How do you know how many centimeters dilated/% effaced you are during labor? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 02-17-2003, 11:13 AM - Thread Starter
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I read many birth stories about women who say they were only 3 cm dilated or 8 cm dilated and I wonder how do they know?

I am expecting my fourth and I've never known during labor what I was dilated to or my % of effacement (Maybe I simply don't remember?)

I had 2 babies in Atlanta (1996 and 1998) and one in Portland (1999) attended by a midwife in a hospital.

I never had pitocen or an epidural. I had a belly fetal monitor once (not the internal one); would that matter? Would you get checked more if you had these things or if you had complications? Maybe it's the style of your health care professional?

I am not worried or anything I am just wondering how you know? Do you ask to be checked? Is it reassuring to know?

I am thinking perhaps because I always needed to move around I was not as easy mother to check! LOL!

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#2 of 6 Old 02-17-2003, 12:00 PM
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The midwife did internals and told me the results, the only way to know is through a check.
Oh and you don't need them often, I had 3 one on admitting, one in the "middle" and one right before I started to push.

Mom to ds 9 dd 7 : and dd 3/08 : if I can I go to
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#3 of 6 Old 02-17-2003, 01:25 PM
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Debra, you are living proof that many docs would benefit from seeing!! A woman who didn't have a jillion vaginal exams during her labor---who went on to actually BIRTH her babies, and have MORE babies and birth them, too!!! LOL

I think the caregiver's style & probably hospital policy will determine how many exams a woman has. There are certain styles of caregiving that really love NUMBERS--be it numbers on the clock, or centimeters dialated & percent effaced.

I do think Pit and all pain-relieving drugs will result in more exams...the caregiver will want to see if the Pit is working--how many cm's is mom NOW, before Pit, and how many is she later, after Pit. Is mom close to pushing? (7 cms) 'cause then no drugs 'cept an epidural.

I just got a copy of my labor progress notes and was suprised to read that I had 8 exams!! whoah. I didn't remember that many.
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#4 of 6 Old 02-17-2003, 01:36 PM
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My midwife would check me a couple of times and then tell me how far I was dialated. I laboured at home and then would go to the hospital to push the baby out. I had really big babies and the first time I hemmoraged after he was born so I felt more comfortable going in to the hospital. With my second baby it was reassuring to know because I was dialating pretty rapidly so it was nice to know all the work was paying off! Very uncomfortable to lie still and be checked but worth it for me. I wouldn't bother if I were in your situation as it would probably be an unnecessary distruption to the rythm of your labour.
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#5 of 6 Old 02-17-2003, 05:18 PM
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I knew because my midwife announced it every time she did a vaginal exam.

I didn't know it at the time (which was why I allowed her to do them) but not only was it totally unnecessary, it increased my discomfort and inhibition, and discouraged me, and therefore interfered with the labor.

I chose not to have any checks for my second and third births (and still managed to somehow give birth -- amazing how that happens! )

It's unusual not to be checked in the hospital, or for them not to announce it if they do check.
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#6 of 6 Old 02-17-2003, 06:01 PM
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Well, with my first, I did not call my midwife until I felt like I had to push; she checked me one time to ensure I was fully dilated.
Second: the cont'x were coming on every couple of minutes, so she came over. I was dying to find out how far along I was, so I asked her to check me, and I was seven. That was the only check, and only because I wanted one.
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