I'm at a bit of a loss.. kind of bummed out about the following situation. Maybe you can help me! (you helped a lot when I needed support on refusing the glucose tolerance test- and I'm really glad I refused it so thank you)
I am almost 37 weeks pregnant and I just started seeing my midwife last week, although I first met with her last August and have been in touch with her since. I just moved across the country and had been seeing an OB for my prenatal care in my old city. I had a good impression of my midwife in my early interactions with her and I still trust her knowledge, but I'm starting to wonder if she's a little too interventionist for me. Or maybe it's just the way things are in the world..
Anyway, here's the situation: I am planning a homebirth. Here in Washington State, there's a law that if a pregnancy goes beyond 42 weeks the birth has to take place in a hospital. I was born at 43 weeks (completely naturally and normally with no complications in a hospital, and I'm very healthy), and I have a feeling I may go past 42 weeks myself. I've always been a bit of a late bloomer, and I seem pretty small for 36+ weeks (though everything measures on target- I'm just really long). My midwife says that she routinely starts doing a membrane sweep around 37 weeks to encourage labor to start a few days early, because of this 42 week deadline. She is fine with me refusing, and says that if I start to get nervous around 41 weeks we can start then but in her understanding/experience it's best to do it every week starting at 37 weeks. She promises that she does it gently and will stop if I ask her to. I brought up the fact that I heard it could introduce infection, and her response was that she wears gloves- I know that is not a good answer, and I have read that it's generally best to keep any contact with the cervix to a minimum.
My midwife also said that she thinks this is the gentlest way to encourage labor to start earlier, without resorting to drugs or castor oil. She also encouraged me & my husband to have lots of sex, which I know is not proven to help but at least it doesn't have any side effects!
My instinct is to refuse the membrane sweep, based on what I've read about it. I know that my midwife will accept my decision and not argue with me. I guess I'm still nervous about the 42 week deadline though, and I'm wondering if I'm making the right decision. I'm also thinking about revising the date of my LMP if they'll let me.. it is possible that it is 2 days later than I thought (I was never 100% positive) but I'd like to give myself 5 extra days to be most helpful. I've heard of other people doing this, but I'm not sure how the midwives will respond. What do you think? Do you think a membrane sweep is not worth the pain/risk? Does it really make a difference? Does it make sense to do it at 38 weeks just to avoid going past 42 weeks? I'm thinking not... but wondering. It doesn't help that my husband thinks it doesn't sound like that big a deal- but in the end it's my body, not his.
One good thing about my midwifery practice is that the midwife I saw today is only one of 3 midwives there, and I have seen one of the others and she seems a little less pushy on the interventions. The one who I saw today is the oldest and the principal, but the other one is somewhat new to midwifery. I was a little concerned about her before I met her, but she seems like she might be more in line with my way of thinking- a little less interested in messing around with things. And she's extremely smart, calm, and decisive- I liked her a lot (she's also an ND, which I like). I haven't met the third, but she's the one I'll be seeing next week. Any one of these midwives could attend my birth, depending who is on call.