Refusing Vaginal Exams — The Bump
February 2012 Moms

Refusing Vaginal Exams

Hi everyone, Okay a little back story - I do not believe in vaginal exams or pap smears in the first place. I feel that they are outdated procedures that offer little to no benefit for asymptomatic women. I have never had a pap or a pelvic exam and I probably never will. Please do not be alarmed, many medical professionals back my opinion. I do not wish to get into an argument over the importance of gynecology and how at risk my, oh so prone to disease and infection, vagina is. It is fear mongering and I will never believe otherwise and I do not care what you believe. With that said, I plan to get an epidural as soon as possible when I am in the hospital. However, I do not want a vaginal exam to determine if I am in active labor or not - can I demand they assess my progress through other means and still receive the epidural? Can they refuse me the epidural if I do not comply with VEs? When it is time to push I may not feel the urge, are their other reliable ways to tell if a woman who has had an epidural and cannot feel anything is ready to push? Thanks!
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Re: Refusing Vaginal Exams

  • Nope. there's no other way you won't feel it so you will have to be checked. Good luck at trying to not get checked throughout the entire process, you will need to be checked to make sure the baby isn't in the wrong position!!

     You are in a dream world if you think you won't need to be checked throughout labor.

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  • I would check with your OB.  Maybe c-section is right for you, that way your vagina is not involved.

    "When the world says, 'Give up,' Hope whispers, 'Try one more time.'" -Anonymous

  • What other means do they have to even confirm you are dialating or progressing other than hooking you up to monitor your contractions???? I can understand not wanting to do pap smears, etc, but In this situation, it is kinda vital that you check for dialation and progression of your labor. And I highly doubt they are going to let you have an epidural if they dont know how far along you are in the process because they dont want to slow down your labor. Have you discussed this with your doctor yet?
  • image momyof22b:
    Nope. there's no other way you won't feel it so you will have to be checked. Good luck at trying to not get checked throughout the entire process, you will need to be checked to make sure the baby isn't in the wrong position!!

     

    At some point you are going to need to be checked for sure! Why would you refuse that?


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  • How in the world did you get pregnant in the first place, keeping everything so far from your vagina? I can't decide if this is real or not because it is so ridiculous! Oh and Welcome to the board?
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  • I'd ask one of the medical professionals who backs your opinion, as you say.  I would hazard to guess that all of us have had a pap smear and plan to get checked at some point during labor.
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  • I'm  FTM but I've noticed a trend of pregnancy being pretty vagina related!! So good luck with that one!
  • Why do you want to get the epi immediately? Epi's often slow down labor & you would be on strong medication for a long time. You many want to give yourself the opportunity to go through early labor without it, you may not even need it. I'm not knocking epi's, in any way, just curious to why you are in a rush to get it. Do you have other medical issues or maybe fear issues?

    I plan on only being checked during admission. I have requested to opt out of cervical checks the weeks leading up to labor and after the initial check at the hospital.

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  • image Moore29:
    I'm  FTM but I've noticed a trend of pregnancy being pretty vagina related!! So good luck with that one!

    Something about your post made me laugh out loud...and, I needed it--so thank you!

     

    Considering what's going to be coming out during labor, I have a feeling I'm not going to care enough to make sure nothing goes in...especially if my whole bottom half is numb. 

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  • Wait - I'm confused. 

    You're NOT ok with basic vaginal exams to determine the status of your cervix and child, a practice that is drug free and aside from the akward factor is minimally invasive -
    but you're OK with having a drug injected into your spinal column to make you essentially temporarily paralyzed in the lower half of your body so that you do not have to feel the pain of birth...?

    Do I have that right?

    If so - I'm not touching this conversation with a ten foot pole.

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  • Really? since I am okay with having sex with my fiancee I should be okay with all vagina related issues? That's a ridiculous mentality. but thanks for being judgmental and completely not helpful!
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  • image Moore29:
    I'm  FTM but I've noticed a trend of pregnancy being pretty vagina related!! So good luck with that one!

    RIGHT?!  You're not going to want to give birth vaginally if you don't want anything near your vagina and are afraid of infection.  It usually gets pretty torn up when a child comes busting through it. 

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  • I had a epidural and was still able to tell when it was time to push...it felt like I needed to take a HUGE dump! TMI...sorry. But maybe my epidural was less effective then others?

    With that said..I can't imagine any doctor willing to ok an epidural without first checking your cervix. Also, most hospitals will want to check you before even giving you a labor room...they need to be sure you are in active labor. 

