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Has anyone else opted out of exams?

Hey gals! Now I know internal vagina exams are usually a good indicator to tell how dilated you are, however they’re not mandatory. I’m choosing to opt out of any internal exams as it gives me extreme anxiety and I can’t handle the thought of someone putting their hand inside me! Has anyone else opted out of them? Did it affect your birthing process? Picture of my bump at 33 weeks for attention 🤗
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I got one when I got to hospital to see how gone I was then I didn’t get internal examination they didn’t listen to me and when they did my baby was almost out, I was screaming it felt like I needed a poo and she finally listened after about an hour after going delivery room she went to look and saw babies head xoming

I ask for cervical checks if I’ve been cramping alot in my almost 9th month i will not have my baby slide out anywhere but my birth choice hospital but yall do yall i feel like it helps me relax at the thought of how many centimeters i am

I never had one at all my entire pregnancy. When I was in labor I told them when I was feeling pressure, they did a “sweep” basically to see if baby was crowning. My OB never stuck his hand “inside” of me. More so just fingers to feel for baby’s head. Once I started feeling pressure he came in and sat until I told him I felt I needed to push. 1 minute, 54 seconds of pushing and baby was out💙 definitely advocate for yourself. Know your rights and know those cervical checks are NOT mandatory in order to push a baby out. You’ll definitely know when baby’s ready to be pushed out. And they can tell if baby is in distress without checking you. They will have you hooked up to all kinds of machines to monitor that.

I didn't get any during both my pregnancies until I went into labor! Nope not mandatory

My baby will come when she is ready

Oh I'm not getting them either that's how doctors break your water and all kind of stuff early ,something that they are not supposed to do.

https://pregnurse.com/refuse-cervical-checks/ Read the whole thing. Has good info. I feel better after reading it.

How else do they work out how many cms dialated you are?

You definitely can deny anything! There’s women who choose to literally give birth alone at home or in a tub. You gotta do what’s best for you! My last two births i had both a hospital midwife and a birth center midwife start putting there hands up there without warning. Don’t be afraid to use your voice!

No cervix checks with either kid, did my own GBS swab with my first (opted out for the second since he was a planned C-section), never stepped on a scale in the Dr office, didn’t drink the disgusting sugar juice for the GD tests. I think a generation before us just thought whatever the doctor says MUST be what’s best for everyone always no questions. But that’s not the case and just being pregnant doesn’t mean you give up all of your bodily autonomy. You don’t want someone checking your cervix, then no one is going to check your cervix!

Only in hospitial when giving birth.

I did not know this!! So glad i came across this post!! Ive had abnormal smears for a few years now and when i go to hospital for tests to check i always break down i feel so awful having it done. I was dreading having all the internals done when in labour. I am definatley going to be speaking to midwives about ny choices in more depth, thank u :) x

I tried to opt out of a menstrual sweep & the lady refused to stop despite my numerous efforts

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Whaaat ? She refused ??? I would’ve go mad

I opted out - no vaginal exams during pregnancy or labor! None. Not one! Had an unmedicated water birth - it was a positive birth experience!

Traumatic experience with internals wirh my eldest therefore requested not to have any unless tgere was a concern. I didnt have any at all! 😊

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I said no to all checks except for the one that happened at 10cm, right when I was about to deliver. Checking before you go into active labor won't tell you anything. Even if you have started to dilate it could still be weeks, even if you haven't dilated it could suddenly happen in a few hours. I think most of the time mothers just want to be checked because they need to know something is happening lol

These aren’t necessary and I never had them done. I had a wonderful, easy birth.

I’m sad that I was never asked at the hospital, a dr who was not even my dr can in the check every so often to see how dilated I was and my daughter ended up passing meconium in the womb and I think that was due to unnecessary stress from getting induced and so many Cervix checks. I was also going to the OBGYN every week at the end to see how dilated I was, is that normal? 

With my first, 12 yrs ago, I didn’t know I could advocate for myself and opt out of anything… cervix checks were painful and violating. The next time around, 10m ago, I went to a small group of midwives and was delighted at how hands off and education based they were. NO CERVIX CHECKS! Unless I asked! I had a sweep at 40 weeks, it’s was PAINLESS. You have so many rights the mainstream dr’s don’t want you to know about ♥️

They only do it to check if you are showing signs of going into labour. Also from my past trauma I can understand why you’d opt out but honestly you’ll be giving birth and will eventually have someone have their hands down their so it’s the same thing. I had it done and found out I was 3cm dilated and then they checked if I was having contractions and I was I was in a silent labour and within 10hours of that check, had my baby (on his due date).. I say if you arnt comfortable with it then ofcourse don’t do it but you will eventually have someone’s hands down there when going into labour and it can help ease some birth anxiety, I know it did for me, I knew what to expect due to the exam! Best of luck though🥰

