Your Cervix Has Four Jobs!

As you approach your delivery day, we will offer to check your cervix to see if it is giving signals that your delivery may occur soon.

Unfortunately, a favorable cervix is not a guarantee that something will happen soon – but it can give you an idea of how long your labor will be or how soon you should call when you begin regular contractions. Conversely, a cervix that is not favorable is not an indicator that you can’t or won’t go into labor, or break your bag of waters.

  • Here are the four jobs:

    1) Thin
    Called effacing or effacement, measured in percent. The percent is subjective and varies from one examiner to another. A cervix that is 50% effaced is half as thick as a cervix that has not begun effacing.

    2) Soften
    Also subjective. A soft cervix will respond to contractions more readily and more quickly than a firm cervix will.

    3) Dilate
    Opening in the cervix, measured in centimeters. 10 centimeters is fully dilated. Early dilation can be just a little bit, "fingertip," which is 1 to 1.5 cm.

    4) Swing
    From pointing back toward the tailbone to pointing down the birth canal. Expressed as 'posterior', 'mid', or 'anterior'.
    So, there you have the four jobs: Thin - Soften - Dilate - Swing


    Now that you know the four elements of evaluating the cervix, we can discuss your cervix more accurately - and you can 'talk to your cervix' and tell it what you want it to do!