Does the cervix *always* dilate 10 cm? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 12 Old 05-03-2009, 08:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This could be a really dumb question, but...

Is it ALWAYS 10cm that the cervix dilates to? In every woman, in every labor, every time? (obviously, I know that scheduled cs would be an exception).

It just seems like nothing is ever guaranteed in pg/labor/birth. And babies have different head sizes.

Or am I taking the whole "10cm" thing too literally, and it could be different in different births?

Is it possible that a doc/mw would think you are dilated fully, when really your cervix is still dilating more?

Becky, partner to Teague, SAHM to Keagan (7yo), Jonah (2yo)
 

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#2 of 12 Old 05-03-2009, 10:17 PM
 
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I often wondered the same thing myself. I think (HCPs, please correct me if I'm wrong) that 10 cm is probably the average dilation to make the cervix completely disappear. Like all things, there's a normal distribution. I would wager that most HCPs, when doing vaginal exams, feel first for the distance and second for how much cervix is remaining. Once the distance is about right and there is no detectable cervix, you're complete.

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#3 of 12 Old 05-03-2009, 10:53 PM
 
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I don't think that's a dumb question at all! As a matter of fact, DH had the same Q. I happen to think it's a smart Q! Yup, nothing in nature is every totally uniform, so there is just NO WAY that it's always exactly 10 cm for every woman's cervix to dilate fully to birth every baby.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kltroy View Post
Once the distance is about right and there is no detectable cervix, you're complete.
Yup - that's what one of my MWs said when DH asked. She also didn't seem to think it was an odd Q. Just said, "Well, we say 'you're 10 cm' when I can't feel any cervix remaining."
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#4 of 12 Old 05-03-2009, 10:57 PM
 
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That's a great questions and something I've always wondered as well so thanks for asking!

Beth, Mama to my two nurslings, DD 2.22.07 and DS 6.20.09 Worn, Intact, CD, Unvaxed, Born at Home!
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#5 of 12 Old 05-03-2009, 11:11 PM
 
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I have always wondered that myself. A standard size for different shaped women with different shaped babies made no sense to me. Thanks for asking!
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#6 of 12 Old 05-04-2009, 02:46 AM
 
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I asked my MW this question when I was pregnant with my DD. And the answer was no, not all women have to go to 10 and sometimes 10 isn't enough. It is the average, I guess.

She did say that if a woman needs to thin a bit past 10 cm, she doesn't tell them during labor. It can be a bit discouraging.
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#7 of 12 Old 05-04-2009, 11:05 AM
 
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nope, sometimes a bit more and sometimes a bit less. I just say "complete" when I can't feel any cervix around the baby's head anymore, this might be 10cm exactly or it might be a bit bigger or smaller.

Erika, mama to three beautiful kids (plus one gestating), and wife to one fantastic man.

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#8 of 12 Old 05-04-2009, 01:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Whew! I'm glad other people posted to say they've wondered the same thing!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by kltroy View Post
Once the distance is about right and there is no detectable cervix, you're complete.
So *that's* how they know! That makes sense.

Becky, partner to Teague, SAHM to Keagan (7yo), Jonah (2yo)
 

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#9 of 12 Old 05-08-2009, 10:06 PM
 
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I watched a movie or video (can't remember for the life of me what it was) but this woman was only dilated to 5 cm and had an incredible urge to push. They waited for a while, and the midwife let her push and the baby was born. The didn't say that there were any problems afterward, after the birth the mother seemed happy and content.

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#10 of 12 Old 05-08-2009, 10:23 PM
 
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You might find this to be an interesting read about the whole 10 cm thing.

http://www.midwiferytoday.com/articles/ruleof10.asp

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#11 of 12 Old 05-08-2009, 10:33 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evie's Mama View Post
You might find this to be an interesting read about the whole 10 cm thing.

http://www.midwiferytoday.com/articles/ruleof10.asp
Exactly what I was about to post. Great article.
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#12 of 12 Old 05-09-2009, 01:00 AM
 
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Awesome article, thank you so much for that link!

Now I'm sitting here wondering if my cervix is actually only 7cm long, am I just walking around at a 3 all the time?

:yawning 33yo first-time solo mama to DD born 11/21/09
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