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Vaginal Examination

Discussion in 'Glossary and Definitions of Terms' started by AutumnMaple, Nov 30, 2009.

  1. AutumnMaple

    AutumnMaple Well-Known Member

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    Vaginal Examination would be more correctly written epv (examination per vaginam) as you are examining via the vagina, not examining the vagina itself!


    When vaginal examinations are used, there are six ways to determine progress in labour. The cervix moves from a posterior to an anterior position; the cervix ripens or softens: the cervix effaces; the cervix dilates; the fetal head rotates, flexes and moulds; the fetus descends (Simkin and Ancheta 2000).

    Vaginal examinations remain the most accepted method of measuring progress in labour (Enkin et al. 2000). These examinations, however, should be carried out only after discussion with the woman, when practitioner can justify that she believes it will add important information to the decision-maing process (NICE 2007)

    Vaginal examinations are an imprecise measure of the progress of labour when performed by different examiners (Clement 1994; Robson 1991). Where possible therefore, they should be carried out by the same midwife.

    The process of care in labour usually demands a focus on the woman’s genitalia, with exposure to people that are strangers. Midwives must give consideration to the emotional and psychosexual aspects of any procedure (Devane 1996). Many women find vaginal examinations painful and distressing (Lewin et al 2005; Menage 1996).

    NICE 2007 suggests that progress in the first stage of labour should include: cervical dilatation of 2 cm in 4 hours, descent and rotation of the fetal head, changes in strength, duration and frequency of contractions

    Taken from NHS Evidence - women's health
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 23, 2013

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