As you reach your ninth month of pregnancy in your final trimester, your doctor will give you an internal exam to check your cervix for any early signs of labor and during this check-up, she will also see if your baby’s head is engaged. 1cm pregnancy – what does it mean?
Pregnancy dilation: 1cm pregnancy
After confirming whether your cervix has dilated (opened up) and effaced (thinned out), and if it has started to soften and move to the front of the vagina, she might be able to give you an estimated date as to when you can expect to deliver.
But how dilated do you have to be and what does it mean if you are 1cm dilated?
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1 cm in pregnancy
1. What is pregnancy dilation or cervix dilation?
If you touch the tip of your nose, that is pretty similar to how your cervix feels before labor. Normally it will also be slightly firm and closed, so as to protect your growing baby from the outside world.
But as your body prepares for labor, your cervix will get very soft and will start to dilate, and thin out. This is otherwise known as cervical effacement.
So before your baby can make her grand debut, your cervix must be completely dilated and thinned out.
2. Cervical effacement
Not only does your cervix have to be open all the way, but it also needs to thin out completely for your baby to be born.
As your labor progresses, your hard and long cervix will gradually thin out over time.
Cervical effacement is measured in percentage, so when your cervix is 100% effaced, that’s when it is thin enough (paper-thin, in fact!) for your bub to easily pass through.
3. 1cm dilated in pregnancy: Signs you’re dilating
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How do you know if your cervix is dilating? Here are signs you’re dilating and what feelings to expect.
Lightning crotch is the feeling of sharp shooting pains in the vaginal area of a woman. This is caused by your baby’s head dropping into the pelvis, thus, exerting pressure. It creates lightning-like shocks by pressing on your nerves.
It is an apparent discomfort usually felt once a woman’s due date approaches.
The cramping resembles the cramping pain you get before or at the start of your menstruation. It usually occurs down low, right above your pubic bone.
According to Jada Shapiro, a postpartum doula and founder of boober, people who are in early labor (less than 6cm) will have contractions that are ranging from 20 minutes to 6 minutes apart.
She notes that women who aren’t yet fully dilated can usually speak through their contractions and may be able to do other things like talk or watch TV.
When your dilation is further along (say, 6-8cm), you may find it more difficult to concentrate on anything other than the contractions.
Thus, you shouldn’t be frightened or believe you’re in active labor until you’re feeling consistent contractions that are becoming stronger and closer together.
According to Juliana Parker, RNC-OB, labor and delivery nurse, a mucus plug is like a “glob of mucus that is filled with brownish discharge and maybe a little blood”.
There’s no need to fear if you lose your mucus plug. It’s not the same as your water bursting. It can occur anywhere from a few weeks to a few hours prior to labor. Because the mucus plug seals the opening to the cervix, it’s possible that you’ll lose it as your cervix thins and dilates.
This discharge is different from your mucus plug. It is commonly pink or brownish and is thinner in consistency than the mucus plug.
Unlike your mucus plug, which keeps your cervix closed, the bloody show indicates that your cervix’s blood vessels are breaking as you expand. So, once you witness the bloody display, you’ll know it’s about to begin!
As mentioned earlier, you’ll be able to confirm your cervix dilation during cervical exams. Thus, you’ll know what cm exactly are you dilated.
4. Is it a sign that you’re going into labor?
You might think that being at least 1cm pregnancy dilated means that you’ll be giving birth sometime soon, but this is not usually the case.
1cm pregnancy dilation or cervix dilation does not indicate when exactly you will go into labor or how fast your labor will be — in fact, you can even be dilated by a few centimeters for a few weeks before going into labor!
However, even if your cervix is still completely closed, you could possibly go into labor the very same day, because every woman’s body is different and each pregnancy is unique.
5. 1cm to 10 cm dilated: what does it mean?
When you go into labor, your cervix will stretch from 0 cm to be fully dilated at 10 cm.
A vaginal exam will determine your cervix dilation and is measured by how many finger widths can fit into the opening of your cervix.
If the tip of one finger can fit, this means that your cervix is 1 cm dilated; if two fingertips can fit, that means it is 2 cm.
After which, the distance the two fingers can stretch apart will indicate further cervix dilation. But what exactly happens at 1 cm, all the way up to 10 cm?
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1cm dilated in pregnancy: What is 1cm in pregnancy?
1 cm pregnant: You may hear these words before and you were wondering what is 1 cm in pregnancy means. You are 1 cm pregnant if your cervix is the size of a single Cheerio and you can have your hospital bag on standby because your body is getting ready to give birth.
1 cm dilated how much longer ‘til labor? 2 cm dilated how much longer ‘til labor?
If you are still wondering how much longer would it take for you to give birth when you are 1 cm pregnant or in 2 cm pregnancy, then the answer is – it depends on a person.
Being 2 cm dilated in pregnancy does not necessarily mean that you are about to labor. There are women who may go into labor after a few hours after 2 cm dilation. While there are other women who remain 2 cm dilated for a few days or weeks until the labor happens.
There’s a big possibility that you enter the early stage of labor once your cervix is in 3 cm pregnancy dilation. After 3 cm pregnancy dilation, your cervix will eventually dilates to 6 cm.
By now, your cervix is about the same size as a Ritz cracker — but if this is your first pregnancy, it might take you a little longer to go through the early stages of labor.
Would you believe that your cervix is now around the same diameter as a soda can?
“Active labor” would have started by now, causing your cervix to dilate faster, so your contractions will be stronger, longer, more regular, and painful!
Once you are 10cm dilated, your cervix is considered fully open and is the same size as a bagel!
