You probably could -- with much difficulty and Twister-worthy moves -- somehow wrap your arm around your pregnant belly and...
You probably could -- with much difficulty and Twister-worthy moves -- somehow wrap your arm around your pregnant belly and up into your vagina to check on your cervical dilation. It wouldn't be easy, and it sure wouldn't be comfortable. (Are cervical exams ever fun?) pregnant-woman-big-belly.jpgSo let's say you have gorilla-length arms and can manage the contortions. Should you try to do a DIY internal exam? That answer is probably no, unless you're a trained physician, nurse or midwife. Sticking your hands up there does pose several risks: You could nick the amniotic sac (accidentally breaking your water), bruise or cut the cervix, or otherwise cause problems. Even if you're wearing gloves, putting your fingers deep inside can push the bacteria normally found in the lower part of vagina up towards the cervix, upping your chances of infection. And then you need to ask yourself: Do you know what you're feeling for? Are you really sure how to find your cervix, and, once you locate it, can you evaluate its condition (effacement, dilation, ripeness -- and to what degrees)? If not, the "Getting to know your vagina" field trip probably should wait until a couple months after birth. Finally, an internal exam is really not going to tell you much. Especially before true labor begins, how much you've dilated or effaced won't predict when your baby will be born! Some women take weeks to dilate to 3 or 4 centimeters, while others manage it in less than an hour. Labor grooves to its own rhythm, and things tend to work out best when you let it.

recommended for you

Comments

Hm. October 16, 2012
I'm curious as to why its okay for a man's genitals to go in there, which depending on the man, means it could push against the cervix.. But, its not okay to put your own hand in there. Its safe for sex, without worrying about breaking your own water... And yet, your own finger can cause your water to break. How weird! I agree with the "Gee" comment. If it's safe to have sex with my spouse, its safe to see if I can check that..
Gee May 24, 2012
I did my own vaginal exams during all three of my labours. If you have a basis knowledge of anatomy it really isn't rocket science. However to be fair, I was only finding out basic facts, ie length of cervix and dilation in labour. I washed my hands beforehand and was very gentle, guided by what was comfortable. Membranes are incredibly strong, they are usually broken with a hook, I feel if a gentle finger was to break them, they were about to go anyway.

I felt incredibly empowered being able to touch my babies head and see "where I was at", I recommend it! When it was really tough going in second stage, it was a huge boost to feel the progress I was making.