Natural Birth

Cervical check? WWYD

My doctor likes to do checks at 36 weeks when he does the GBS swab. He said it wasn't necessary to have anymore unless I go past my due date but that I can have them weekly. At 36 weeks he said I wasn't dilated at all but that the baby's head was very low. I didn't get any info about effacement. I left feeling a little bummed becuase I had been having lots of cramps and wondered if those might have caused progress.

When my doula palpitated to feel the baby a few days later she felt that his head was rather high. I thought this was strange because my doc had commented that his head was low and somewhat engaged.

So my question is this: Should I get checked at my 37 week appointment tomorrow? It will be a different doctor since mine will be out of town, not that that matters a ton. I'm so dang curious to see if my continued cramps have made any progress yet, to ask about effacement, and to see if his head is still very low. But on the other hand, I'm nervous that zero progress will just discourage me. What would you moms do?
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Re: Cervical check? WWYD

  • I don't think cervical checks are a big deal. Some moms on here are very against them because they don't really tell you much (you can go from 0-10 in a day or you can walk around at 2 for weeks) they increase the risk of infection (slightly) and they can cause confusion and frustration. If you are curious and want to know what's going on I don't think it hurts to get one. Try not to read into the results too much though because it really won't tell you when you'll go into labor.
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  • If it's going to discourage then don't do it.  What's the point?  
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  • I would not.  Cervical checks don't tell you when you will go into labor. You can walk around at 3 cm for weeks.  I feel that they make you worry/focus on a number to much.  I would avoid any more checks until you are 40 weeks.
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  • image aylafsu88:
    I would not.nbsp; Cervical checks don't tell you when you will go into labor. You can walk around at 3 cm for weeks.nbsp; I feel that they make you worry/focus on a number to much.nbsp; I would avoid any more checks until you are 40 weeks.


    You are probably totally right. I think that's what I needed to hear. I'm just going to resist the temptation!
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  • I personally want to be checked every week. I thought that was standard procedure. I think it's just kind of fun to know when you actually are progressing. 
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  • image aylafsu88:
    I would not.  Cervical checks don't tell you when you will go into labor. You can walk around at 3 cm for weeks.  I feel that they make you worry/focus on a number to much.  I would avoid any more checks until you are 40 weeks.

    This. I'm declining all cervical checks anyhow, unless I'm going overdue or "failing to progress in labor" and need to make a medical decision on how to proceed.

  • I personally prefer not to get checked until I'm in labor, if even then.  So, for where I am, I would decline if it was me.
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  • April!April!
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    I never had any because I figured it would just lead to disappointment. Either I would be not dilated at all and be disappointed, or I would be dilated some but not go into labor for weeks and be disappointed about that!
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  • I would do it, but my situation is a little different. I walk around slowly dilating without noticeable contractions for weeks. With DS1, before I even felt my first labor contraction, I was at 5 cm and 90%. While it was frustrating to know that my labor wasn't starting even though my cervix was changing, it was a relief when labor started to know that I was "halfway" there before I even started. So, there was a silver lining for me. I will do it again.
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  • I didn't get any checks last time and don't plan to this time. I don't want to get discouraged at no progress. I don't want to get my hopes up at progress that isn't labour. I don't like hands in my vagina poking my cervix.

    The way I figure it, I'm pretty unlikely to go into labour at 36 or 37 weeks no matter what they tell me, so why bother? Once I pass 40 weeks - if I do - I might consider it then just to be able to know my options regarding possible induction. I never made it that far last time, so it was a non-issue. 

  • I would decline further checks.

    I had exactly one cervical check during my pregnancy. It was in L&D triage when I was insisting that I was having.my.baby.right.now. and the midwife did not believe me because I had only been in labor for about 8 hours. (I was at 10 and DD was born 90 minutes later).

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  • ec0983ec0983
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    image Aurora_Borealis:

    I would decline further checks.

    I had exactly one cervical check during my pregnancy. It was in L&D triage when I was insisting that I was having.my.baby.right.now. and the midwife did not believe me because I had only been in labor for about 8 hours. (I was at 10 and DD was born 90 minutes later).

    we must have had the same midwife!  lol.  i would refuse the check... i'm a big believer that ignorance is bliss.  knowing how much progress you made isn't gonna tell you when you're actually going to go into labor, so it's not super important information to have, kwim? 

