With my first pregnancy- little man's pregnancy- I pretty much followed the rules.
As a second time mom, I know better.
A cervical check is what your Ob may do toward the end of your pregnancy, where they will manually check your cervical opening by hand. They typically use it as a 'gauge' to tell you if there is any progress in your dilation or if they feel that labor is impending.
However, I tend to be in the camp that feels it is an uncomfortable waste of time.
For example: My water broke with little man on a Saturday night at 39 weeks and one day pregnant. I had a doctor's appointment the day before in which they checked my cervical dilation, rather roughly I might add. At that time, they said I was not dilated or effaced enough for them to believe anything was going on yet. But then my water broke just the very next day.
Many women can walk around dilated even to 3 or 4 (or more!) centimeters for days or weeks before actually going into the labor and birthing process. Just because you are checked and the doctor tells you that you've dilated some doesn't really mean anything. Just as the doctor checking me and telling me nothing was happening didn't mean anything as my water broke the very next day.
By checking your cervix, the doctor is telling you what your 'progress' is at that time, which means nothing if we're not looking at what is going on with the rest of your body. And you as smart, educated pregnant women know what is happening with your body! You feel every twinge, you know what feels off and what seems okay. Your body is telling you what it is doing.
Having the doctor's hand up in your lady business is only introducing the possibility of infection when the importance of the information gained isn't significant enough to justify.
Also, I've recently been told by several women that during a cervical check, their membranes were swept without their consent. I significantly hope that was not the case with the last cervical check before my water broke during my first pregnancy. Although- I have to recognize it was a possibility- as that doctor's office check was MUCH more uncomfortable than even the checks in the hospital while I was in labor.
As educated women, I think that we need to recognize the possibility of this happening and protect our bodies from just one more unnecessary medical intervention. When your birth is supposed to happen, it will happen, when your child is ready to greet this world.
I was told at my most recent doctor's appointment that my Ob would start doing cervical checks at my next appointment, when I am only 36 weeks pregnant.
I've already declined.
And I will continue to decline at each opportunity they offer at my regular office visits.
My body will tell me when I'm going into labor, not a doctor's hand. If I'm not feeling anything out of the ordinary, chances are nothing is happening down there yet either. And- for me- cervical checks are just too uncomfortable and present (however slight) too much of an opportunity for infection for me to consider having them done this time around.