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but I feel you are the best to answer this for me. I've been reading a book, Diary of a Midwife, I think its called. And a thought popped into my head.<br>
Its always said that a woman is complete at 10cm and can push. This doesn't make sense to me. Nothing else in our bodies is exactly the same so how come all cervixes are complete at the same measurement.
 

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Bumping, because I think that's an excellent question and I'd love to hear an answer!
 

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It's an arbitrary number.<br><br>
If you think about it, if you have a baby with a big head, you might dilate more than 10cm. If you have a preemie, you may only dilate to 8cm before the baby's head slips through the cervix. (Breech babies that are born vaginally sometimes require more dilation if they're frank breech - women are encouraged to not push with breech babies until the baby is well through the cervix, which is often described as "more than 10cm")<br><br>
I can only measure up to 7cm with my fingers spread. After that, I'm basing dilation on how much is around the baby's head (I don't spread my fingers to do the measurement, but actually feel along the baby's head). A woman is declared 9cm when there is just a bit of cervix surrounding the baby's head and the baby's head is nearly through the cervix. She is 10cm when there is no cervix.<br><br>
But, that's not to say that the actual measurement is 9cm or 10cm. It's just numbers that are familiar and state a stage of dilation that is uniform.<br><br>
Does that make sense? I've been up all night with a sick daughter, so I'm hoping I'm coherent. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 
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