Hesperian Health Guides

Hesperian Health Guides

The pelvic exam

Every day 20,000 people visit the HealthWiki for lifesaving health information. If everyone gave just $5 we could translate 50 more chapters.

Make a giftMake a gift to support this essential health information people depend on.

HealthWiki > A Book for Midwives > Chapter 20: The Pelvic Exam: how to examine a woman's vagina and womb > The pelvic exam

Before you start:

  • make sure that you have privacy.
  • prepare all the tools you will need for the exam:

The speculum and gloves should be sterile if you are doing a pelvic exam to insert an IUD or to do an MVA. Otherwise, a very clean speculum is OK.

clean or sterile
clean or sterile
plastic gloves
light mirror clean cloths for
wiping after the exam
  • Ask the woman to urinate before the exam. This will make the exam more comfortable for her.
  • Ask the woman to remove her pants or pull up her skirt. If she wants something to cover her legs, give her a sheet or cloth.
  • Ask her to lie on her back with her knees up and her buttocks at the end of the table or bed.
  • Wash your hands with clean water and soap. Your fingernails should be short and clean.
  • Put clean plastic gloves on your hands.

In other languages