This time is going to be tough. The last few weeks of pregnancy will take a toll on you. You must be going through the baby shower gifts, and the nesting phase could be near. This is when you will have lined-up appointments with your doctor.

I have heard many women questioning about “cervical check pregnancy” during the later period of pregnancy. That’s when I found out they were thinking about the cervical exam during pregnancy. This is something your doctor would suggest when you go for your check-up.

It is necessary to get the procedure done, but this is not something that you have to do. You might get a little uncomfortable while doing this test and wonder if this is necessary. So, this is what we are going to discuss today.

What Is Actually A “Cervical Check Pregnancy”?

The doctor does a cervical exam, cervix check, or pelvic check during late pregnancy to check the condition of the cervix. The cervix acts like a protective barrier between the uterus and the vagina. Skyler Jacobs, CNM and a certified midwife nurse with Modern Obstetrics and Gynecology of North Atlanta, says, “In labor, your cervix starts to change in its shape and consistency.”

A cervical exam looks for factors like dilation, which tells the doctor how much the cervix has opened on a scale of 1 to 10 centimeters. It also tells how much your cervix has effaced, which means how thick it is. If the cervix is at 0%, that means it is not thin at all, but if your cervix is 100%, then that means it is thin like paper. When the cervix starts to thin, you are closer to labor.

How Is It Done?

During the pelvic exam, you will have to lie down on the exam table and put your feet on the stirrups. Mainly the medical provider conducts the exam with all the sterilized equipment. In a few cases, they might take the use of a sterile speculum.

According to Dr. Meleen Chuang, the MD and medical director at NYU Langone, “The doctor may perform a manual examination by inserting one or two gloved, lubricated fingers into the vagina to check the size, position, and texture of the cervix and for the fetal-presenting part. This allows them to assess the overall health of the reproductive organs.”

What Does A Cervical Exam Tell Us?

There are certain things that a doctor needs to evaluate during late pregnancy. These can be done through cervical examination.

The Position Of The Cervix

With the help of the test, doctors check whether the cervix is still in the pregnancy position facing the lower back or if it has moved with its face in the forward direction close to the pubic bone.

The Consistency Of The Cervix

During pregnancy, the cervix becomes firm, and when it is time to get into labor, it starts to get soft. This mostly happens just before a woman is about to get into labor. It often happens that your healthcare provider perceives it with the help of their fingers. But this is not a process of measurement. This is just an adjective describing the cervix consistency.

Whether The Cervix Has Opened Or Dilated And How Much

When a woman is pregnant, it is normal for them to have a tightly closed cervix. This keeps the baby safe from the outside world. While you are in labor, it is the contractions that the body uses for opening the cervix. It sometimes happens that the cervix starts opening a centimeter or two during your late pregnancy before your contractions have even started.

If The Cervix Has Begun To Get Thin

During late pregnancy, the cervix begins to get thin and starts preparing the body for labor. Contractions are helpful and make a change. It sometimes happens that the body starts moving in the required direction beforehand.

The Baby’s Station 

Some babies start moving downward into the pelvis late in pregnancy. Labor contractions are the basic ways in which a baby moves through the pelvis downward. So you will not be able to measure this before labor.

When Do Cervix Checks Start?

You might be wondering when your cervix checkup will begin. Well, there is no specific time frame when you have to start getting your cervix checked. It is okay to get it checked anytime. But mostly, cervix checks start in the later part of the third trimester.

Cervical Check During Pregnancy

During pregnancy, the cervix check starts around the 36th or 37th week. But if you have noticed symptoms like contractions or bleeding, you can get it checked early. Your doctor might conduct some tests like group B strep test with some other cervical exams.

Cervix Checks During Labor

If you have plans for vaginal delivery, your provider is going to check the cervix during labor to check if you are ready to meet your baby yet. Factors like dilation and effacement are important during this stage. This helps the doctor determine how far you are from getting into labor and also monitors the process completely.

Are Cervix Checks Necessary?

The requirement for getting a cervix checked is different for everyone. You might not need a cervical check when you visit the doctor during the last month if everything is going according to your plan. 

However, in various scenarios, it is necessary to get a cervical examination, for instance, before the induction of labor, or to get a clear idea about what methods and medication would be best for the patient. It also helps in determining whether you are actually in labor or in the stage when you start pushing the baby out.

If your due date has crossed, your doctor might track if you are close to labor with the help of your bishop score. This will help you to decide whether you will need an induction. 

Wrapping Up!

According to Dr. Chuang, “It’s important to have open communication with your healthcare provider regarding cervical exams and their recommendations for your specific situation. They’ll be able to guide you on when and how often cervical checks are appropriate for you during your pregnancy.” it is important that you communicate your needs with the doctor. Inform them if something is making you uncomfortable, and ask as many questions as you want.

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subhasree nag
Subhasree is a content writer who is passionate about traveling, writing, and reading books. In her leisure time, she is seen listening to music and watching web series. Writing along with music and dance are ways in which she expresses herself.

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