What is a cervical sweep? 

Midwife Tracey Owen describes what happens during a sweep.

Find out more about what a sweep is

Transcript of What is a cervical sweep?

What is a sweep?


Tracey: A sweep is offered to you when your baby is overdue. If it’s your first baby, you’re looking at around 40 weeks and if it’s your second baby you’re looking at seven days past that time.


It’s a vaginal examination and it’s where they try and put their fingers through the cervix to release the oxytocin. The sweep is not a comfortable experience but you’ll know it’s been successful if you start to get period pains. Now and again, your waters may break or you may find you lose a little bit of blood in the show.  That’s all normal and that’s what we’d be looking for.  If your sweep’s been successful, you’ll find you’ll start to have contractions within 24-48 hours. Your hormones are working well and your contractions are beginning.


A sweep is not something we would recommend as a DIY procedure.  It’s something that should be done by a professional.  Sweeps aren’t always successful and you may need a couple to get your contractions starting.  At the end of the day, it’s a means to an end and you need your baby of yours to come out.


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