cervical checks and barely felt them. DC2 was more painful but that was more to do with the fact they were back to back.

Perhaps you could discuss your fears with your midwife? She might be able to put your mind at ease as well.

Chattycat78 Wed 14-Jan-15 11:47:01

James- thanks for your input, but the hospital want to induce me So I don't go over due date, so waiting until my body is ready is not really an option.

NakedFamilyFightClub Wed 14-Jan-15 11:52:33

Your experience sounds identical to mine, same issue, same excruciating pain and same traumatised feeling afterwards.

When mine failed, the midwife booked me in for an induction without really discussing my options with me. I freaked out, came on mumsnet for advice and rang back the hospital and asked them to postpone my induction.

I ended up going into labour myself at about 41+5 (if I remember right). I really think my dates were wrong and I just wasn't ready to go before then. Labour was nowhere near as painful as the sweep, I had G&A with both and I was crawling the walls during the sweep but labour was totally manageable.

Chattycat78 Wed 14-Jan-15 11:52:58

Yes I'm aware that you don't have to do anything you don't want to- however it's easier said than done when the hospital start bandying words around like 'Risk of stillbirth' if you go over due dates. It makes you feel like you should go with their recommendation or you are risking the health of your baby.

NakedFamilyFightClub Wed 14-Jan-15 11:55:28

Oh, I ended up going into labour the night after my original induction date but the day before my new one in case that info is any use.

So just because you don't respond to a sweep doesn't mean labour is miles off.

plantsitter Wed 14-Jan-15 11:56:18

I have been induced twice and I must say neither was as downright unpleasant as a long-nailed midwife bouncing me up and down by my cervix on her finger (I might've imagined the long nails but urgh).

Labour (even induced labour) was completely different.

The MOST important thing you need to do is calm down. If you don't want to be induced yet you have every right to wait it out a bit and be monitored. If you are happy to be induced you must focus on welcoming the baby and on this process being a happy thing resulting in a gorgeous squidglet at the end. I would even say it's worth paying for some relaxation things - like a massage, or acupuncture, or hypnosis, because if you can go into this with the most positive attitude you possibly can it will be less unpleasant than if you go into it fearful and not really wanting to go ahead.

Good luck! You will be great! There is nothing like the feeling of holding your newborn in your arms - think about that!

sleepyhead Wed 14-Jan-15 12:16:37

I was induced with ds1. Ten days over, failed sweep at term, nowhere near ready (the very, very junior doctor who did the sweep rather embarrassingly couldn't find my cervix at all and had to get the supervising registrar to help!)

The induction was very easy - one dose of gel, waters broke naturally 5 hours later, ds1 born 5 hours after that.

With ds2 I was 40 and wanted to be induced on my due date because I was worried about the increased risk of stillbirth due to maternal age (the consultant wasn't concerned btw but was happy to go along with it as I'd had a couple of admissions for monitoring due to blood pressure). Ds2 came by his own sweet self less that 24 hrs before the induction was due. Another easy birth, contractions started around 1.30am and he was born at 6am smile

You have lots of options and it could end up being totally fine anyway. Definitely consider an epidural if you are induced - if for nothing but to take away some of your anxiety about the pain. I didn't get one either time because it was too quick but I know lots of people who had good births with them.

The thing with sweeps is that it can massively depend on the skill of the person doing them. Some people are damn rough, or just not that skilled and it's completely unnatural having someone rummaging around in that way! The evidence behind them working is pretty poor so I'd not bother having another go if I were you.

Chattycat78 Wed 14-Jan-15 12:29:00

Thanks sleepy- that helps. I guess I wasn't prepared for how much the sweep would actually hurt! I've had lots of smears and things so it's not like I'm not used to being interfered with! Maybe I should try to Postpone the induction for a few days, as it's booked for Friday which is my due date- my body is not getting much of a chance to do it itself.....

