Pelvic exams in pregnancy vary depending on the doctor and the practice. Your cervix's dilation and effacement might be checked every week starting at week 36 (or earlier!), or not until week 38 or 39, or your OB might not do a vaginal exam until you're in labor. Why? Well, the progress of your cervix doesn't always mean a lot, since it could dilate and efface slowly over the course of several weeks – or all at once on the day you deliver. If you go past your due date, however, your OB will almost definitely do an internal exam – the progress of your cervix (or lack of) can help her decide whether to consider induction. She might do an exam earlier if there is a specific concern, like bleeding or signs of preterm labor. If you're just curious about the status of your cervix and really want an internal exam, you can always request one. Don't be alarmed if you see some spotting afterwards – it's normal.
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Excerpted from: The Baby Bump: 100s of Secrets For Surviving Those Nine Long Months