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Correlation between dilation/effacement and start of labor?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I know that being a certain amount dilated or effaced doesn't mean that you will definitely know how long it will be before you go into labor - for example, you can be 4 cm dilated at 36 weeks and still go to 42 weeks, or be 0 dilated/effaced and have a baby 6 hours later, BUT....

has anyone seen studies that say women who are say, 3cm dilated have a 60% chance of going into labor in the next 3 days, or something to that effect? That is to say, using cervical checks as a probability predictor of labor?

My last pregnancy, I was thinking about having my 1st cervical check at my 38w3d appointment, but then had DD at 38 weeks. She came *really* fast, and so I am wondering if there is any value in having a cervical exam somewhere around 36 or 37 just to see where things stand, or if there is just no predictive value of this information.
post #2 of 10
I've never seen any studies forming a connection like that. I'm saying at this point that I wont do any cervical checks as I walked around for weeks at 4cm and 60% effaced (cervical check took place at 37.5 weeks and baby came at 41) and was really thinking this baby was about to arrive. Obviously for me it was not a good indicator. I wonder if factoring in engagement makes a difference as well. I would think labour would be more likely if baby's head was engaged to a certain point. In my case the baby was not engaged.
post #3 of 10
With DD I was at around 3cm for over a month... so I wouldn't even trust the studies if there were any that I knew of.
post #4 of 10
My OB doesn't believe in doing them unless I'm in labor right then, he says they mean nothing. He'll only check me if I request it. That leads me to believe that there are no studies, because he stays abreast of the current research and if there was a study he'd at least offer me the information so I could make an informed choice.
post #5 of 10
My MW's do one during labour (if i want). Before that it means pretty much nothing. Even the intervention-friendly doctors, who insisted on several cervical checks near the end of my pregnancy, would say that it didn't mean anything for when i'd go into labour.

It's hard to wait, and it would be easier if we could at least pin it down to a day... but there's just no real way to know!
post #6 of 10
The only test like that is the fetal fibronectin? test but it doesn't relate to dilation at all and it is mainly used in cases of preterm labor. All it does it predict you WON'T go into labor in 2 weeks if it is negative. fFN is not present in a woman's vagina from weeks 22-34 so if the test comes up positive there is a greater chance she will deliver early. After 34 weeks, I'm not sure how reliable it is, and they don't usually use it on low risk women.

http://www.marchofdimes.com/professi...14332_1149.asp

That being said, I started dilating at 32 weeks - was 4+cm and 80-100% effaced for 3 weeks before finally having DD, so dilation really doesn't tell you much.
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
Ok, thanks all! I hadn't ever seen anything that pointed to dilation/effacement being useful to predict when labor might begin, but thought I'd ask In which case, I don't really care to be checked before pushing (yet, I'm a huge data junkie, so I'm also really curious as to what's going on down there!)
post #8 of 10
I walked around at 4 cm dilated with a very low baby for two weeks before choosing to be induced (and walked into the hospital stretchy to 5). I was told for 3 weeks in a row that I would probably have the baby "any day now". Needless to say, I won't be listening to any of those predictions this time if I even decide to have the mw check in the first place.
post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by bri276 View Post
I walked around at 4 cm dilated with a very low baby for two weeks before choosing to be induced (and walked into the hospital stretchy to 5). I was told for 3 weeks in a row that I would probably have the baby "any day now". Needless to say, I won't be listening to any of those predictions this time if I even decide to have the mw check in the first place.
And, for contrast, I was 'high, tight, and firm' on Friday and went into labour on Monday.
post #10 of 10
My last baby was not engaged, and I was ZERO at 41 weeks. When I woke up wondering if I was in labor, I checked and was still absolutely zero. She was born 6 hours from when I first woke up...about an hour and a half after I was sure I was in labor.
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