Cervix dilation is also known as dilatation, it is
a gradual process where the mouth of the cervix widens
from 0-10 centimeters (4 inches in width) during the
course of labor. When the cervix is dilating or opening
it is considered to be a sign that labor is on the
Cervix Dilation is the
width of the opening of the cervix as baby makes its
descent head down.
• The cervix is a thick-walled canal about 2
cm thick and tightly closed. Though hormones will
soften and thin it, first-stage contractions are required
to dilate and thin the cervix.
• Contractions will widen the diameter of the
cervix. Labor is popularly divided into 2 phases:
active and latent with the transition phase in between.
During the latent phase dilation reaches about 3-4
cm; the cervix widens to about 7 cm in the active
phase with most of the hard work i.e. intense labor
during the transition phase where full dilation is
achieved. Repeat contractions stretch the cervix to
a full 10 cm.
• Doctors often gauge the labor progress by
the dilatation of the cervix. Vaginal exams to measure
how far you are dilated by feeling the opening of
your cervix are commonplace during labor.
• Dilation is measured in centimeters. There
are 2½ cm to an inch. Often fingers are also used
to estimate the rate of dilation although its accuracy
is debatable since finger sizes differ in individuals.
For example, when dilation is said to be 3-4 cm, it
is equivalent to two-three fingers; when a woman is
fully dilated she is said to have entered the 2nd
stage of labor with her cervix having reached 10 cm
(equal to five fingers).
• Dilatation in first time mothers can take
hours or even days to reach the 3-4 cm (1-2 inches)
of the latent phase. It can only take place once the
cervix has softened. Dilation process moves slowly
initially during the first stage and picks up momentum
with the aid of intense contractions during the transition
stage once you approach the 10 cm mark.
• Pain intensifies when the cervix is fully
dilated and it then unifies with the body of the uterus
to become one continuous pathway through which the
baby passes through.
• First time mothers have longer labors because
effacement and dilation are two separate processes;
effacement precedes dilation. In subsequent deliveries
dilation and effacement occur concurrently, shortening
the labor process.
in a Gist
in terms of food
||Wide as a banana
||Wide as a lid
of a coke can
||Wide as a bagel