Should you have a sweep? No one can answer this question but you! BUT, before going ahead with any of your choices in birth, it’s important to understand it & make an informed decision!
One of the most common debates about sweeps is; Is a sweep an induction? The answer to this questions can be found by asking yourself, what is the intention of a sweep?....
The only intention of a sweep is to encourage labour to start. A sweep is a form of induction.
A sweep involves a health care provider inserting their fingers into your vagina to locate the cervix, and, if able to locate the cervix, trying to separate the membranes from your cervix, which will encourage the release of prostaglandins, the hormones that is needed for labour to start. In order to perform a sweep, your cervix needs to be soft and beginning to open, which is a sign that your body is getting ready to labour spontaneously.
A sweep comes with a risk of infection, and there is also a risk of irritation to your cervix / uterus, possibly causing irregular contractions, and even bleeding.
You may hear from friends / care providers that having a sweep means ‘you don’t have to have an induction later’, but let’s just unpick this for a moment... You never have to have an induction, and certainly shouldn’t be pressured into have a sweep for fear or further intervention! If you want to have a sweep, have it! If you don’t, you can say no. But either way, do not make a decision because you feel pressured to. Your body, your rules, your choice.