British Pregnancy Advisory Service
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NHS: Do I have to have a sweep?

I had a sweep with my first pregnancy and no word of a lie, it was more painful than the actual birth itself, probably because the pain lasted for hours after.

They didn't even tell me what they were doing or what it was for, I thought it was a regular check up as my daughter was due on or around 23rd September (she came on the 25th September).

I went into labour 2 days later and must of developed a large vaginal cyst from that sweep, as a cyst was there at the time delivery and needed to be burst - but if it was there when they did the sweep, why didn't they tell me and/or treat me there and then?

So in the UK, England, do I have to have a sweep?

1 Reply

Hi Gemma,

No you don’t have to have a sweep, it’s entirely up to you. A sweep is offered because it may make it more likely that you go into labour spontaneously, but no-one can force you to have one if you don’t want it. You should have been told what was happening and your permission for the procedure obtained. It’s obviously very difficult to know what might have caused your cyst, but you do have the right to obtain your maternity records and ask to go through them with your GP or midwife – you can do this at anytime.

Do hope this helps.

Best wishes,



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