Internal Exams 37 Weeks Pregnant

Updated on June 17, 2011
A.B. asks from Carol Stream, IL
15 answers

I am 37 weeks pregnant and this is my first baby. I recently had my first internal exam to see if I was dilated. I have had internals prior to being pregnant and they are nothing like what I experienced at my exam last week. I guess I am just curious is it supposed to be so painful. I am dreading the next one. There was so much pressure I cannot even describe. I feel like such a wimp and do not know how I will make it through the actual labor. Any thoughts?

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answers from Chicago on

In my experience yes, yes and yes! I saw stars the first time I got one. It just depends on how far the doctor "probes."

No worries, all will be okay.
take care and have a happy and easy delivery!

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answers from Austin on

I am a midwife. We do not do internal exams on our patients unless they are in active labor or if they request it (which rarely happens.) Internal exams before labor tells you nothing. It does not tell you when labor will begin. You could be closed up tight and holding a baby four hours later or you could be dilated to a 4 for two weeks. Internal exams also increase your risk of infection and could potentially break your water and then you will be forced to have your baby. Tell your doctor that you do not consent to any more exams until labor. He/She should respect your wishes and if they do not you should find a different care provider. At 37 weeks you potentially could carry your baby another month. Remember you are the one in charge. You are paying for a service. If you don't agree with something, do your research and tell them no. There is absolutely no reason to do internal exams.

One more thing; another mom mentioned they do a pelvic exam to check the baby's position. You don't have to do a pelvic exam to check this. You don't even need a sonogram to check this. A good care provider can tell just by feeling your baby through your belly how that baby is laying.

Take Care.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Labor is totally different - it's a normal bodily process and the body will produce hormones to offset the pain. Internal exams are not a normal bodily process, thus they are often very painful. Try hard not to fear birth, as it is the fear itself that constricts blood flow and makes it painful. Without fear birth doesn't have to be particularly painful. And that is coming from a woman who gave birth naturally to a 9lb 2oz baby.

As for the internal exams, decline them in the future. There is absolutely no medical indication for them and they don't really tell anyone anything. So if you don't like them, don't do them. Trust me, the baby will come out eventually with or without them.

Good luck!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

This is the aspect of pre-natal I always hated... I'm thankful my Midwife will not do any internal exams unless she sees a need or I personally ask her to check me.

When I went to an OB, once I reached 32 weeks, they checked every visit and it was very traumatizing for me. In the hospital, it was every 15 minutes by nursing staff, residents, students, and I feel it was what caused my body to regress labor due to the trauma and stress it caused me.

You can tell your OB you do NOT want an internal. Seriously. Something I learned AFTER my first birth is you can say NO to ANYTHING.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Just tell your doctor you don't want an internal exam. I mean, really, even if you are somewhat dilated/effaced, you could stay that way for several weeks, and if you're not dilated/effaced at all, that could change in a matter of hours! So really, there's no need to do it if it makes you uncomfortable. Your baby will arrive when s/he wants to arrive, and there's nothing anyone else can do about that!

Don't worry about labor pain. Your body will do what it's meant to do, and if the pain is more than you want to deal with at that time, then you will have pain management options! Often times, what doctors do to us is way more painful than when our bodies do what they're meant to do. Remember that while doctors are a great resource, YOU are in charge. If you don't like something, tell them to stop. They will. :)

Good luck and congratulations!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Ok - you will make it through labor. You will have the strength, courage and grace to do it. Someway, will.

On the internals....why do them? It is not medically necessary to have internals. My doctor told me that it tells him if my body is preparing for labor. My response what that it had been preparing for the last 36 weeks. I know many woman who are 2 cm dilated and 80% effaced at week 36 and they did not move one bit until she went into labor. I was that person. I did one internal for specific reasons and that was it. An internal doesn't tell you when your baby will come, how fast it will come or how long you will push.

You have to do what is right for you but many women believe they have to do them. You don't. Decide what is right from you and go from there.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Hartford on

I'm surprised you had one so early unless you had signs of going into labor. I only had internal exams that early (well, earlier because I never made it to 37 weeks ever) because I went into early labor with all of my kids. But in order to make sure that things moved along as naturally as possible we tried to keep the internal exams as minimal and as few as possible.

They "can" be uncomfortable, they shouldn't be painful... but it could just be your doctor's technique. The only time I had a painful labor check was when I was in active labor and there was a resident that I ended up having to throw out of my room because she did a labor check so painful I cried and insisted the problem was me and told me to suck it up, didn't I know any better having been through L&D before, blah blah blah. I reported her and filed a complaint.


You can request "no more internal exams" since they're really not necessary at this point. You'll very likely go into labor with very definitive signs.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

With my first pregnancy the internal exams were not very uncomfortable at all. But with my second pregnancy they were very uncomfortable. I would suggest to discuss this with your OB. They do check positioning and dilation, but they may be able to skip it if there are no other concerns. For me I was curious to see if I dilated so I just grinned and beared it.

Have you discussed your options regarding your labor with your OB? Did you take the prepared childbirth class? This class helped me immensely with my first pregnancy. I ended up with a rapid progressive labor and had no time for an epidural so without the class I think I would not have been able to handle it!

My second pregnancy my labor was a lot longer, so I opted for an epidural and I'm SOOOOOO glad that I did, it made things so much easier!! The anesthesiologist was excellent, it took 30 seconds and I didn't even feel it!

There is no shame in getting an epidural, so once you are in labor get one and I'm sure you will find labro much more bearable!

Good luck, I'm sure everything will go fine!


answers from Raleigh on

Unfortunately, internals will be pretty uncomfortable. They are checking for baby positioning, cervical opening, etc. Just try and breath deeply!



answers from Chicago on

You are not a wimp, so put that out of your head. Yes, it hurts, probably everyone in their own way. And millions upon millions of mothers have survived labor without medication. IN the old days they through mothers in a hospital room by themselves (so my mother tells it-she had 13 pregnancies if I got this straight-nine born, six survived) and she just had to clutch the side of the bed and wait it out. By the time I was having children there was alot of support, medication if needed and you could have people in the labor room with you. So...yes, this is not pleasant, but think of the miracle you are about to meet.



answers from Spokane on

Yeah, they suck. With my first I didn't get any internals because she was born at 36 weeks. Same with my second, but she was at 38. The doc just didn't feel a need for them.

But with my third I was 10 days overdue and was checked frequently to see if I was making progress on my own so we didn't have to induce. They're very uncomfortable, but different from labour pains.

You'll be just fine through labour. Just think of the contractions as a means to an ends - the ends being your beautiful baby :o) Stay focused and try to remain as calm as possible (meaning, don't panic and freak out).


answers from Wichita on




answers from Minneapolis on

I do not remember ever having pain from a check during pregnancy or labor. I had a midwife, and I do remember her checking, but no pain.



answers from Chicago on

In short, yes. These last few internal exams really stink. I had the same experience and so have others I know. I don't think there is any way around it.



answers from Chicago on

My doctor does internal exams starting at 36 weeks. I just had my 37 week check-up today, and yes, the internal exam hurt. For me the pain all depends on how tired I am and what position the baby is in. Last week didn't hurt at all, but today was pretty painful. I was exhausted today going in, so I think that might have something to do with it. Labor can be scary, and yes, it will hurt! But, you'll make it through and do just fine.

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