Pelvic or Vaginal Exam during Pregnancy (3rd Trimester)
According to Mayo Clinic, “as your due date approaches, your prenatal visits might include pelvic exams. These exams help your health care provider check the baby's position and detect cervical changes.”
Pelvic examination during pregnancy is used to detect a number of clinical conditions such as anatomical abnormalities and sexually transmitted infections, to evaluate the size of a woman’s pelvis (pelvimetry) and to assess the uterine cervix so as to be able to detect signs of cervical incompetence (associated with recurrent mid-trimester miscarriages) or to predict preterm labour (see Section 11.3).
In an RCT that assessed the relationship between antenatal pelvic examinations and preterm rupture of the membranes (PROM), 175 women were assigned to no examinations and 174 women were assigned to routine digital pelvic examinations commencing at 37 weeks and continuing until delivery.233 In the group of women who had no pelvic examination, ten women developed PROM (6%) compared with 32 women (18%) from the group of women who were examined weekly. This three-fold increase in the occurrence of PROM among women who had pelvic examinations was significant.
Based on the above study the NCBI concluded, “Routine antenatal pelvic examination does not accurately assess gestational age, nor does it accurately predict preterm birth or cephalopelvic disproportion. It is not recommended.”
Another study completed by the NCBI concluded, “In patients with a US-documented viable pregnancy, the pelvic examination did not contribute to the patient's immediate obstetric treatment. Occult cervical pathogens may be present in these patients.”
Vaginal Exams can possibly measure:
*Links to explore
Pelvic Exams Near Term: Benefit or Risk? Talking to Mothers About Informed Consent and Refusal
Did you have vaginal exams in your third trimester before your labor started? Thoughts?
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