About pelvic exams during pregnancy
Having a pelvic exam during pregnancy is not much different than having one before you were pregnant. The main difference is what the doctor is looking for. If you are nervous about a pregnancy pelvic exam, most doctors will allow you to have someone in the room with you for support.
What to expect during a Pelvic Exam
If you never had a pelvic exam before you became pregnant, you are probably nervous or anxious about it. During the test the doctor will be checking the vulva, cervix, uterus, Fallopian tubes, ovaries and even bladder. The doctor will typically give you a robe to change into in private. You will be asked to lie on the table with your feet in the stirrups. The doctor will then begin the examination by pressing on the outside of your stomach to feel the organs, and then use a speculum to get a better view of the cervix. Often a Pap smear is taken, which is need once a year, but will not be done after the first trimester and not for six weeks after giving birth.
What the Doctor is looking for during pregnancy
When you are pregnant, the doctor will be looking for different things than before you were pregnant. The doctor may take cultures to test for infections. The doctor can also tell that you are pregnant because sometimes when women are pregnant there is a blue colour to the cervix, according to Babies Online. The doctor can also tell how far along the pregnancy has developed by the internal exam. Later in the pregnancy the doctor will be looking at how far dilated the cervix is.
How long does a Pelvic Exam Take
Typically a pelvic exam will take under 10 minutes. The doctor will do the internal and external exam and collect all fluids or samples to test at this time. If you feel uncomfortable during the exam or have a question feel free to ask.
What to do before your Pelvic Exam
Refrain from douching, sexual intercourse and inserting anything into the vagina for at least 24 hours prior to the exam. You should also write down any questions or problems you have, because you are likely to forget once the exam takes place.
What kinds of questions will I be asked?
When you have a pelvic exam while you are pregnant you will have a new list of questions than before. Questions can include: Have you had any bleeding? Have you had any pain, discharge, or itching? How many pregnancies have you had? How many miscarriages have you had? How many children do you have? Are you having any cramping or abdominal pain? There are many different questions that doctors ask. Just be prepared to answer honestly about any questions posed. If you feel uncomfortable answering a question, tell the doctor about it.
Feeling More Comfortable
If you feel uncomfortable about your pelvic exam there are some things that can make it more comfortable. First have a support member with you. Whether this is your mother, sister, best friend or even husband, having someone in the room can be a great help. When you are getting your exam try to relax all your muscles in your stomach, buttocks and thighs. Try breathing slowly through your mouth or nose. If at any time you feel pain, do not keep quiet, and let the doctor know. If something like the equipment or what your doctor is doing makes you uncomfortable, ask the doctor to explain. An explanation can sometimes make the experience less frightening.