Incidentally, the reason they want to induce is because we did IVF. No other reason, and a lot of other hospitals don't follow this policy.

sleepyhead Wed 14-Jan-15 12:40:57

You can decide on Friday if you want. No reason to go ahead if you change your mind and it's ok to do that, you don't have to tell them in advance.

You could always see whether things have changed on Friday and are moving along any.

The medical staff may well think they are making things easier for you and assuming you'll want your much waited for baby out asap. The doctor (Registrar) I saw at 28 weeks seemed to consider 38 weeks good enough and would have ok'd induction at any point after that due to my age, but of course it actually worried me more having them talk about stillbirth and the actual risk is tiny (and I wouldn't personally have considered any earlier induction than term with no other risk factors). Like I say, the Consultant was much less risk averse than his junior.

It makes sense that induction will work better if your body is gearing up anyway. You could ask them about your Bishop Score, which is a checklist of physical signs and has some correlation with the likelihood of successful induction.

Livvylongpants Wed 14-Jan-15 12:51:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Ivf or not it is your body, your choice. They said all the classic stillbirth risk stuff to me once I went "overdue" with my second but I wasn't prepared to be bullied into an unwanted medical procedure with no proper need for it. (The baby and I were totally healthy/normal, everything was fine- where's the need???) And especially because I didn't even trust the edd they'd given (we were using an ovulation predictor kit, knew exactly when we'd conceived, but when we had a scan they put my dates forward by a week) dd eventually came 11 days "late" by their dates, all by herself. They have no right to bully women into agreeing to medical procedures they don't want or, in many cases, need.

I get that you don't want a fight on your hands, I do. I hate confrontation but even I fought for this because to them it's a job, to me it's one of the most important times in my life, and my baby's life.

A lot of the time they want to induce to remove some of the waiting and guesswork for themselves, so they have a better idea of how many women they'll have on their books etc. And to cover their arses.

Screw them. Do what you want, politely and firmly. Question what they say. "And what happens if we wait? Do you have any statistics for me to look at? What's the alternative?" You won't be the first or last to do so, and they shouldn't be offended at you questioning your care. If it was a damaged shoulder or finger you'd be asking your care options, this is no different.

They'll have forgotten your name by next week, anyway. No-one will pat you on the head for having done what you're told.

Good luck whatever you choose to do. As long as you feel in control and supported, that's the main thing.

SilverStars Wed 14-Jan-15 13:16:39

My induction was ok - one pessaries inserted and wait for labour to start. It did not so 2nd pessaries inserted 24 hrs later. Lots of waiting, no pain for actual induction process.

Tranquilitybaby Wed 14-Jan-15 13:23:56

You're not dilared at the minute and your cervix hasn't softened ready for birth, so it will be painful. Try to erase it from your mind now, or you'll take it into the labour room with you. Try not to worry. Hope you're ok.

BotBotticelli Wed 14-Jan-15 14:08:09

OP I had a sweep at 40+3 and it was horribly painful.

Cervix was posterior and not ready for birth at all. On 40+5 I lost my mucus plug, 40+6 I started having contractions. And 41 weeks exactly DS arrived at 9am, normal vaginal birth. Has and air only.

The sweep was horrible and rough, but I did think it actually got my labour going.

And no part of the labor hurt as much as the sweep.

I don't know anything about IVf but I find it very surprising that they would want to induce at 40 weeks due to the manner in which the baby was conceived? What possible impact could this have on what happens at the end of pregnancy??

Call your hospital today and ask to speak to consultant and head of midwifery. Ask them to explain and show you the evidence for inducing at 40 weeks in IVf pregnancies. Ask them if this is recommended in the NICE guidelines?

Ask them to be honest with you about the risks of still birth. I thought the risks only increased after 42 weeks, not 40?? You can refuse and ask them to scan you every day to check the placenta is still working well instead?

This is your choice. Push them to explain and justify what they are saying to you with EVIDENCE.

One more thing: in France, the health service calculates the due date as being at 41 weeks gestation.

So if I lived 60 miles from my house in Kent, in Calais, DS would have come on his 'due date'

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