Vaginal exams during pregnancy are typically a necessary part of pregnancy. It is useful to understand what a physician is looking "for" during a vaginal exam.
Vaginal exams during pregnancy can:
– identify certain cervical abnormalities, such as early dilation, allowing the physician to make appropriate changes to the mom’s care, including bedrest or other appropriate treatment.
– stimulate the cervix so that medically inducing labor does not become "necessary"
– give the physician assurance that the pregnancy is continuing in a healthy manner
Specifically, a vaginal exam will measure dilation & thinning of the cervix, position of the baby, station of the baby and Position of the cervix.
Some people consider vaginal exams as unnecessary "interventions" in pregnancy. They are concerned about discomfort, risk of infection and premature rupture of the membranes. If you share these concerns, you should discuss them with your doctor to determine if there may be any alternative to a vaginal exam in your case.