My name is Brian and I'm representing my wife Heather who is at home recovering from a c-section.
This was her first pregnancy and she had expected a natural birth until her membranes ruptured about three weeks before her due date. Regular contractions started about an hour later and we went to the hospital. A few hours later and she was on pitosin. Then about six hours later the nurse discovered that the baby was breech. We were told that there was no choice but to do a c-section.
Naturally, we were overjoyed to see our new son, but as the days went on we began to wonder what caused her membranes to rupture prematurely. We had put so much effort into this (our first) pregnancy only to get less than satisfactory results. Sadly, our doctor informed us that it would be next to impossible to uncover a cause for her premature rupture of the membranes (PROM).
So without a definite cause we turned to statistics for answers. And we didn't like what we found.
Some studies claimed that internal exams, done during the 9th month, can increase the risk of PROM, and some studies found this to not be the case. But I couldn't find a study that demonstrated the usefullness of internal exams.
So why did our OBGYN conduct an internal exam?
Here are the details. During the 36th or 37th week we went in to see the doctor and were told that it was time to "check the cervix". This sounded benign enough so my wife got into her gown and let the doctor peek inside. But the doctor did more than peek. She swabbed her cervix and then (with a glove) felt around for about thirty seconds. My wife was in pain the whole time. Then the doctor informed us that bleeding and discharge would be normal within the next five or six days. We were shocked! Dumbfounded, we left the building but the reality hit us a few hours later. The natural pregnancy was over. We felt violated, angry, and sad.
Six days later, her waters broke prematurely. Admitedly, there's no way to know if the internal exam played a role in this, but it's unsettling to think that our doctor may have increased the risk of PROM without our consent. In fact, our doctor didn't tell us anything more than, "now I'm going to check the cervix".
I've come across various risk factors for PROM and the only three that we had were: Baby found breech, Group B Strep found on the cervix, and the Internal Exam.
note: the internal exam found her cervix to be at zero
I'm not even sure if the above mentioned are actually risk factors or not. I was hoping that the Ask Henci Forum could somehow shed some light on the situation.
Did our doctor break the law by not getting informed consent? Why did it take thirty seconds to "check the cervix"? Why was there pain? Why is bleeding and discharge considered normal? Why is there such a high rate of PROM? Why did we constantly feel on the defensive in our doctors office?
Any information that you could share would be great.
Thanks for providing such a nice forum.
-Brian Heather, and baby Henry