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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Our MW has done no internal checks (per our request.)<br><br>
Out of curiosity, my DH and I decided to check me. My small fingers couldn't find my cervix, but he was able to find it. He could put his middle finger fully into the center of my cervix and said it felt "very soft with a little bit of wiggle room." He could feel the baby's head, too.<br><br>
So, anyway, is the dilation the same as the width of his finger, plus the "wiggle room?"<br><br>
How do you judge effacement? I meant what is soft? I know what my cervix felt like pre-pregnancy, DH knows what it felt like throughout, but what is it with percentages?<br><br>
I can't seem to find any explanations online, so any links and comments or just a good old-fashioned explanation here would make my day.<br><br>
Thanks, Ladies!!
 

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Dilation is an estimate of how open the cervix is. Measuring it depends some on the size of the examiner's fingers. When I can put 1finger through the cervix, that is 1 cm for me. 1 finger plus able to move it a little may be more like 2 cms for a man's finger I'd guess. For me, 2 cms is when I can get both my first 2 fingers through, but it's a very tight fit. If I can open my 2 fingers a little (like 2 fingers plus wiggle room) it's 3 cms. If can open my fingers more inside the cervix, from practice I know how open they are - but when I was learning I would try to rememeber exactly how open they were during the exam, then line them up with something to measure.<br>
Effacement is a measurement of how thin the cervix is. It is pretty subjective. The non-effaced cervix in pregnancy is about 3-4 cms thick. That means if you can reach all the way through the internal os and touch the presenting part through it you would feel about 3-4 cms of a tunnel of cervix around your fingers. About 50 % effaced would mean you would feel a tunnel about 1.5-2 cms thick. When you are 100% effaced, the cervix feels like a paper thin ring you can feel against the presenting part or bag. Every other percentage is a guestimate of somewhere in between.<br>
The consistency of the cervix varies, too. When you aren't pregnant, the cervix usually feels firm, kind of like your nose. In pregnancy, particularly at the end, the cervix becomes softer and softer and feels more like your lips. Before labor, when the cervix is still not all the way effaced, it can feel very like putting your fingers through your lips.<br>
Does that make any sense?<br>
I'd guess your were probably now 1-2 cms dilated, and 50% or so if your dh can reach the head easily - or somewhere in that range!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
doctorjen,<br><br>
Thanks for the explanation....I really appreciate it.<br><br>
So, I take it the cms of dilation is the diameter of the space, not the radius. Also, can we just measure DH's finger to know for sure?<br><br>
I can't see why not, but my baby brain is really acting up today....I had to ask DH, "That word? Not radius, but ______, it starts with a D. What is it?" Sheesh. Forgive me for being so dense.
 

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Weird - I just read something about how to teach what effacement feels like. Here's what it says (taken from Childbirth Graphics - Teaching Effectively with Visual Aides):<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">To help parents/students understand why the cervix must soften (ripen) before it can effectively shorten and thin out (effacement), gently pinch the tip of your nose between your thumb and index finger. Explain that this is the approximate firmness of the cervix at the end of pregnancy. Then open your mouth and press your cheeks gently with your thumb and index finger. This is the approximate softness needed for the cervix to efface and dilate.</td>
</tr></table></div>
It also mentions that in order for the cervix to dilate effectively, it must be about 50% effaced. Hope this helps. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 
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