Can I Check My cervix For Dilation?

QUESTION

Dear Midwife,
Hello! I am currently 34 weeks pregnant. I have had braxton hicks now for several weeks, but they are still irregular.I had my son at 36 weeks by c-section and was wondering if my body will treat this pregnancy like a first-time baby since I only dilated to a fingertip with my son before the c-section or will it go more rapidly than the first?

Also, is there a way to check your own cervix for dilation?

ANSWER

Since you did not pass a baby through the cervix last time, your body will probably act like this is a first labor (it really is).

I don't recommend anyone but your provider doing a vaginal exam. Not only is it difficult to be accurate, but you run the risk of introducing infection, breaking the bag of waters prematurely, or starting a bleed, just to name a few possible complications. As they say, don't go there!

-- Cynthia, CNM

Cynthia Flynn

Cynthia Flynn, CNM. PhD, is the General Director of the Family Health and Birth Center which provides prenatal, birth, postnatal, gynecological and primary health care to underserved women and their families in Washington, D.C. Recently Cynthia served as Associate Professor of Nursing at Seattle University. There she not only taught, but remained in full scope clinical midwifery practice at Valley Medical Center where she cared for pregnant and birthing women, and practices well-woman gynecology, family planning, and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases.

Cynthia founded Columbia Women's Clinic and Birth Center, where she took care of pregnant women and infants up to two weeks of age and attended both birth center and hospital births. Before Cynthia earned her CNM, she worked as a registered nurse in labor and delivery and postpartum and is a certified Doula and Doula trainer.