Vaginal Examinations in Labour | AIMS
During labour, it is normal NHS policy to offer vaginal examinations (VE) - but it is important to know that they are entirely optional. A VE involves a midwife or doctor inserting their fingers into the vagina to feel the cervix, and to estimate how dilated it is. The estimate is arbitrary and can vary significantly between examinations and between practitioners. VEs are often done with the labouring woman lying on her back, but it is possible to do a VE in any position, which may be preferable as lying down in labour, even for a short time, can be very uncomfortable. It is important to know that while VEs are offered to almost every woman, and they are often seen as an essential part of labour, there is actually a lot of evidence to support women considering not having them at all - this will be discussed below.