Guide to Cervical Dilation

Guide to Cervical Dilation
October 26 12:36 2016

As your body prepares to give birth, a process known as cervical dilation occurs. Contrary to popular belief, this does not just happen a couple of hours before you give birth. In many cases, cervical dilation starts a few weeks before the birth of the child. There are some women out there who will go through the entire dilation in a few hours, but these cases are very rare.

Cervical dilation is an important process. It ensures that your baby has smooth passage from the uterus to the birth canal. Basically, you can think of it as akin to unblocking the exit route for your baby. Once you are fully dilated, and for some women this may take a while, you can give birth.

In the ninth month of your pregnancy, your practitioner will start working with you to determine how close you are to giving birth. Several checks will be carried out. One of the most important will be to check whether the cervix has begun to dilate and move closer to the front of the vagina. If it has, then this gives an indication that you will enter labor shortly. Of course, all women will dilate at different rates, but the practitioner that you work with will be able to give a rough estimate as to how close you are to giving birth.

There are a few other ‘signs’ that birth is close. However, again it must be stressed that this is no indication that the birth is mere hours away. One of these symptoms is when the mucous which acts as a ‘plug’ on the cervix will break. This is often called ‘water’s breaking’. TV shows do make it seem like this occurs a few hours before a person is going to give birth, but in many women, the mucous plug will become dislodged a couple of days, and in some cases a couple of weeks, before birth.

A couple of days before you give birth, or sometimes 24 hours before you give birth, the capillaries in the cervix will rupture. This will cause light bleeding. Again, this is no real indication that birth is imminent, but it is getting closer.

You will know that birth is close when you start experiencing severe contractions. You will feel them throughout the dilation process, but the closer you get to the birth, the more intense they are going to become. This is when you know that you will need to get to a hospital sharpish.

There is not a whole lot that you can do when it comes to cervical dilation. It is going to be an uncomfortable process, but your body is in charge. Your cervix will be dilating for weeks at a time (in many cases). In fact, in the weeks before birth, it will dilate to about 3cm. By the time you enter labor, it will be 7cm, and when you give birth it will be 10cm. This is when you will be asked to give birth. Just because you are dilating does not mean you are ready. It is unlikely your doctor will induce labor unless it is an emergency. You will just need to go with the flow. When your baby is ready to come out, it will come out.

 

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