Are Vaginal Exams in Pregnancy Necessary?

As childbirth educators and doulas, we would mostly like to believe that "letting things be" is always going to be the best way, but that is just not true in all cases. However, even if you look at the CDC statistics about the increase in Cesarean section rates over the past 10 years and we are to believe that it is "necessary" for 25% of our population to "need" a surgical birth, that still leaves 75% who do not and who should, logically, be carrying healthy pregnancies and not be in "need" of VE, right? But then of course, we all know that "need" and "want" are two entirely different subjects, don't we?

References:
Courtois C. & Courtois Riley C. (1992). "Pregnancy and childbirth as triggers for abuse memories: Implications for Care" Birth 19 (4): 22-223.

Fraser W and Boulvain M. "Induction of labour: indications and methods." Journal SOGC. 1996;18:1125-31.

Hanson S. "To VE or not to VE? That is the question." Association of Radical Midwives. Summer 2003; 97.

Harger JH. (2003). "Cerclage and cervical insufficiency: an evidence-based analysis". Obstet Gynecol, Jan; 101(1):205.

Tallman N. & Hering C. (1998). "Child abuse and its effects on birth." Midwifery Today.45: 19-21.

United States Department for Health and Human Services (2003). "US Birth Rate Reaches Record Low: Births to Teens Continue 12-Year Decline; Cesarean Deliveries Reach All-Time High". CDC News Release.

Laura Dana, LCCE, CD(DONA, CAPD is a Lamaze educator and labor doula specializing in high risk pregnancy and multiple birth. She and her doula partner, Maggie McCarthy, own a company called Birth Options: Education and Doula Services in Orlando, Florida.

Copyright © Laura Dana. Permission to publish granted to Pregnancy.org, LLC.

Comments

I had a cryo freezing done I guess about 15 years ago, around age of 20. I'm now 35 and pregnant, 23 weeks. Went to my doctors appointment yesterday and had never met this particular doctor. She came in, no intro, and asked me to strip down so she could do exam. I was confused as I didn't think you got VE's while pregnant. She used only her hand to go in and feel around and said she was checking my cervix to make sure it was ok. She said that since I had the cryo she had to check to make sure we didn't have to stitch up my cervix. In all the explanations of why doctors do VE's from the blog above, I didn't see this as a reason. I'm a little concerned and don't want to go into premature labor or rupturing the membranes. I'm hoping I'm overreacting as usual, but wanted to check. Please advise, thank you so much!