    And with ALL that aside....I want to let you know.....your doctor (even with your epidural) will be ALL up in your vagina as you are pushing. With fingers...and her face will be just a foot or so away from it. With nurses on looking....so why not just let her stick her medical fingers in there under the sheet and check you??

  • image Moore29:
    I'm  FTM but I've noticed a trend of pregnancy being pretty vagina related!! So good luck with that one!

    Yes

    This is such an odd question!  Why would someone withhold pain relief because you're refusing vaginal exams?  One potential answer would be that the epidural is usually timed to stage of labor, and it's more difficult to assess your stage in labor if your dilation, effacement, station, etc cannot be checked.  Plus, some cervical change must be noted to confirm that you're even in labor.  I don't think it would be kept from you as punishment for not cooperating with exams to just be mean to you.  However, it certainly would not be given to you if it's determined that it would not be medically safe.  You don't get to order it yourself, or "demand" it like you're ordering fries with that!   I guess it would be a good idea to have a long conversation with whomever is delivering your baby so that he or she knows that the vagina is off limits, and see how that goes over with their idea of appropriate patient management. 

    This is, of course, keeping in mind that in  general, we do not withold things like pain medications an antibiotics from people even if they want to leave against medical advice at my job in the ER.  We are in the business of being compassionate and caring for people.  This isn't junior high.  You have a right to determine what happens to your body.  But, I don't have to do anything from a medical standpoint as a physican if I don't think it's in the patient's best interest or medically indicated, just because they want it. 

    Anyway, good luck with that.

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  • MessageAre you planning on the baby coming or your mouth?! Pretty sure your going to have to get your vag checked at many points during labor. but what do I know. I am a ftm. Ask pinksweetpea2. She seems to have the right answer for everything. :)
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  • You can request an epidural immediately - you don't have to be the standard 4cm it is just preferred for the reason you mentioned...but again, not necessary. Like you said, monitoring contractions is an option to determine how progressed labor is, I do know there are a few other ways...apparently there is a blue line on your back that appears and rises as you dilate...?  It is not vital to check for dilation through VE but it is easier for the medical professional and the most common way to do so. I am just looking for viable alternatives. 
  • image krisdemeanor:
    Really? since I am okay with having sex with my fiancee I should be okay with all vagina related issues? That's a ridiculous mentality. but thanks for being judgmental and completely not helpful!

    In all honesty, this question will probably be best answered on the Natural Births board. I'm no knocking on ANYONE's beliefs or wants for labor. But, my only question is, along the lines a previous post...why do you want the Epidural immediately? I just think that waiting to see how your body processes the labor and dialation might be better, then decide after being there for a while. I also think that you should really talk to your doctor about this, i'm sure there are other ways to check, but they may not be up to your liking either...just look at all the options first, but i will re state my first point. The natural births board might be the best option with this question...

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  • Oh okay, I will go ask the doctors involved in the studies I read, perhaps I'll send a letter to the author of the book "Male Practice" and ask him If i can avoid vaginal exams and still receive an epidural on my terms. Thanks for basically answering my question with "I don't know and no one else on here does either." Why even post?
  • I couldn't get past "I don't believe in vaginal exams." It's not Judaism or Santa Claus, it's a medical procedure. It's not like your "disbelief" is going to wipe it off the earth... It exists for a very valid reason.

    Sure hope you never end up with HPV or cervical cancer.

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  • image krisdemeanor:
    You can request an epidural immediately - you don't have to be the standard 4cm it is just preferred for the reason you mentioned...but again, not necessary. Like you said, monitoring contractions is an option to determine how progressed labor is, I do know there are a few other ways...apparently there is a blue line on your back that appears and rises as you dilate...?  It is not vital to check for dilation through VE but it is easier for the medical professional and the most common way to do so. I am just looking for viable alternatives. 

     Well it seems that you are much more knowledgable about this topic than the rest of us, so why are you even bothering to continue to ask us the same questions???

  • image krisdemeanor:
    You can request an epidural immediately - you don't have to be the standard 4cm it is just preferred for the reason you mentioned...but again, not necessary. Like you said, monitoring contractions is an option to determine how progressed labor is, I do know there are a few other ways...apparently there is a blue line on your back that appears and rises as you dilate...?  It is not vital to check for dilation through VE but it is easier for the medical professional and the most common way to do so. I am just looking for viable alternatives. 

    As in a vein?