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She doesn’t have to have someone’s hands down there while she’s giving birth lmao

Yes I did opt out. Thanks to my hypnobirthing instructor who actually made me aware of all the choices and rights we women have when it comes to birthing. Not everyone wants some stranger digging fingers into their private parts, when there are other signs by which dilation can be worked out - like the purple line which will appear on the back when fully dilated, etc. I wish there was so much more awareness to all this. I had to tell my wish to the midwife then she spoke with her head midwife and all was all made written and confirmed officially. Sadly, my plan didnt go as I had planned (a natural birth of course). I was 19 days overdue, things went outta hands. Baby wasnt ready to come out whatsoever and had to bloody go through all damn inductions of labor including the VE (made me cry out of pain and discomfort due to posterior cervix). In the end emergency operation to pull out a massive baby. Well, it was just not gonna happen - a natural birth. In my second pregnancy, I will again opt out for VE

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'The Positive Birth Book' by Milli Hill must be read by each and every woman regardless of being pregnant or not. Its such an eye opener. I would highly recommend this to everyone including men (yes, you all need to be aware as well)

This is old but I wanted to comment for anyone reading. There is almost never a reason to have internal exams. Your cervix is not a crystal ball of labor progress and your dilation means nothing! You can walk around dilated for weeks before you actually go in to labor and than dilated 5 cm in an hour. Having someone’s hands in your vagina introduces new bacteria ( even if they are wearing a sterile glove ), and can lead to infection. This is an outdated practice and gives the provider vs you more control. A skilled provider will be be able to tell what stage of labor you’re in, but your behavior, position and sounds. You can absolutely decline internal exams.

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Exactly!! Its a wishful thinking that one day we all women actually are educated on this. Saying no to a VE is a choice - its appalling as to how many women dont even know their basic rights!!

My doctor asked if it was okay with me. I told her yes because it was my first I’m at 39 weeks and I really wanted to know how close I was to labour. She stretched out my cervix more as it would help to bring along labour faster which is what I want. It was uncomfortable but managed it and I did have spotting but it went away in 2-3 hours.

I also thought I wanted to decline but until it came down to it, I wanted my team to be able to accurately help me through labor. It took me 39 hours and baby was totally turned around and there was no avoiding that for a safe delivery and to avoid a cesarean

I only had this done when I was in labour to see how far I was and it was so sore! I didn’t expect it to hurt so much and after that check I refused to let them do it again!

Omg they did it with my last pregnancy it was painful! This time I will tell “NO THANKS!!

I didn’t know you could refuse stuff like that! I never had any of that until I had a sweep but I agreed to that as I was overdue and then I had to be induced so it was then necessary from that point for internal exams. Completely your choice to agree or disagree to anything you aren’t comfortable with but I would always be mindful that if it’ll help them help you/baby then to try manage through it xx

Only internal exam I remember was when I was like 36 weeks to see if I was starting to dilate or not. I too chose to have as few exams as possible.

My personal opinion is that they do it on purpose, thinking that it is of benefit to get the baby earlier, and help inducing labour. I am not fun of it

I had a cervical exam today at almost 38 weeks....had no idea I could opt out. Bled afterwards and it put me in an absolute tizzy all day. Doc said it's normal after an exam BUT that seems crazy to me! I'm definitely opting out next week

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That's not normal....did it hurt when they examined you?

@Andrea spotting is normal after a pelvic exam. That's what's I always learned and was educated by my OBGYN.

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I didn’t even no you could opt out of them.. I always wanted to get checked to see what my progress was

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You can decline anything and everything

My midwife told me they don’t usually start doing them until around 39-40 weeks unless I request it or start feeling pains. She also said they don’t really tell you anything as far as when labor will begin which is crazy to me because at a OBGYN they usually start around 34-36 weeks. Everything is so different at the birthing center

Each to they own really! I don’t think there’s anything wrong with internal examination as I was able to do it twice and I gave birth with no complications whatsoever! They know what they’re doing or why it’s important for “some”(My own experience).

I don't have any until in labor (one check to admit me) usually a quick process from check to baby 😅

You definitely have the right to refuse any medical treatment at anytime

Ladies, what are sweeps exactly for and why do they hurt so much?

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@Leydis they attempt to sweep away the membranes(mucus plug) that plug your cervix if you are overdue, as you naturally go into labour your cervix opens and the plug falls out so they try to speed up this process by removing the membrane manually

It's unnatural disruption of the womb.

My midwife never did any internal exams, until I was in labor

I honestly did not know you could opt out of this! It’s so painful from what I do remember, my birth plan is certainly going to be a very different one this time round! Thank you for posting this. 💗

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You can decline anything and everything.

