Thursday, July 24, 2008

Birth Track

There has been a lot of buzz on the internet this week about a new cervical tracking device that clips to the woman's cervix and monitors her "progress" (and baby's descent) throughout labor. There is an excellent and very funny post on The True Face of Birth about it.

The Birth Activist also has an informative post about this device.

Here is information from the manufacturer

And, a description of the product

Information from the FDA about marketing of devices like these.

And, information about another labor tracking system using ultrasound (not yet approved for use in the U.S.)

Thanks to Angie on the MCFI e-list for the three links above!

The comment is made by the manufacturers that the clips on the cervix will not bother the laboring woman because the "cervix has no nerve endings."

My first thought when reading about no nerve endings, was having that sensation during the last weeks of pregnancy that the baby is "biting my cervix" (kind of a sharp *zing* right in the cervix). Or, the "pinched" feeling that I get during pap smears or the aching sensation from cervical bumping of any kind (though perhaps that is actually a uterine sensation and not strictly cervical).

I just googled "nerve endings in the cervix" and the first site to pop up said this, "There are nerve endings in the cervix. They are less dense than other areas but some women have a quite sensitive cervix." Then I read this link from the American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology: "Sensory, sympathetic, and parasympathetic fibers are present in the cervix. Instrumentation of the endocervical canal (dilatation and / or curettage) may result in a vasovagal reaction with reflex bradycardia in some patients. The endocervix also has a plentiful supply of sensory nerve endings, while the ectocervix is relatively lacking in these. This allows procedures such as small cervical biopsies and cryotherapy to be well tolerated in most patients without the use of anesthesia."

This is different to me than "no nerve endings"!

Makes me think of the days in which baby boys were circumcised without anesthesia because newborns "can't feel pain." I guess women can't feel pain either...

On another note, remember Susan's Hypnobabies interview tomorrow morning on at 9:00 a.m. Pacific time and Saturday, July 26 at 1:00 p.m. Pacific time.

I'm posting today instead of my usual Friday, because I will be unavailable to post tomorrow.


Unknown said...

Nerve concentrations in the cervix vary from woman to woman. Some women have nerve endings that can cause them to have orgasms as with stimulating the clitoris when aroused. Not much research has been done in the gynecological field of the mapping of women's nerve endings and rearch in neurobiology. Remember MDs are not researchers but practitioners. But much as been done in the Neuroscience field and field of Neurobiology of the cervix, uterus and vaginal area. An OB/GYN Dr. Irwin Goldstein has found that it is almost impossible for women to orgasm without a cervix. Dr. Beverly Whipple, Sexual Health Expert; Dr. Karen Berkley, Neuroscientist, and Dr. J.J. Collins, Neurobiologist have documented the nerve endings in the cervix. But there is a simple test. If you can feel your cervix being touch from the vagina upward and if you have pleasurable sensations when your cervix is bumped during arousal, then yes you have nerve endings that can cause you pain if cut or have pressure. Be careful if do feel nerve sensitivity in your cervix to not have any surgical procedure that will cut those nerve endings such as a LEEP or hysterectomy. Above all don't discount yourself, you know what it feels like and your body. GYNs are taught women don't have feeling nerve endings in the cervix. This has long been proven to not be the case with all women.

Anonymous said...

This comment is about the Birthtrack system in general-not the nerve-ending aspect. I am a labor and delivery nurse who observed the system in action with women who agreed to try it. It could possibly offer some help in determining progress in some patients-if only it worked! The sensors are hard to place-I can't imagine a women having them placed without an epidural. The data generated is very inaccurate and depends on very exact positioning on the cervix of the sensors-difficult to do. The sensors fall off frequently-after all the cervix constantly changes in thickness and dilation during labor. The above resulted in many MORE vaginal exams than a mother would normally have-not what the company promises. Not to mention the constant fiddling with the device-resulting in even less time caring for the mother than there already allows.
What the company doesn't seem to get is that labor involves both art and science-when a patient is or isn't making progress we all know it soon enough. Not many vaginal exams are really needed to figure all this out. Plus, alot of information is gained from those exams besides station and dilation.