Resources for questioning vaginal examination (2)

“Do you know of any good resources on the subject of questioning/declining vaginal examination? I’m thinking of vaginal examinations in a number of contexts – well woman exams, vaginal examinations in labour and especially at the end of pregnancy, as women in my area are being told they need to have a vaginal examination in order to assess their cervix for induction and for the purposes of a stretch and sweep. I’m a childbirth educator and I’m looking for some resources to share via email and then discuss with my groups.”

In my last blog post, I shared links to some articles and blog posts on the subject of vaginal examination, but while I was writing the post I remembered three great quotes that I wanted to share with you on this. The first two are published quotes, both quoted in the article referenced below:

“Imagine trying to do a vaginal exam on a mother tiger in labour…”

– Sister MorningStar.

“Women have the right to refuse vaginal exams and any procedure being imposed upon us. We have the right to ask questions.”

– Ibu Robin Lim

The third is something that Ina May Gaskin said when we were teaching a workshop together earlier this year. I was so struck by the way she expressed herself when she was talking about how crazy the culture of vaginal examinations has become that I wrote her exact words down:

“For most of time, nobody put their fingers in there. Just imagine … how many people got born without anybody putting their fingers in there?!”

– Ina May Gaskin

Lim R (2016). Human Rights in Childbirth: a basket of stories. Midwifery Today. 119: 9-14

You can find part one of this post here.

photo credit: Dakiny Tulip in The Rain : 雨に濡れるチューリップ via photopin (license)

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