Improving Vaginal Examinations Performed by Midwives

Rhoda S. Muliira, Vidya Seshan, Shanthi Ramasubramaniam


A vaginal examination (VE) is an essential part of midwifery care, and is routinely performed when assessing the progress of labour. As evidence shows that during labour women may find VEs unpleasant, embarrassing and sometimes painful, the aim of this article is to review literature on the use of VEs during labour and to synthesise information from the available literature on how to provide an effective VE. The studies considered were retrieved from three databases (the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature [CINAHL], SCOPUS and MEDLINE) using the following search terms: “VEs in labour”, “midwives and use of VEs” and “women experiences of VEs in labour”. The literature reviewed suggests that midwives are not careful about VEs. Therefore, a concerted effort is needed to pay attention to the frequency of VEs, the management of pain and distress, information-giving and the preferences of the patient, so that the patient can feel in control during a VE.


Midwifery; Labour; Midwifery care; Vagina; Vaginal Examination.

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Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, PO Box 35, Postal Code 123, Al-Khod, Muscat, Oman

ISSN (Print edition): 2075-051X ISSN (Internet edition): 2075-0528

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