Internal Exams REQUIRED

83 Replies
Joanne - March 17

Do you HAVE to get an internal exam? Or request to your doc that you don't want one? It seems as though some people can be dialated to a 2 or 3 for weeks before giving birth, and others are at a 1 and give birth the next day! So what's the point? (especially if it hurts!) Thoughts please.........


Rabbits07 - March 17

You wil have to get an internal exam eventually, that is the only way to tell if you are dilated. Because of laws and everything I'm sure if you refuse an internal that they would have to comply, but you risk giving birth to your baby on the floor. Some women dilate with very little sister-in-law went to her 39 wk c/u and the dr. did an internal to find she was already dilated 5 cm and having no pain, however, the monitor at the hospital (he wouldn't even let her go home and get her bags) showed she was having regular cx every 3 minutes. Some of us have not been that lucky, but oh well...anyways, I've not really found internals to hurt all that much, not at dr. appts. anyways. Now when you are in active labor and contracting it is a different story! My first internal with this baby at 34 weeks did leave me kind of crampy, but it wasn't my regular dr. and he was a big guy w/ big hands. My internal this past week was done by my regular (small) dr. and did not cause me any discomfort at all. I don't know if it is so much the size or if some dr. are just more gentle. But, even with the slight crampiness I wouldn't say it was something I would refuse. Like I said though, you are probably well within your rights to refuse, but there are risks in doing so.


Ca__sieSong - March 17

My doc let me decide if I wanted internals during my scheduled visits. I opted for one every other time... but you are right. I was 90% effaced and 2cm dilated for several weeks and nothing happened. I finally went into labor the day before my due date and had baby on my due date (dec. 10). The internals never really hurt though. Now, when you go into the hospital when you are in labor, then you have to get checked out of course... but I think you are referring to your regularly scheduled appointments... right?


Jilloh - March 17

its the only true way to know if you are dialated. besides you might want to get used to them because when it comes time for the labor and delivery you will be getting them then too.


Alycia - March 17

I completely understand why you don't want any internals at this point, and I will be refusing them also. They really don't tell us anything about when we will go into labor, as you mentioned. Additionally, studies have shown that having lots of internal exams, especially once you are in active labor, increases your risk of infection. I plan to refuse internals during labor as well - they don't tell you a heck of a lot then, either, as women do NOT dilate at an even rate. You can take HOURS going from 4 to 5 cm and then race from 5 to 8 or 9 in less than an hour. Or vice-versa. The only internal I will permit is once I feel like pushing - I want to make sure there is no lip of cervix left. Don't let everybody freak you out, saying this is necessary. It really serves no purpose the vast majority of the time.


bean - March 20

I completely agree with Alycia. I will also be saying no thanks to internals. I don't agree with "getting used to them" - that's like saying might as well go to the dct's regularly and get practice stabs with needles so that if and when you need to give a blood sample you'll know what it feels like.


pbj - March 20

I've never heard such ridiculousness. Obviously none of you have gone through labor before. Intenals do not necessarily hurt everyone...some are more sensitive than others. Mine hurt, but 2 other friends who had their babies around the same time as me said they just felt pressure. If your water hasn't broken, risk of infection is small...mine didn't rupture on it's own, so my doctor ruptured it at 9 cm. Actually, internals can tell you you're in labor, many women do not have regular contractions until they are well dilated and/or effaced. I had irregular contractions for days and was 100% effaced 3 cm dilated w/o even knowing it. Compared to contractions, internals are a cakewalk. I love people who think they know more than doctors.


bean - March 20

PBJ - I'm just going to guess that you run to the hospital at the first sign of a contraction and ask for an epidural - right? Doctor knows best?


valerie - March 20

Alycia--sometimes you can feel the urge to push way too soon, when you aren't fully dilated. Having internals tells you your progress, and lets you know when you are full dilated and effaced...I guess everyone is different, but I don't see why anyone would rather not have an internal? I am always really anxious to know how much progress I have helps knowing all those contractions really are making some progress, at least for me anyway. The dr's wear gloves, the risk of infection just by an internal is almost non-existant... Anyway like I said everyone is different, you have to do what you are comfortable with.


Jenn - March 20

I, too, can't believe this thread!!! I understand that maybe at like 36 weeks its notreally nec. but if you are in labor what are you going to say?? Stay out of there till I "feel ready" to push? Are you crazy?? That is rediculous-how are you going to make sure that no lip of the cervix is left? Checking yourself?? Maybe you can hold a mirror and try to take a peek? Seriously, when those contractions start coming-you going to want to know how things are going down there!! especially if you get no epideral cause it hurts like HELL!!! But this thread has made me laugh!!


Gigi19 - March 20

I personally hate internals or anything having to do with the Gyno. However I do my internals (they started at 37 weeks- I am 38 today and I have another). It does tell you how far you have progressed and yes, I do know that with some people it doesn't matter that you could be dilated for weeks and have nothing going on. Sometimes having an internal can move things along for you. I have heard from a few of my friends that after seeing the doctor for an internal they lost their mucus plug a few hours later. Either way, doctors do internals routinely and therefore the risk of infection is minimal unless of course your water is already broken. I live in NYS and they require a Strep B taken at 36 weeks (I don't know if all states do or not). So either way your going to be in a compromising postion so why not find out if your making any progress. Again this is coming from a woman who hates anything gyno related. I clamp up my legs so tight they need a crowbar to open them up. I love it when they tell you to relax too. How can you relax with a light flashing at my privates? Privates mind you that I myself haven't seen in months. At the same time though I want to meet this baby soon and I want to know if I am getting any closer- GOOD LUCK.


pbj - March 20

Actually bean if you read my response I said that I was having contractions for days w/o knowing it. I went to the hospital when my contractions were 3 minutes apart for 2hrs. I was 7cm dilated with BACK LABOR before the epidural and pushed mt dd out in 45 minutes. Oh yeah, my doc did such a great job at ma__saging my perinium, I only had 1 st_tch, and that was due to my husband encouraging me to push when my doc said stop. I had a horrible pregnancy and was on partial bedrest from week 20 due to a growing fibroid and full bedrest (except for dr.s appts) the last 3 weeks. For a while we thought I would deliver early and through c-section/ There is nothing wrong with trusting your doctor. I've read every darn book I could. However, I didn't go to med school, nor do I want to, if you can't trust your doctor why would you choose him/her? If it weren't for my wonderful doctor I may not have my beautiful daughter sleeping in my arms right now.


Kat83 - March 20

Im going for my first internal exam since the first one i had almost 9 months ago i go friday, but i know he is doing a PAP for various pelvic infections and also going to check the cervix im 36 weeks but kinda scared bc can that pap smear stuff break your water??? just a thought


pbj - March 20

No. A pap just swabs the cervix, your uterus is closed. I am curious why you're having a pap now? Usually you'll have one during your first trimester and again at your 6 week post natal check up.


Kat83 - March 20

yes i had my intial pap and the doc said there is a standard 36 week pap test for various pelvic infections


Rabbits07 - March 20

hmmm...they don't do 36 week Paps in VA (at least my dr. doesn't). They test for Group B Strep infection though.


pbj - March 20

Yeah, I thought maybe it was the group b strep as well. But either way a pap wouldn't do anything I don't think your uterus is closed anyway.



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