Before we can say if cervical check is needed before labor, lets ask ourselves “What is a cervical exam and what is the purpose of a cervical exam or check?” A cervical check is when your medical provider (OBGYN, Midwife or OB nurse) examines your cervix for dilation (how open is the cervix), effacement (how soft is your cervix) and baby’s station (how high in your pelvis is baby). In labor the reason for these cervical exams is to determine if these 3 things are progressing. Once your cervix is 10cm dilated, 100% effaced and at a station of at least 0, it is time to birth your baby. There is one thing you need to have your cervix move from 0cm dilated, 0% effaced and a station of -3: and that is contractions. Without the presence of contractions, we would not expect your cervix and baby to make much change without them.
In my work as a birth doula in the Hudson Valley area, I've noticed that cervical dilation checks before due dates are becoming less common. However, there are still some instances where these practices persist. Some reasons you may have a cervical check before labor can include:
The decision to have a cervical check should be made based on individual circumstances and in consultation with a trusted healthcare provider, but is ultimately up to you to decide what happens to your body.
In my "Building a Toolbox for Comfort: Essential Skills for Labor" we will discuss the role of your cervix and how to know you are making change without an exam. Check it out now to register!
Hi I am Danielle. I am a doula, childbirth educator, placenta encapsulation specialist, mother, wife & passionate about birth in the Dutchess, Ulster & Orange County, NY area. I have lived in New Windsor, NY the last 11 years and my office is in Newburgh, NY- convenient to Beacon, Cornwall, Poughkeepsie & Middletown.
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