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What does a sweep involve?

(25 Posts)
Kittenrush Fri 21-Oct-16 15:38:23

Ladies (and gentleman if there are any out there)

Could someone please explain to me exactly what a stretch and sweep involves??
Do they hurt as much as people say or is it worth it to evict the LO?

Heirhelp Fri 21-Oct-16 15:45:40

Basically a midwife will put on a rubber glove on and will stretch her hand as far as she can to get her fingers to your cervix and then 'sweeps' her fingers around your cervix. It is more uncomfortable than a smear but nothing compared to labour. There is no evidence it works but midwives often suggest it in the hope it works, as it is better to go into labour naturally than be induced.

Kittenrush Fri 21-Oct-16 16:06:27

Sorry to be graphic, but how many fingers? I try and be chill but I'm really bad with internal exams and stuff, I've been told I'm almost impossible to get a smear from because I tense up so badly (possibly due to a bad sexual experience as I used to be fine) I have tried everything to relax, but I find it all really painful.
Wondering if I should just refuse one and let my body crack on by itself

Ca55andraMortmain Fri 21-Oct-16 16:12:30

Couldn't say how many fingers but to be honest if you find smear tests difficult I would decline a sweep. If you're very tense the midwife will struggle to get to your cervix and sweeps often don't work anyway. I would let your body do its thing naturally. Good luck with the birth!

myfamily6 Fri 21-Oct-16 16:14:28

I declined a sweep as i always found internals/smears very u comfortable. I went into labour that day anyway.

myfamily6 Fri 21-Oct-16 16:14:58

Sorry should be uncomfortable

Ilikegin Fri 21-Oct-16 16:19:16

Sweeps are very uncomfortable, verging on painful (or at least mine were) I had two and they didn't work!
I would mention though that if they need to break your waters it is very similar.
I was willing to try anything and as PP said its not as bad as labour but from what you say about tensing during your smear I would suggest declining unless absolutely necessary.
I think there were two fingers btw.

Ilikegin Fri 21-Oct-16 16:20:23

Forgot to add.. I also had an intense period type pain for ages after each sweep.

Heirhelp Fri 21-Oct-16 16:32:12

I have no idea how many fingers. Have you made your midwife aware of your history of sexual assault?

Kittenrush Fri 21-Oct-16 17:21:15

Thanks for your replies, uncomfortable I can deal with. I'm usually pretty good with pain it's just anything down there makes me wig out a bit. However my midwife is an absolute love so I'm sure she would be sensitive.
No heir I haven't, I sort of thought I had dealt with it but maybe not, do you think I should mention it?

Mummyme87 Fri 21-Oct-16 18:30:54

A sweep is two fingers in your vagina and finding your cervix which is likely to be very far back. You may be asked to put your hands into fists and put them under the top of your pelvis to tilt your pelvis and bring your cervix foreword. If your cervix is open a finger or two of its open enough will go in to your cervix and sweep around and around in a circular motion between your cervix and the membranes to release prostaglandins. A sweep is only performed if your cervix is open enough to get a finger into the right place. Some women find them pain free all the way up to excruciating

Flisspaps Fri 21-Oct-16 18:49:44

Don't have one - they don't work if you're not ready to labour anyway (and if you're ready, it'll happen by itself)

Why give yourself stress unnecessarily?

IamChipmunk Sat 22-Oct-16 08:51:38

I declined any sweeps with dc1.
as PP have said, they only work if your cervix is favourible anyway in which case labour is iminent.

I did have one with Dc2 because I had been contracting for 2 days but not making much progress. I was already 4cm when she did it and it worked a treat! Although perhaps contractions would have kicked off anyway. Who knows!
I wouldn't say it hurt but was uncomfortable but I was already contracting so again hard to tell.

Kittenrush Sat 22-Oct-16 09:32:10

Thanks everyone, I think I'll see what she says and go from there. She's very understanding and now I know what to expect I can go in a bit more prepared. I had heard horror stories about midwifes putting their entire hands up there and I just could not deal with that at all! Thanks again everyone you've put my mind at ease xx

Heirhelp Sat 22-Oct-16 09:35:46

I would definitely mention your history to your midwife and make sure the midwife who is going to help you give birth knows. You can include it on your birth plan if you would rather not telling them verbally.

HappyGirl86 Sat 22-Oct-16 15:30:06

I had two sweep when I was pregnant with my baby girl. One at 40 weeks and one at 40+5. Both were uncomfortable and painful and if I had another baby I would choose not to have one.
Just wanted to share my experience but of course it is your choice, and you have to do what you think is best.
Either way, I hope it all goes well for you!

31weeksgone Sat 22-Oct-16 15:33:21

In all honesty, it was awful but then I had a butcher of a midwife. She patted my leg and the consultant told me she would definitely get things started and it was agonising, a bit like labour. I had 2, that first awful one and a second with a different midwife, that one was painful but manageable not like the first awful one. I had intense period pains after both so I started timing them thinking they were contractions, they weren't! Took another week after both sweeps for it to happen. I would personally decline them, they're invasive and not present. I'm sorry if this sounds scary but I wish somebody had been 100% honest with me! X

GreenGoblin0 Sat 22-Oct-16 15:34:36

I had one attempted sweep but midwife couldn't do it as cervix closed. Second time round it worked. it was pretty uncomfortable and much more invasive than a smear. Wasn't completely prepared for how it would be tbh. am convinced it worked though as waters broke the following morning.

obviously you don't need to consent to it but as others have said you should really discuss your history with your midwife as you are likely to need a number of internal exams during labour.

silverfishlondon Sat 22-Oct-16 18:28:31

Had an attempted sweep and cervix too far back for her to reach with me tollerating. Declined a second week later. Ended up induced. Doctor used the word 'witchcraft' to describe sweeps- ie. Not alot of evidence!
Ps.for induction I had pessary inserted which was v painful ( scratchy up there) and declined gas and air- would ask for gas if had it again!

Kittenrush Sat 22-Oct-16 22:58:26

Hmm definitely more to think about, I'll chat it over with her but I'm swayed towards declining now. Thanks again for your responses. I guess my body and baby will do their thing when everything is all ready. I'm in no rush really smile

Kittenrush Tue 01-Nov-16 12:05:29

Decided to go ahead and do the sweep and it didn't hurt at all! I guess it's all down to the individual but it really felt absolutely fine! Thanks again for all your advice smile

Ilikegin Tue 01-Nov-16 12:31:46

Glad it went ok for you! Hope it works!!

Kittenrush Tue 01-Nov-16 16:51:54

Thank youuu x

Have you thought about what you may do if you're induced? I'm not saying this to worry you but I think pre planning is best (I was abused when I was younger so understand your fears) as if you need to be induced you will have an pessery and internal exams. To be honest, I was so tired that in the end it didn't actually bother. God knows how many different hands I had up there by the end of my induction/labour/c-section

Kittenrush Tue 01-Nov-16 21:49:36

I definitely hadn't thought this far ahead, thank you for the warning. I was so chilled today that I feel a lot more confident about anything that may come. Forewarned is forearmed though! Definitely best to know what to expect smile xx

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