5 People Who Should Stay Away From Your Cervix
1. Your Partner-
It's not something that you have probably considered happening but last week the question came up in class about the beginning stages of labor. Specifically when your water breaks/releases. If that happens when you are home and you are planning on laboring at home for as long as you feel comfortable then it's important to know how to prevent infection. Especially when we've been told that sex can help start labor. It can be very helpful but is not possible once your waters release. This can cause infection. They should also leave the cervical checks to your OBGYN/CNM/HomeBirth Midwife.
So how do we know when to go to the hospital?
Partners, watch for the dramatic change in mom. She will become more quiet during a contraction or unable to converse then you know her labor is progressing.
2. Your Doula-
Contrary to some misinformation floating around out there, your doula should not be conducting cervical checks. Doulas are not medical professionals. They are hired for physical and emotional support ONLY. Even if they have been a labor and delivery nurse in the past or are currently working on a labor and delivery floor of a hospital they are still not licensed to practice medicine outside of a hospital setting.
3. Your Doctor/Midwife
It always surprises my clients when I first introduce the idea in class of refusing cervical checks during pregnancy and labor. BUT IT IS YOUR RIGHT. If the idea of a cervical check makes you uncomfortable, chances are it can have a detrimental affect on your birth and your mindset during labor. Talk to your OB/CNM about this possibility. If it is important to you to have that privacy and it is not supported by your care provider, you have the option to leave for a more supportive environment. Contact me if you need some support in making this decision.
4. Medical Students
Don't get me wrong, I understand why it's important to allow people besides our personal OB/CNM to conduct cervical checks and other aspects of care during labor BUT you can decline that. It really all depends on what type of birth you are envisioning and if you'd feel comfortable with additional people besides your OB/CNM conducting your cervical checks. Remember, they are learning. So the possibility for a mistake is higher. I once witnessed an attending checking a client for dilation and her number was far higher than the nurses when the nurse decided to check after the attending. It was a moment of excitement from my client and then a big let down. Being told you are actually not as close to your baby arriving as the previous half hour can really dismay your hard work. If you are on the fence about the decision and are a first time mom or a mom who has had a less than ideal previous experience with birth, I suggest declining anyone besides your OB/CNM.
5. Anyone Besides the Initial Examiner
It doesn't make sense to have another set of hands conducting the cervical exams besides the first person who gave the exam in triage. For one simple reason: DIFFERENT HAND SIZES. Everyone has different hand sizes, different finger lengths and widths; so a difference between one persons hand can result in a different dilation number. Not to mention introducing more possibility for infection by having more people involved in your vagina.
These are all things you can speak with your care provider about at your next appointment. If you can't seem to get a distinct answer on some of these issues and are curious about switching care providers, I am here to help walk you through that. Everyone should have the birth enviroment that they desire.