Sure, micahmae-- I can understand it might be helpful in some circumstances. Absolutely, it can at least give a clue in cases like yours.
I think when I've known someone's dilation, though, it's like 98% of the time "I am 1-2 cm dilated, 25-75% effaced, etc." from maybe 34-38 weeks or so... Which, okay, that's cool, but I feel like maybe (in the "mainstream" especially, for lack of a better word) women are being told this means something... Or that being "completely high and closed" means something. Or like has been said... IDK, in most cases, I think it's another piece of (non-)information for information's sake that if anything, leads to poorer or the same outcomes, but which takes more philosophical control from the woman-baby dyad and puts it in the hands of doctors, machines, "objective" measurements, math... Sort of a mechanization effect, and the more "technical" information it seems you "need" to know, the more women are supposed to depend on doctors, hospitals, etc. (I am going to insert again here that my mother is an allopathic MD and I am all for "modern medicine" in many cases, but I still think this is a valid and important point.)
What I am reminded of is an off-topic post by a 50-60 y.o. woman on a business-related board I used to post on. She was saying that @ ~34 weeks, her daughter was told her baby was measuring huge on the u/s and she should consider induction at 38-39, and then at 36 weeks, baby is too small, has suspected IUGR (and she should consider induction, etc.), and LOL and what the heck? So I VERY gently kinda said, well, these things aren't necessarily super-accurate, and maybe she should think about getting a second opinion b/c it looks like the doctor may be placing a bit too much emphasis on an iffy "measuring technique," etc. And she was like, "Oh, no-- don't get me wrong! I am THRILLED my daughter has access to all this fabulous technology and critical information, because obviously it means she is getting the very best possible medical care. I just thought it was 'funny.'"
So... I mean, I think some of this becomes a part of the big Machine That Goes Ping! You're Not Qualified, Dear. And a false sense/illusion of control. YKWIM? I know my thoughts are kinda disjointed b/c I'm doing like three other things as I write this, but... It also makes me think of a story my MW was just telling... And she is a CNM, mind you... About how she attended one birth where things were going beautifully, so she was mainly just checking the HB every 30 (and later every 15) minutes, and then a quick catch, no repairs needed, etc. And the mother of the birthing woman apparently complained later that she (the midwife) "didn't do anything" (but, apparently "play on her computer"-- she was actually taking notes about the birth on her laptop). Because OBVIOUSLY birth can't be something that, in many/most cases, women can understand and "do" themselves, or with a little, relatively low-tech help. No, we ALL NEED printouts and numbers and Machines That Go Ping! or we won't know what's going on. Even though, you know... dilation is only very occasionally important information (especially prior to labor, but also often during labor), u/s "measurements" for weight and fluid and such are notoriously inaccurate, even hours passing on the clock aren't directly correlated to much, and continuous fetal monitoring raises C/S rates without improving outcomes, etc., etc... No, we're supposed to be grateful for the Very Best Possible Medical Care that only numbers and experts can provide.
Okay, incoherent rant over, LOL...