You might even be told to prepare yourself to start pushing as soon as your cervix has completely effaced.
6. How long does it take to dilate from 1cm pregnancy dilation to 10 cm
The time it takes for a woman to go from 1cm pregnancy dilation to giving birth varies from one woman to another. One mom can go from having a closed cervix to giving birth in just an hour, while another maybe 1 or 2 cm dilated for days or even weeks.
There are even some pregnant women who are not dilated until they’re right on labor. This means that some mothers have a closed cervix at first that immediately opens to 10 cm when labor induces.
For those who have previously given birth, dilation may occur a few days or weeks before labor begins.
7. Reasons for cervix not dilating
Despite long hours of laboring in great pain, the cervix of some mothers fails to open beyond three or four centimeters. When this happens, many mothers who planned on having a vaginal birth are forced to have a c-section.
Dr. Gayatri Deshpande, gynecologist from Nanavati Super Specialty Hospital in Mumbai, some women face this problem during labor because the fetal head is not in the right position, leading to difficulty for the cervix to dilate. She notes that mental stress from the anxiety and pain may also affect the dilation of one’s cervix. Lastly, this condition can also be idiopathic. Even when the pregnant woman has a completely healthy and safe pregnancy, the cervix can act up and not dilate as expected.
8. How to get your cervix dilated
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Although it’s probably best to just let your body do its own thing naturally, there are a few steps you can take to encourage your cervix to dilate a bit faster: especially if it’s just 1 cm dilated, and how to speed up labor is your current concern.
It’s good to stay calm, think positively, and visualize your cervix opening up as you repeat the following affirming message to yourself:
“My cervix is opening, like a flower. My pelvis is flexible and open. My muscles are warm, heavy, and totally relaxed.”
When you’re concerned with 2 cm dilated how to speed up labor, you may also want to try taking a nice warm shower. It will help your tense muscles to relax and can ease tension as your body prepares itself for labor.
Moreover, you can choose to soak for a while in a warm bath, but just make sure that someone is there to help you get in and out of the tub.
Ask your partner to give you a gentle massage, as this is another way to help you relax, which is beneficial to the whole process of cervical dilation and your answer to the 1 cm dilated how to speed up labor question.
You can sit down or lie on your side in a comfortable position and play some soft music in the background to further add to the relaxing mood.
Since your partner is already giving you a massage anyway, you might want to try having sexual intercourse, as the hormones found in semen (prostaglandins) can actually help your cervix to dilate and efface!
After you have an orgasm or stimulate your nipples, your body will release oxytocin, which is another hormone that helps to encourage cervical dilation.
Long, slow strides
Going up and down some stairs by taking long and slow strides can also help with cervix dilation.
Walking wider and slower than normal causes your cervix to stretch and eventually dilate.
Empty your bladder
A full bladder could inhibit contractions so there will be less pressure on your cervix, which in turn will result in a slower dilation.
So although it’s good to stay hydrated, remember to urinate regularly to help speed things along!
You don’t have to go to a Zumba class or have an intense workout. By walking around as much as you can, your bub will gradually move down into your birth canal. Thanks to all your body movement and gravity.
The pressure from your little one’s head pressing down on your cervix may also help with dilation and effacement, which can also trigger contractions that further encourage dilation.
Take it easy
Don’t let the numbers worry you and try not to get too hung up over how dilated you are. Just let your body do its own thing and try to stay as calm and relaxed as you can. If it’s really bothering you, you may consult your doctor or midwife. He or she can guide you through the process and answer all of your worries and questions.
9. When to call the doctor
Experiencing dilation means your body may be on its way to preparing for your baby’s arrival. However, it does not mean that you’re going to give birth anytime soon. Stay in touch with your doctor, and keep an eye out for any other signs of labor. If you notice any changes that your doctor hasn’t discussed with you, call them.
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10. Stages of labor
The process of cervix opening is called dilating. During labor, the cervix opens to give way to the passage of your baby. There are different stages of labor that you need to know, so you may prepare yourself.
Stage 1 of labor is divided into two phases. One is the latent phase and the other is the active phase.
This stage is commonly referred to as the “waiting game” stage of labor. In this stage, contractions are not yet strong and regular. But the cervix is now getting ready for the actual labor. It may soften and shorten as it prepares for more regular contractions.
As you move past the latent phase, you are now entering the active phase of labor. Once your cervix dilates to around 5 to 6 cm and your contractions begin to last longer, stronger and closer together, then you are considered to be in an active phase of labor.
How long the dilation will happen depends on if it’s your first baby or not. First-time moms tend to move slower through labor than moms who have delivered a baby before. Once the active stage of labor begins, a steady cervical dilation is expected to happen every hour. The first stage of labor ends when you are fully dilated to 10 cm.
Once your cervix is fully dilated to 10 cm then you are now entering the second stage of labor. At this stage, even though your cervix is fully dilated, it does not mean that you are now going to deliver the baby. It would take some time until your baby moves down the birth canal. When your baby is in the right position in your birth canal, then it is time to push to help them go out. The second stage of labor ends when the baby is finally delivered.
Just like in stage 1 of labor, how long will it take to deliver the baby in the second stage of labor differs from woman to woman. There are moms that move past the 2nd stage of labor in just minutes while there are also women that take hours of labor until the baby is born.
This stage is also important although the baby is already born. Stage 3 of labor is the stage where the placenta will be delivered. The placenta is delivered the same way as the baby.
Remember again mommy, every woman and every baby are different and unique individuals. There’s no universal rule on how long should the labor take.
Republished with permission from The Indus Parent
Additional information written by Jobelle Macayan
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