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  • I can understand denying an annual VE if you truly don't believe in them.  I can even understand denying a pap while pregnant, but it seems essential that you be checked while in labor.  Definitely something to ask your OB but my initial thought is that they can deny you the epi if they can't judge your progress... it's their butt on the line too.
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  • While I very much believe that vaginal exams before labor are not necessary (although I do disagree with you about Paps) and that they can be limited during labor in many cases, I do not think that it is acceptable to expect a Dr. or hospital to agree to giving you an epidural without any checks.

    It would be one thing if you were planning on giving birth naturally and able to feel what is going on with your body- in most cases you could very well get away with no checks.  However, if you choose to have an intervention performed that limits (and in some cases) incapacitates your ability to feel the signs that your body is sending, then you have to be willing to consent to another method of monitoring- and in this case it is vaginal checks.   The only other option I could think of  would be to turn off the epidural periodically to see if you felt an urge to push...but I can't imagine that would be acceptable to any Dr. or hospital.

    You have every right to refuse any procedures that are offered to you, however the hospital also has a right to refuse to give you the epidural if you do not comply with their procedures.  While I think a lot of hospital protocol is silly, I do think if you agree to a medical intervention such as this, you also need to follow the proper protocol suggested for the medial procedure.  Changing the method of how the drug is intended to be used can result in not so hot outcomes for the mother and baby.

    Have you considered going naturally?  There are plenty of MW who would agree to no internals unless absolutely necessary. 

     


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  • image krisdemeanor:
    Oh okay, I will go ask the doctors involved in the studies I read, perhaps I'll send a letter to the author of the book "Male Practice" and ask him If i can avoid vaginal exams and still receive an epidural on my terms. Thanks for basically answering my question with "I don't know and no one else on here does either." Why even post?

     But we'd lose out on the entertainment. If you're so damned above us, why didn't you just go to your all-knowing hippie doctors first? Like a bunch of normal women who go through these normal procedures are gonna know wtf is going to happen to YOU when YOU go into labor.

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  • I'm thinking this is MUD given the weird first time post, but in case it's not....

    In the birth class I'm taking they specifically said it's unlikely an EPI would be administered early because they wait until you are past a certain dilation point to ensure that they will not slow down labor and cause complications. Since most medical professionals don't rely on crystal balls for these types of determintions I think they're going to want to take a big ol' peek inside that vag of yours if you are even thinking about an EPI. I can't imagine why or how you'd avoid having someone look at your vagina and in fact it seems like an important way for the doctors or midwives to be sure that you're progressing well and that the health and risk of to you and your baby is in a safe zone.

    So yes- I think that a doctor could (and should) hold that epi 'hostage' until you give them a looksie.

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  • How about you opt for major surgery - a C-section - that way, your precious vagina will remain untouched.  That makes much more sense than allowing a medical professional check your dilation and the position of your baby.

     What world do you live in, btw??

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  • image krisdemeanor:
    Oh okay, I will go ask the doctors involved in the studies I read, perhaps I'll send a letter to the author of the book "Male Practice" and ask him If i can avoid vaginal exams and still receive an epidural on my terms. Thanks for basically answering my question with "I don't know and no one else on here does either." Why even post?

    I think you took the suggestion wrong.  The suggestion is to talk to your OB or MW or to find one who will be in the room with you, who is able to honor your wishes with the way they actually practice medicine.  I think having a letter from an author of a book, assuming an OB, in the room with you won't be as helpful. 

    Maybe the Natural Birth board will be able to give some advice. 

    "When the world says, 'Give up,' Hope whispers, 'Try one more time.'" -Anonymous

  • image ALHolli:

    I couldn't get past "I don't believe in vaginal exams." It's not Judaism or Santa Claus, it's a medical procedure. It's not like your "disbelief" is going to wipe it off the earth... It exists for a very valid reason.

    Sure hope you never end up with HPV or cervical cancer.

     

    Okay, I do not participate in these procedures because I believe the necessity  for them does not exist...like Santa clause. I do not understand your necessity to make fun of someone and offer no valuable information. wtf? 

  • How on earth would any of us know what your doctor will or won't do? Ask your doctor. Anything anyone tells you on here will be pure speculation.
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  • image ALHolli:


    If you're so damned above us, why didn't you just go to your all-knowing hippie doctors first?

    Please do not compare "hippie" Dr. and MW with this kook.  ;b

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  • image momyof22b:

    Nope. there's no other way you won't feel it so you will have to be checked. Good luck at trying to not get checked throughout the entire process, you will need to be checked to make sure the baby isn't in the wrong position!!

     You are in a dream world if you think you won't need to be checked throughout labor.

