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3 Bumps

Why are people telling me its dangerous for my doctor to check my cervix?

I'm 38 weeks with my first baby, and during all of my 1 week visits my doc checks my cervix to see if it is dilated etc. Since it has not been, she always says "oh bummer! Lets hope for next time!" or something similar. I just assumed that she is supposed to check it, and that I am supposed to be dilating or my baby will be late or something. So, I posted something about it yesterday and a bunch of moms were asking why I am having my cervix checked, to not focus on my cervix it has nothing to do with when labor starts etc, and that it can be harmful/dangerous to be having it checked. Can someone please explain all this to me, I am very confused. Thanks!


Asked by Tarrar at 2:40 PM on Jul. 6, 2011 in Pregnancy

Level 22 (13,733 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (18)
  • There is a risk of infection even with their gloves because unless the gloves came straight from a sterile bag then they are not sterile. There is a risk of accidental breaking of your water. Also few people know that it can actually reverse progress that is being made by irritating the cervix so it will recoil and close. The information truly is useless. I was closed at the one check I allowed after 40 weeks came and went, and I was holding my son the next day same time. I have a friend who was a 6 for 4 weeks and still went over 40 weeks. It means nothing and is often used to convince a mother that she needs to be induced when that is very far from the truth. 40 weeks is a midpoint estimate not an expiration date, and every mother and baby are different and need different amount of time to gestate. Some moms it is 37 week others it is 43+ weeks.

    Answer by truealaskanmom at 4:48 PM on Jul. 6, 2011

  • my dr. always checked my cervix. there is a slight risk of infection but there's also a risk of everything. your doctor is a doctor for a reason, she knows what shes doing

    Answer by julie.f at 2:44 PM on Jul. 6, 2011

  • It doesn't provide useful information. There is a risk of infection. They can be very uncomfortable.

    It can make some moms feel anxious, like their body isn't working right if they aren't dilating by a certain point. If they are dilating, they may get their hopes up that they'll go into labor any minute now when it could still be weeks.

    Some doctors (not all) have been known to "accidentally" strip moms membranes or break their water without proper consent.

    Just relax and when your body is ready, it will happen. Knowing what you're dilated to won't make it happen faster.

    Answer by MrsMWF at 3:58 PM on Jul. 6, 2011

  • risk of infection

    Answer by zoejains_momma at 2:41 PM on Jul. 6, 2011

  • Your doctor has been doing this quite awhile, I'm sure. People will always tell you what they heard or what they know (eye roll). Let your doctor know if you have concerns, I'm sure they will be happy to explain it to you :)

    Answer by sugamama3 at 2:48 PM on Jul. 6, 2011

  • Because it introduces bacteria in your cervix. And you can go from 0-10 within a matter of hours. Being dilated now is not a good judge of when you will deliver. And just because a doctor does it doesn't mean its a good idea. Its an outdated practice.

    Answer by SalemWitchChild at 2:49 PM on Jul. 6, 2011

  • What happens when you hear you aren't dilated?
    Or aren't "progressing quickly enough"?
    Or are progressing and then baby still doesn't arrive for a while?

    = depletes mom's confidence

    = opens the door for more unnecessary interventions

    The risk of infection is minor compared to the other risks.

    Cervical information does NOT tell you when you are going to labor.
    It's just to see what your cervix is doing at this very moment~ that's all.
    BUT saying: "oh bummer" is a mind-game.
    As if it *did* mean something...
    This makes a vulnerable, unaware, Mom-To-Be and makes her think she *should* be Progressing.



    Answer by doulala at 2:56 PM on Jul. 6, 2011

  • 4g: gloves are not necessarily "sterile".
    If you want to research the risks with "knowing what your cervix is doing" you may be surprised.
    As a mom, you're already aware of the high interventions rates (for American's anyhow~) not being linked to improved outcomes.

    Ever increasingly, science/medical practices, and normal, evidence-based practices are agreeing: science has not improved upon nature.

    You can certainly check your cervix yourself, ask for it, or consent to the offer for it to be done, no problem.

    But if someone wants to know *why* then it's great to be helpful and explain.
    If moms (like the OP) are unaware then they should know they haven't been making Informed Consent, an important part of maternity care.

    There are some considerable risks that come with VEs.
    Weighing risks-benefits is a big part of the process.


    Answer by doulala at 4:56 PM on Jul. 6, 2011

  • You can get an infection, it can irritate your cervix and cause you to go into labor too soon, it can damage your cervix, and a bunch of other things that I can't remember off the top of my head now. Midwives rarely check a woman's cervix for a reason. OBs are mostly in it for the money and they like to do things their way and in their own time. A lot of women will allow induction just from hearing that their cervix isn't dilating or something, which makes things easier for the OB.

    Answer by Mrs.BAT at 5:33 PM on Jul. 6, 2011

  • You Doctor knows what she is doing and she wouldn't do anything that would harm you or your baby. She just looks at it, or feels it gently and doesn't disturb it. If the cervix was such a dangerous spot, then why are Moms always saying that you should have sex right down to the time you go to the hospital with active labor??? Don't worry about what some Moms say. There are aways women who think they are smarter than Doctors but....LOL...they aren't.

    Answer by minnesotanice at 2:54 PM on Jul. 6, 2011