Cervix in late pregnancy? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 11-07-2006, 01:59 PM - Thread Starter
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I was hoping someone knew how your cervix feels in late pregnancy (about 37 weeks).
I checked mine when we were trying tro conceive but have only done it very rarely since bein pregnant. I know that last week my cervix was pretty much the same as before i was pregnant i.e quite firm and closed .BUT i checked today and it feels totally different!.
It feels as if the outside is flat and there is a second opening inside that - i have never felt that before?

I have been havin irregular contractions for the last day or so although nothing major - could this be effacement?


Mummy to Jessica (5) Jacob (3) and Bethan (9 months) and number 4 due August 2010!!
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#2 of 9 Old 11-07-2006, 03:03 PM
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I'd think so. Hopefully someone more knowledgable can come here and answer. Just remember, you can walk around for weeks like that (dilated and effaced)! Good luck!

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#3 of 9 Old 11-07-2006, 08:04 PM
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Effacement is the 'flattening out' or drawing up of the cervix. So what felt like a 'nose tip' projecting into your vagina, will now be gone (or half gone) and will press up and flatten to the top of your vaginal canal.

Dilation is the 'tip end' of the cervix opening. You can sometimes feel a tiny 'slit' or opening at the tip, or more 'dimple like' if you are not pregnant. It will dialate a bit during your menstrual cycle also. During pregnancy, you could be dialated a 'finger tip or around 1cm' for months! ...or you could walk around 3-4 cm for the final month (like I am currently).

You will have either or both effacement and dialation going on towards the last few weeks as things 'prepare' for the birth.

It can be frustrating! I'm 50% effaced and 2-3 cm, but have been so for two weeks. I was 50% effaced and 'fingertip' dialated for the last few months. This is a third pregnancy, and all it could mean is that my uterus/cervix remembers what it should be doing in preparation!

If you know what your cervix normally feels like, then it's easy to do your own checks. If you are metric challenged...hehe.. then it's about 2.54 cm per inch. So when fully dialated at 10 cm, you will have a cervical opening about 4 inches across. Usually enough for baby to pass through (this is also usually the size incision for a c-section).

Be careful if you slip a fingertip into the opening, as the membranes can get disturbed and you can spot or bring on a contraction. But a gentle, 'swipe' across the cervix tip to see about how large the opening is, should be safe. Wash hands well, before and after. Usually late in pregnancy there is alot of increased discharge, that will help flush any bacteria down and out anyway. It's definitely more comfortable than getting a latex gloved 'professional' check! My midwife has never checked me, just goes on what I tell her at my appts.
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#4 of 9 Old 11-08-2006, 01:16 AM
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The human body is truly amazing. I walked around dilated to 5-6 cm and was 100% effaced for 3 weeks! I thought that was a record, but since my last pregnancy I have heard of other women who have been at 7, 8 and 9 cm before labor even started. : This seems to be the pattern I follow I dilate to at least 5 then my wter breaks, then an hour later(a pretty initense hour) I have a baby. As for checking your own cervix, I am a Natural Family Planner, so I have done this often throughout my fertility cycle. You can tell more about how close you are to birth by your own attitude then by your cervix, which is why woman can still give birth w/out a vaginal exam. Good luck to you.

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#5 of 9 Old 11-08-2006, 01:48 PM
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i was wondering about that, someone told me or i read through a message someone sent me about when u feel your cervix, it feelsl ike ad onut shape but the other day i got curious and tried to check and i felt no donut shape at all, will u not feel it if u have dilated? i wouldnt be suprised if i were dilated, the baby seems to have dropped and i keep getting random cramps in my cervix/pelvic area but ima reread the thing they sent me again to get an idea again,
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#6 of 9 Old 11-08-2006, 03:25 PM
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Mine feels very high, soft and squishy.
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#7 of 9 Old 11-08-2006, 08:23 PM
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I checked mine at 32 weeks when I was having a lot of lower abdominal pain and pressure. The cervix was high and super mushy, but not dilated or effaced. Later that day my midwife did a fetal fibronectin swab but then told me the sample might not be sterile (and give a valid result) because I had checked myself. She does the swab before doing a manual exam herself, to keep things sterile.

SO, heads up, if you're considering getting a fetal fibronectin test, don't go pokin' around. I didn't ask her about how long one would have to wait after sex for a sample, since that is not really much of a going concern anywhere around my big belly these days.
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#8 of 9 Old 11-09-2006, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by mitintraining View Post
You can tell more about how close you are to birth by your own attitude then by your cervix, which is why woman can still give birth w/out a vaginal exam.
I just experienced this Monday. I got irritable when contractions got close and strong. I was okay with the idea of having one or two cervical checks but my midwife only arrived about an hour before I was ready to push, and transition was so fast. It's funny: after he was born I said in surprise, "Hey, we never did a cervical check!" So yes, you can birth without them!

Michele, mom of DD 5/01, DD 11/03, and DS 11/06


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#9 of 9 Old 11-09-2006, 10:30 AM
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I posted this exact question a few days ago on the midwives and birth professionals forum, and have gotten some great answers. Here's the link ...unfortunately, I can't even reach my cervix...oh well!

A + J = Miriam (November 2006) and Raymond (June 2010)
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