11 Dec Vaginal examination during pregnancy..
I suggest an FB group for pregnant women to get info about Childbirth practices, hospital experiences, & discussion on care providers.
👉It’s called informed birthing India. I recommend all pregnant people to be on it. There are some amazing discussions on it. You’ll learn a lot.
There was a question I saw on it today.
❓Why is there so much resistance towards internal(vaginal) examination /pelvic examinations.?
People who’ve been preg once know what this is. But those who haven’t been there might be wondering what it is. My friend, childbirth educator, and birth doula @reebadaniall explain it to all of us.
👉An internal exam during pregnancy gives information about the cervix. When labor is about to begin, the cervix effaces (becomes thinner) & then dilates. So knowing what the cervix is doing gives information about the labor. However, in low-risk & healthy pregnancies, it is not always mandatory that this internal exam ‘should’ be done. Why? Because whether someone checks the cervix or not, if labor is allowed to start spontaneously, the cervix will do its work & labor will begin, & progress. In these low-risk pregnancies, it’s only if a mother or care provider needs to know how dilated the cervix is, that an internal exam needs to be done. Bottom line is, that whether you know that number or not, the body knows how to labor & birth the baby!
This may not be the case in high-risk pregnancies, where more monitoring is required for many reasons.
👉If the pregnancy is going fine & no medical issues are present, then the mother can deny an internal exam, based on her ability to participate in informed choice. Most often, internal exams are routine practice & that’s the main reason why they are so rampant. Not because they are necessary each time they are being done.
✅Now answer to the question- why do many women hate this?? Why is there so much of resistance to this procedure? Why do many end up having very bad experiences after pelvic exams? Why do many women report that under the pretext of pelvic examination, their membranes were stripped without their consent (that’s for another day)
➡️Anyway, let’s not discuss the reasons for which it is done, that is not the point of this blog.. This is about what the woman goes through and why many are scared of this process.
⚠️It’s sad, but many care providers do not get any training on empathetic communication or even sexuality health during their medical training. Simply doing an internal exam for ‘checking’ certain parameters and clients having resistance, is just one side of the issue.
✔️WHY do they have resistance? Were they spoken to, in a relaxed calm manner about being checked? Do they have past trauma or abuse history that will prevent them from relaxing their bodies? Is the procedure done slowly and smoothly? What is the language used if they are not comfortable..?
There are many things to think of.
👉Though it is a medical procedure, let’s compare this with a sexual experience. Does your sexual partner do this to you without consent? Isn’t the doctor a stranger to your body.? Isn’t the body at its most vulnerable when this is happening? Isn’t this an actual violation of body boundaries if this is happening quickly, without prior communication.?
✅We can’t blame the system because the system is not created with women’s bodily autonomy in place. Both the client and the care provider do not know anything about it. It’s sad, but there is hope. All of us being informed will change the situation. We will demand better practices. Providers reading these things will do better. My friends who are docs are very glad these changes are happening and discissions are taking place. They are also good people who do not actually want to hurt anyone, unfortunately, they aren’t trained on everything we need them to be trained on. It will change. Slowly and steadily.
Until then, as consumers of the system, I would recommend women to do these things. When you are pregnant try to answer these questions –
✅ Is there a medical issue/need that my cervix dilation needs to be checked.
✅Am I, the mother, feeling the need to know information about what my cervix is currently doing?
✅Do I trust my body that it knows its job, and do I feel comfortable letting it begin labor on its own and progress with knowing the ‘number’ of dilation?
✅Am I with a care-provider who performs these checks and other interventions ‘routinely’ or with a person who will do any of these only if necessary?
✅How can I train myself to practice my ‘informed consent?
(courtesy, @reebadaniall )
👉I wish you, women, all the best. Attend good Childbirth education when you are pregnant. Information worth at least 12 to 14 hours. Know about every procedure. Dos and don ts. Know your rights as a birthing mother. In fact, all the info you need is available free of cost on birthindia.org. But if it’s too overwhelming to go through it all, do attend classes. Educate. Empower. Birth is a transformational experience. It must not be a traumatic one ❤️
How was your experience with a pelvic examination? Bad, good, okay?