The routine tests you’ll have during your pregnancy do not include an internal exam (inside your vagina). If your pregnancy is uncomplicated, your healthcare professionals will only ask to do an internal exam after you have gone into labour. This is done to check how far your cervix has opened, which will tell them how advanced your labour is. Your doctor or midwife should ask your permission and explain why you are being offered an internal examination.
You will be offered a membrane sweep (also known as a cervical sweep) towards the end of your pregnancy (around 40-41 weeks) if it looks like your baby will be late. This involves your midwife putting a finger inside your vagina to reach your cervix and gently making sweeping movements to separate the membranes. This can help kick-start your labour. Membrane sweeps don’t hurt, but you may feel a bit uncomfortable afterwards.
Speculum and/or vaginal examinations
You may have an internal examination if there are any concerns in your pregnancy, such as if your doctor or midwife believes you have an infection, if you have any bleeding, or if you are unsure if your waters have broken.
You may have what’s called a speculum examination. This is when a small instrument covered in gel is inserted into the vagina. This allows the doctor or midwife to check if there is any cause for the bleeding, or confirm if your waters have broken. It isn’t painful but it can sometimes be uncomfortable.
You may also have an internal examination if your midwife or doctor thinks that you are in early labour.
Tell your healthcare professional if you feel any pain during an internal examination.
Back ache or pain is very common in pregnancy, but there are things you can do to reduce it.
You are likely to find that your second pregnancy has differences to the first time you were pregnant.
It’s common to feel unusually tired when you’re pregnant, especially in the first 12 weeks. Here's some tips for getting a better night's sleep.
The fact that you’ve had a previous abortion is not likely to affect your pregnancy.
As a pregnant employee you have legal rights, and this includes paid time off for antenatal appointments or antenatal and parenting classes.
Stretch marks are narrow pink or purplish streaks or lines that can appear on the skin during pregnancy. They don’t always disappear after childbirth but they should become less noticeable.
Folic acid (vitamin B9) is very important for a baby’s health and development. You don’t need to take folic acid after 12 weeks of pregnancy.
Giving birth is generally safe wherever you choose to have your baby. Here’s a few things to think about if you’re considering a home birth.
Getting the whooping cough vaccination is safe and will protect your baby from infection in their first few weeks of life.
Flying during pregnancy is safe up to a certain point if you are having an uncomplicated pregnancy. Check your airline and insurance policy for their terms and conditions of flying.
Most research shows it’s safe to colour your hair while pregnant. The colours in permanent and semi-permanent hair dyes are not highly toxic.
NHS Choices. At the hospital or birth centre https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/hospital-birth-centre-labour/ (Page last reviewed: 15/11/2017 Next review due: 15/11/2020)
NHS Choices. Inducing labour https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/induction-labour/ (Page last reviewed: 06/11/2017 Next review due: 06/11/2020)Hide details
ℹLast reviewed on December 6th, 2018. Next review date December 6th, 2021.