Douching At The End Of Pregnancy?

QUESTION

Dear Midwife,
I am 40 weeks pregnant with my second child and I am not even close to starting labor. My mom is insisting that I douche with warm water because (according to her) that will send me into labor. However, everything I have read about douching tells me not to do it at all -- especially at the end of pregnancy. Is it safe to douche, or is douching an old wives' tale? I could really use some advice.

ANSWER

We recommend that you NEVER douche, but especially not at the end of pregnancy. If you have even a minor infection in the vagina, you might force it up into the uterus with a douche and cause a major problem. Just don't do it.

-- 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.