Cervical Dilation and Effacement
Apr 02, †Ј An insufficient cervix may begin to dilate too early in pregnancy. If there is an insufficient cervix, the following problems are more likely to occur: Miscarriage in the 2nd trimester. Labor begins too early, before 37 weeks. Bag of waters breaks before 37 weeks. A premature (early) delivery. Mar 09, †Ј Effective cervical dilation is dependent on the hormone oxytocin, which stimulates efficient uterine contractions. The uterus draws upwards, which in turn causes the cervix to thin and dilate. It is during this stage of labour women most need to be undisturbed, to promote oxytocin levels to increase as labour progresses.
The ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, cervix and vagina vaginal canal make up the female reproductive system. An incompetent cervix, also called a cervical insufficiency, occurs when weak cervical tissue causes or contributes to premature birth or the loss of an otherwise healthy pregnancy.
Before pregnancy, your cervix Ч the lower part of the uterus that opens to the vagina Ч is normally closed and firm. As pregnancy progresses and you prepare to give birth, the cervix gradually softens, decreases in length effaces and opens dilates. If you have an incompetent cervix, your cervix might begin to open too soon Ч causing you to give birth too early.
An incompetent cervix can be difficult to diagnose and treat. If your cervix begins to open early, or you have a history of cervical insufficiency, your doctor might recommend preventive medication during pregnancy, frequent ultrasounds or a procedure that closes the cervix with strong sutures cervical cerclage.
If you have an incompetent cervix, you may not have any signs or symptoms during early pregnancy. Some women have mild discomfort or spotting over the course of several days or weeks starting between 14 and 20 weeks of pregnancy. An incompetent cervix poses risks for your pregnancy Ч particularly during the second trimester what part of compton is the most dangerous including:. You can't prevent an incompetent cervix Ч but there's much you can do to promote a healthy, full-term pregnancy.
For example:. If you've had an incompetent cervix during one pregnacy, you're at risk of premature birth or pregnancy loss in later pregnancies. If you're considering getting pregnant again, talk with your doctor to understand the risks and what you can do to promote a healthy pregnancy.
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This content does not have an Arabic version. Overview Female reproductive system Open pop-up dialog box Close. Female reproductive system The ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, cervix and vagina vaginal canal make up the female reproductive system.
Request an Appointment at Mayo Clinic. Share on: Facebook Twitter. Show references Berghella V, et al. Cervical insufficiency. Accessed Feb. Gabbe SG, et al. In: Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies. Philadelphia, Pa. Papadakis MA, et al. Obstetrics and obstetric disorders. New York, N. Tanner LD, et al. Boelig RC, et al. Current options for mechanical prevention of preterm birth. Seminars in How to play acoustic guitar book. What can I do to promote a healthy pregnancy?
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Oct 09, †Ј In early labor Ч those days to possibly weeks before it's time to go to the hospital Ч your cervix will dilate up to 6 cm; by active labor it will increase to about 7 to 8 cm. Full cervical dilation Ч when your cervix measures 10 cm Ч occurs at the end of the transitional phase, the last of the three phases of labor. Oct 22, †Ј For about 1 percent of expectant mothers who experience preterm labor, the cause is a condition called cervical insufficiency, formerly known as cervical incompetence. In cervical insufficiency, the cervix begins to dilate (widen) and efface . Physicians must take a thorough history of the mother in order to identify risk factors for an incompetent cervix and premature birth. Factors that may cause the cervix to open or shorten in early pregnancy include anything that can cause cervical weakness (i.e. the cervix is not strong enough to withstand the weight of the growing baby).
As you get closer to labor and delivery, your cervix will begin to dilate open up and efface thin out. Here's what will happen during Ч and leading up to Ч the first stage of labor. Dilation is the opening of the cervix, which is measured in centimeters although your doctor or midwife's fingers actually do the measuring.
Once you dilate to 10 centimeters cm , you're ready to deliver your baby. You generally start dilating in the ninth month of pregnancy as your due date gets closer. The timing is different in every woman. For some, dilation and effacement is a gradual process that can take weeks or even up to a month.
Others can dilate and efface overnight. Effacement is the thinning of the cervix, which is measured in percentages. When you're percent effaced, your cervix has thinned enough for your baby to be born. If you're told you're "70 effaced," that means you're 70 percent effaced, so you're roughly three-quarters of the way to where you need to be to have your baby. If you're "80 effaced," that means you're 80 percent effaced. You're only 20 percent away from being fully effaced at percent, which is when you're ready to deliver.
Your cervix is preparing for delivery by providing an opening from the uterus to the birth canal Ч unblocking the path to your baby's exit route. Beginning in your ninth month of pregnancy, your practitioner will look for clues that labor is getting closer, palpating your abdomen and giving you an internal exam to check your cervix. In addition to seeing if baby's dropped , she's confirming whether your cervix has dilated and effaced and if it's begun to soften and move toward the front of the vagina Ч another indication that labor is getting closer.
Keep in mind, it's not a problem if your baby hasn't dropped just yet; a vaginal delivery is still definitely possible. Based on these factors, she'll likely make an educated guess as to when you'll deliver.
But don't go racing to the hospital just yet if that guess is "soon. As the cervix continues to thin and open, the "cork" of mucus that seals the opening of the cervix , otherwise known as the mucous plug, becomes dislodged. You may or may not notice it happen, and it can occur anywhere from a couple of weeks to hours before labor starts. Then, a few days to 24 hours before delivery day, you'll notice bloody show as the capillaries in your cervix begin to rupture, tinting the vaginal mucus pink or streaking it with blood.
When labor contractions get progressively stronger and don't go away even when you change positions, you'll know it's finally show time! Throughout this process, your cervix will keep on effacing and dilating.
In early labor Ч those days to possibly weeks before it's time to go to the hospital Ч your cervix will dilate up to 6 cm; by active labor it will increase to about 7 to 8 cm.
Full cervical dilation Ч when your cervix measures 10 cm Ч occurs at the end of the transitional phase, the last of the three phases of labor. Once this happens, it's time to start pushing your baby out.
Not a thing: Your body is in charge here. Once your doctor gives you that estimate for baby's arrival, just keep an eye out for other signs of labor so you'll know and be prepared when it's time to go to the hospital. Occasionally if labor stalls or if you have certain risk factors, your practitioner may decide that there's a reason to induce labor and will take steps to move the process along.
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