To Check or Not to Check…

*My mother thinks I share too much on here sometimes, so if you agree with her, you might not want to keep reading.  I’ll be using words like “dilated” and “cervical check.”  You’ve now been sufficiently warned 🙂

Last week at my doctor’s appointment, he informed me that it was the last appointment that I got to remain fully dressed for.  This week’s appointment was the Group Strep B test.  As he was getting ready, he went into what I’m sure is his standard 36-week spiel about how even though he’s ‘in the area’ he can’t do a cervical check, because I’m not yet considered full-term.  He continued on to tell me that he’ll check me next week and that a podunk study out of Tennessee has shown that women who get early cervical checks deliver their babies, on average, one week earlier than women who don’t get the checks.

When he took a breath, I interrupted and asked if he thinks the results of a cervical check really mean anything.  He said no, which was my theory based on my experience with Chloe.  (I was 4-5 cm dilated and 100% effaced for almost a week before I delivered.)  So then I asked if I had to get checked, although I was pretty sure the answer was no.  He confirmed my theory and said if I didn’t want to get checked, just to leave my clothes on when the nurse left the room next week.

One part of me is thinking I won’t get checked next week.  I know it doesn’t really mean much.  With Chloe, I hadn’t had a single contraction until he checked me, so I really feel like him checking did trigger something in my body – even if it was almost a full week before she was born. I feel like it’s important for BabyD to make it as close to his due date as possible.  Chloe was healthy at 38 weeks, but she did have jaundice, which I know is more likely to occur in babies born a couple weeks early.  I don’t want to do anything that might encourage my body to go into labor, I think getting checked did that last time, so I really should wait to get checked this time.  Makes sense, right??

However, I’m also thinking that since I was 4cm dilated without ever feeling a contraction with Chloe Mae, and this time around I’ve been having uncomfortable contractions daily for weeks now, that maybe I should get checked.  I mean, if I know I’m already 4cm+ and the contractions increase in intensity or frequency, I probably want to go to the hospital sooner rather than later.  That kinda makes sense too, right??

So, I’ll spend the next week trying to decide: Do I get checked at my appointment next week or not??

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “To Check or Not to Check…

  1. I vote no. I think you’ll know when it’s time to go to the hospital. Even if you do get checked and find out you’re dilated and your contractions increase, you will still wonder “Is it *really* time yet?” When you wake up in a puddle, you’ll know it’s time to think about hopping into the car 🙂

  2. Wait, is this even up for a vote? If not, then call it my two cents instead.

  3. Sarah

    I’m with Becky. If it’s a vote, I say no. If it’s not a vote, here are my two cents :: If he does check you and it does start contractions, is your body *actually* ready for labor? I can’t say that it really is, especially if it happened with Chloe and you still didn’t deliver for another week. My theory is, stay out of my vajayjay. And you’ll know when to go to the hospital. When you can’t talk/focus through a contraction, it’s time.

  4. Nicole Thelen

    Addison was born at 36 weeks and she was 4lbs 11oz however she was only in the nicu because she would not suck. other wise she was healthy. So try not to worrie to much. you are out of the dangerous zone. I donno about the getting checked thing that is a hard desion. i was never asked. I had no clue i was in labor when i was i went to the doc cause Addison was not moving. turns out she had turned around. And then the next day my water broke.

  5. MamaMort

    I wouldn’t call it a vote necessarily, but I was definitely looking for input. So thanks for that!

  6. Meghan Montegna

    I would say if he gave you the choice not to get checked then I wouldn’t get checked. If you think it had something to do wit Chloe coming early then I most defiantly would not get checked. It is only for him to know if your dilated and if you have started to efface. Just so he can predict when you will have baby. So I say just leave it alone and let baby hang out in there.

    If he gives me a choice I will say no because I know baby will come when baby wants to come.

  7. So… the study he’s referring to is pretty small and plus/minus on quality. A lot of people think that any association with cervical checks and labor really has to do with the fact that your membranes are stripped/slightly disrupted during a cervical check, which releases prostaglandins which cause uterine contractions and cervical ripening. That being said, the evidence on whether or not membrane stripping really helps with labor is also pretty lacking.

    I personally have a pretty non-interventional approach and don’t check cervices unless there’s a reason to. If something’s not going to affect my management, then why do a test? There could be a small risk of early/earlier (pre-40 wks) labor (and the recent wave of early inductions/early elective c-sections, etc in this country is definitely associated with a rise in NICU admissions), it’s another chance to introduce bacteria where you don’t want it (although if you’re not ruptured, probably not a big issue), plus it’s a pretty uncomfortable exam. But then again, as a mom and former pregnant lady, I really wanted to know what my cervix was when I went to my 39 week appt 🙂 so I totally understand the issue! Although there is absolutely NO WAY to predict from a cervical check exactly when someone will deliver a baby (whether its closed, effaced, dilated to 9), it’s kinda fun to know. If you feel like your contractions have really picked up before your exam, and you may be making active change, a decent dilation may mean you will go soon, but you could also just sit at 4 cm for 3 weeks….

    So I’m sorry there are no right answers, but that’s my (long) two cents 🙂

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