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  • I was glad that I got checked. It did make it a little frustrating that I was stuck at 2cm for a couple weeks but when I got to the hospital and I was 4 cm, I knew how much I had dilated. But other PPs are right. I had a 39 hour labor and I was at 4 cm from the time I got to the hospital until about a half hour before she was born. I just went from 4 - 10 in a matter of minutes.
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  • I skip them pre-labor and minimize or avoid during labor as well. Current status is not any indicator of when baby will come or how quickly things will change. I had one my entire PG with DS2 and the one I chose was well into labor and I was about 8cm. since I had a multi-day labor with DS1, I needed emotional reassurance that this labor was on track to be shorter.
  • I wouldn't get checked.  It really tells you nothing about when you will go into labor, and it's important for you to stay positive and not get discouraged.  Good Luck!
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  • I'm 37 weeks and my kid sure does not stay in the same place throughout the day!  The head will be very low at some points and higher at others, it really just depends on what I'm doing/been doing throughout the day.  Also you should be able to feel on the outside where the baby is, no cervical check needed.  Personally I'd just be happy the baby is head down and let him/her go at their own time and try not to worry about it.

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  • I'd decline, too.  With my first, I had them routinely starting, gosh, I don't know when.  I never questioned it.  But as I was approaching my due date, I actually burst into tears when she told me that I hadn't progressed at all since the last week.  That was when I knew that those things weren't doing me any favors :)  I had one at week 40 with #2 because, after palpating me, the MW thought that the baby might not be head down (yikes!), so she asked to do an internal to get more info.  (She did it and I can't remember what my numbers were, but they didn't show me anywhere close to labor...  I had DS a few days later after a very quick labor.  So it obviously meant nothing.)  With this one, I know the Ob is going to ask to do one next appointment, and I'm going to decline.  I can't handle the information and even though I know it doesn't mean anything, it just discourages me.  :)
  • I skipped them for my own sanity. Having them would have just driven me crazy.
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  • Understanding that the status isn't an indicator of when I'll go into actual labor, I'm choosing to have weekly checks so I know where I'm at. Just knowing as much as possible about what's going on with my body and baby eases my anxiety. I'm 35 weeks and will start the weekly checks next week.
  • image abell77:
    I wouldn't get checked.  It really tells you nothing about when you will go into labor, and it's important for you to stay positive and not get discouraged.  Good Luck!

    This. My OB insisted on one at 39+ weeks and all the info of "0cm and 0%" did was discourage me. 48 hours later I had a baby in my arms.



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  • One way or the other, dilated or not, they don't tell you anything about when the baby is coming.

    When your baby is ready, the baby sends out a chemical signal that starts your body into labor. Some people drop early, some drop during labor... so all these things are interesting facts, but not necessarily meaningful. All you can really do is wait!

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  • shiwayshiway
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    Well my question is why is your doula checking your baby. Doulas are not trained in anything medical and shouldn't be making those kinds of statements. 2nd: if you do get checked and find out you have made some "progress" it doesn't really tell you anything. A women can get checked and be a zero and then an hour later go into labor. But if you're curious and don't mind them go for it.
  • Cervical checks IMO are not necessary. They only tell you where you're at currently, and give no good indication of what is coming, plus they aren't exactly comfortable!
  • A friend of mine walked around at 4 cm for four weeks before she went into labor. She had a cervical check every week at the insistence of her doctor, and she told me that she regretted it. 

    Personally, I wouldn't do it. Like others have said, it's not going to tell you when you're going to go into labor. It's just going to make you more uncomfortable and whatnot. 

    If the new doctor offers to check you without saying anything, I would consider, but I wouldn't ask for it.
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  • I only ever had one cervical check and that was with my first.  I was spontaneously pushing and they wanted to make sure I wasnt doing it through any cervix.  I was 9.5 and they just let me do my thing.

    With my second I came into the birth center and blasted him out (had him within 9min of arriving) so no checks then.

    personally, I am in the camp of not wanting to know.


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  • I always have them, and I always feel discouraged when nothing is going on. At this point, baby can still move up and down. If you are planning of going natural, then there's really not point to getting checked. Just wait for things to start.
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