Cervical Exams & Membrane Sweeping
Just because something may be offered or presented as "routine" doesn't mean you have to opt for it. And if you do want what is being offered, that's fine too! It's important to reflect on your preferences, comfort level, goals, and circumstances when thinking through what is right for you. Understanding the risks and benefits can help in your decision making!
Remember: true cervical change happens when there are consistent and progressing contractions/pressure waves. Therefore, it is very normal for the cervix not to be doing much prior to the start of birthing time. A cervical exam is a snapshot in time and tells us what the cervix is doing in that exact moment. It can change at any time and does not indicate when your birthing time will begin.
It can also be helpful to think about the following questions in deciding if you'd like prenatal cervical exams: "How will this information impact me? Could it encourage me or discourage me? How will I feel if the numbers are different than what I'm hoping for?" This applies not only prenatally but even throughout the course of birth. You can always choose to limit the number exams you receive and even ask that the information not be shared with you if you sense it will impact you in a less than favorable way.
EBB Birth Research Highlight: Cervical Exams
Evidence on Prenatal Cervical Checks
The Evidence on the Pros and Cons of Membrane Sweeping