    You actually do not have to do anything you do not want to and I know several women who were not checked throughout the process although they were having natural births. I also know several women who could still feel the urge even with an epidural and were able to avoid VEs altogether as well. I know all of the reasons people get vaginal exams during delivery and I know they are not always necessary...that was not my question...my question is if they can hold my epidural hostage.

  • An honest suggestion...pick up Natural Hospital Birth, by Cynthia Gabriel tonight. Thought an Epi wouldn't be a natural birth, it addresses cervical checks. This may help you in your decision.
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  • image krisdemeanor:
    Oh okay, I will go ask the doctors involved in the studies I read, perhaps I'll send a letter to the author of the book "Male Practice" and ask him If i can avoid vaginal exams and still receive an epidural on my terms. Thanks for basically answering my question with "I don't know and no one else on here does either." Why even post?

    You joined the bump yesterday. We have no idea who you are or what your background is. You expect an answer from us non-medical folk that isn't really appropriate for us to give you. You didn't get the answer you wanted, so now you're upset? I suppose you make one valid point in your total of five posts...why even post?

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  • image elizxu:
    An honest suggestion...pick up Natural Hospital Birth, by Cynthia Gabriel tonight. Thought an Epi wouldn't be a natural birth, it addresses cervical checks. This may help you in your decision.

     

    Wow, thanks a real suggestion without judgement or hysterics. Thanks! 

  • image krisdemeanor:
    Really? since I am okay with having sex with my fiancee I should be okay with all vagina related issues? That's a ridiculous mentality. but thanks for being judgmental and completely not helpful!

    In my opinion, yes, you should be ok with vagina-related issues if you're going to be sexually active.  It's part of the territory and that's not a ridculous mentality.  I see no reason why any doctor should give you what you want if they don't feel like they have all of the information they need in order to know that it's medically necessary.  This is just bizarre.  It's like asking for antibiotics without letting a doctor check if you have strep throat first, or saying you need vicodin for a kidney stone you're pretty sure you have but you're not going to let them verify.  

    By the way, you are SO lucky you're not having multiples or are high risk.  Doctors are in my vag EVERY WEEK.  And I absolutely want them to do it-  for my safety and the babies' safety.  

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  • I'm sure this is likely MUD, but have you thought of requesting a vag exam to be as sterile (as sterile as a vag can be...) as possible? A doc could always checked with sterile gloves and what not. Your likely doing a lot more harm than a vag exam could ever do by refusing to have your cervix checked out.
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  • image krisdemeanor:

    image elizxu:
    An honest suggestion...pick up Natural Hospital Birth, by Cynthia Gabriel tonight. Thought an Epi wouldn't be a natural birth, it addresses cervical checks. This may help you in your decision.

     

    Wow, thanks a real suggestion without judgement or hysterics. Thanks! 

     

    GTFO and go talk to your idiot "professionals" already.

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  • image RachNRich:

    image krisdemeanor:
    Oh okay, I will go ask the doctors involved in the studies I read, perhaps I'll send a letter to the author of the book "Male Practice" and ask him If i can avoid vaginal exams and still receive an epidural on my terms. Thanks for basically answering my question with "I don't know and no one else on here does either." Why even post?

    You joined the bump yesterday. We have no idea who you are or what your background is. You expect an answer from us non-medical folk that isn't really appropriate for us to give you. You didn't get the answer you wanted, so now you're upset? I suppose you make one valid point in your total of five posts...why even post?

     

     

    SImply annoyed that everyone still thinks their OPINION is necessary to voice to everyone. I was thinking perhaps someone had gone through the procedure and avoided VEs or perhaps had simmilar issues and spoke to their doctor about it and was told this or that by them - which is why i posted here...I really didn't expect to get a bunch of "I don't knows" "thats a stupid question" etc...I kinda thought those people would pass since they have nothing valuable to add.

  • image krisdemeanor:

    image elizxu:
    An honest suggestion...pick up Natural Hospital Birth, by Cynthia Gabriel tonight. Thought an Epi wouldn't be a natural birth, it addresses cervical checks. This may help you in your decision.

     

    Wow, thanks a real suggestion without judgement or hysterics. Thanks! 

    REALLY?! DO you READ all of the posts!? HALF of these women are actually giving you some DAMN good advice...GO TO THE NATURAL BIRTHS BOARD...They may be "SMARTER" than US, SNARKY B!tches. Yes. that's a great idea...GO OVER THERE, some of us did have a decent response...next time read everything and maybe use your adult brain and not your teenage one when responding...UGH i'm SO over this SHiz today!

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