From my experience, I am very much on the fence. Was examined throughout my labour which ended up being 3 days after being induced.. to my horror my midwife was asking if I was ready to push ( I had no desire to push ) when my mum who was with my during my labour ordered to have the doctor.. he examined me and I was 4cm which I had been the whole time and rushed me to theatre for an emergency c section. That midwife was happily persuading me to push at 4 cm. I dread to think what may have happened if that doctor hadn’t examined me and realising my me and my baby was in distress after 38 hours from beginning of my induction

Ok I have a question for all you women who would opt out, would you opt of out a cervical smear? This is genuine curiosity not a dig or anything

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I didn’t know that was an option to go under for a smear, is it just allowed because of the trauma or is it an option just in general?

I refuse to opt out as it's too important, but for trauma reasons, I have to go under general anaesthetic. There are always options around this sort of thing.

I wish I’d have opted out with my first baby and just listened to my body. I was “5cm” at 3:30pm and had my midwife telling me it would be hours from then as I had a while to go... she was born at 4:20pm. My body knew when to push, I didn’t need any hands where they needn’t have been and I nearly birthed her into the toilet after feeling the urge to get up and push!

I will be opting out. They are not necessary and telling how dilated you are doesn’t say anything about labor. You can be 3cm for 4 hours or 4 weeks. They carry no real value and can increase risk of infection and preterm labor.

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Evidence based medicine seems to imply that checking for dilation tells nothing. Assuming you aren't numb from the waist down, you'll 100% know when to push. There's also that Fetal Ejection Reflex thing; that's where your body will start to eject the baby if you don't push.

They carry a lot of value, that’s how you know when your 10cm and ready to start pushing

I was honestly looked upon like a negligent weirdo when I said I don't want them!

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I can only imagine what they’re going to say when I tell them no!

Once I learned how totally inaccurate they were, I opted out of them. Everything was absolutely fine.

I didn’t know you could say no, I just went along with what I was told and they really hurt sometimes. One even did a sweep without getting permission first, I’d had one already so knew what it felt like. I said to her have you just given me a sweep she said yeah I thought I might as well since my hand was up there. I then mentioned I’m a nurse and the common practice is to get consent first! Her face was a picture

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I honestly never thought about it at the time, she wasn’t very professional full stop, friendly but I kept saying I was in labour I had pain, I’d had a pessary just 3 hours before and she kept saying it takes at least 24 hours, next thing I know the emergency buzzer is going and I’m rushed to delivery. He came so quick I ended up in theatre after. It’s the same midwife that gave me the sweep without consent. I was just glad we were both alive and well so didn’t think about it until now

Omg thats obstetric abuse! They are not allowed to do that without consent. I’d be making a huge deal out of that!

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I think you should definitely trust your instincts. Vaginal exams can slow down labor, and slower labors are at higher risk of needing interventions. If you already know this would stress you out, be firm in avoiding it. The stress hormone also slows labor down. You want to try to make yourself as comfortable as possible in service of as healthy and in tune a labor as possible. Intermittent external monitoring of baby’s vitals will inform your provider of if there’s a reason a vaginal exam is actually necessary. If all signs look normal, it isn’t needed and you have a right to refuse.

Hey Shannon! Due to emotional trauma, I opt out of all internal exams and also have a planned c-section. I'm also doing the hypnobirthing course from the Positive Birth company which I know has been mentioned :) My midwife is fully supportive of this and agrees with me that there is no right or wrong! It's easy for many to say "oh it's fine once it's done!" but if you're uncomfortable, then stick to your guns. You and you alone know what you can do mentally and physically 😊

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Does hypmobirthing apply to c sections? Very curious.

It does yes :) Hypnobirthing can be used (if you'd like to) for all births. Whether you plan a natural but eventually have a c-section, or it's a planned c-section, it's fab for all. The positive birth company answer queries on this x

I didnt know you could opt out but If I ever have another im totally opting out .. the lady who check to see how dilated I was didnt know what she was doing and it hurt so bad it felt like she was scratching me with finger nails and her fingers where to short so she was jaming them in me.... she had to get another nurse to do it...

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Oh no that’s awful! It’s so important to have caring/attentive people around you during your birthing process. Make sure you’re aware of all your options when going in 🤗 highly recommend hypnobirthing to guide you through every possible aspect of birth; it’s equipped me with extra tools I never knew I needed.

How many weeks to they tend to do an internal exam again I forgot from my first

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40 weeks mine was and that was for a sweep, from what I remember a doctor can request it early if they feel the need

Ok thank you x

So I didn’t actually opt out of all of them (although no internal checks happened until 39 weeks I think) but I felt very much like it was my choice, which was nice. Even in labor when the doctor checked in they would tell me they could check my cervix if I wanted. It never felt like they were pushing it or were surprised if I did say no.

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That’s great to hear you had a nice, caring team looking after you 🙏🏻

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