During pregnancy, your doctor may conduct the cervical exam several times. This tells them a few things about your cervix. Most pregnant women focus on how open, or dilated, the cervix is. It may be confusing to know what it means. Here are some things that will help you make sense of cervical dilation:
- A Closed Cervix
A closed cervix means you are not dilated at all. It means your doctor can’t pass a finger through your cervical os, or cervical opening. Most first-time moms will have a closed cervix for the majority of their pregnancy.
- A Fully Dilated Cervix
A fully dilated cervix is 10 centimeters open. This means that when your cervix is measured with two fingers, they can be stretched 10 centimeters across. When you’re fully dilated, it’s time to push and have a baby.
- A little-dilated Cervix
Women who have given birth before may have a cervix that remains open a little. For some women, the cervix never really goes back to being closed. Therefore, it may be normal in subsequent pregnancies to be a few centimeters dilated, without this being a sign of preterm or real labor.
- There is no magic number
A single measurement is not very useful in figuring out whether you are in labor. Some women may walk around for weeks being 4 centimeters dilated, while others are the same measurement may be in active labor. Sometimes you may need to repeat exams a few hours later to show any change.
- Active labor and different dilations
Active labor happens at different dilutions for different women. Earlier, it was said that once a woman was 4 centimeters dilated, she was in active labor and was going to have a baby soon. Now we know that some women aren’t in true active labor until up to 6 centimeters. This means you don’t have to rush into a C-section if you’re stuck at 4 centimeters dilation. Give yourself more time to dilate and avoid unnecessary C-sections.
- Dilation depends on a few things
How fast you dilate in labor depends on a few things. In general, women who’ve had a baby before will dilate faster than first-time moms. Epidurals can slow down the rate of dilation a little bit, but they don’t increase your risk of C-section.
Once your cervix is completely dilated, you can start pushing. If you try to push before your cervix is completely open, it can cause swelling on the cervix that can make a vaginal delivery more different. Your doctor at KIMS Cuddles can make you understand cervical dilation better and help make your delivery easier.
*Information shared here is for general purpose. Please take doctors’ advice before taking any decision.