Giving birth is a beautiful experience indeed. Most expectant mothers feel the same, but have several doubts attached to it as well. This is more true if you are a first time mom and may be unaware of the process of childbirth.
Do not fret, because your body is designed to take you through the process of birth naturally and safely.
Your body goes through a lot of changes during pregnancy and labor. The cervix is one of the most important parts of your anatomy and plays a vital role in the entire labor process.
What Happens To The Cervix During Birth?
This might be the foremost question pregnant mothers ask their doctors. Let us help you with this.
Labor is a physically and mentally challenging process. During this process, your body goes through a lot of stress, while it gets ready. The cervix, which is located between your vagina and uterus, during the process, it also prepares itself for labor. Until labor the cervix stays blocked by a mucus plug.
[ Read: Occiput Posterior Position ]
8 Cervix Changes During Labor:
Through your pregnancy and during labor, your cervix goes through the following different changes:
1. The cervix is designed in such a way to protect development of the fetus. It remains closed and provides support to the growing fetus and the uterus in an expectant mother’s body.
2. At first the cervix has to move from the posterior position into the anterior position so that it’s pointing forward.
3. During labor the cervix needs to flex to intrauterine pressure and contractions of the uterus.
4. It also has to achieve effacement, which is thinning of the wall.
5. As the pregnancy reaches its end, the cervix begins to ‘ripen.’ It begins to reach vascularity, as the amniotic fluid content inside increases.
6. It starts to change in color and also starts to soften. These changes make the cervix stretch and thin. This is to enable it to deal with labor contractions.
7. The cervix goes from fully closed to 10 centimeters dilation during labor, in order to allow your baby’s head pass through it.
8. The cervix dilation during labor is as follows:
- Latent Phase: 0-3 centimeters
- Active Labor: 4-7 centimeters
- Transition: 8-10 centimeters
- Fully Dilated: 10 centimeters; shortly after this stage the baby is delivered.
[ Read: Positions During Labor ]
What Are The Complications With The Cervix During Labor?
At times there can be some complications or problems with the cervix, like:
- The cervix usually measures equal to or greater than 3 centimeters in length. If the cervix is found to be less than 3 centimeters, it possesses a potential problem like incompetent cervix and a possible premature delivery.
- The cervix is designed to shorten and widen during pre-labor contractions. If it shortens without contraction it’s called incompetent and this could lead to premature delivery.
- If this happens, a cervical cerclage is done, where stitches are placed on the cervix to hold it close. It’s usually extremely rare with only 1% of the women undergoing this procedure.
- In rare cases a woman’s cervix maybe stenotic, which means the cervix opening is tightly shut and doesn’t dilate or open in anyway. This could be due to any earlier infection, radiation exposure, surgery or just a genetic anomaly.
[ Read: Cervical Cerclage ]
5 Effective Tips To Relax During Labor:
Labor is a crucial time where the more you stress the more it can get difficult. In order to ensure a smooth labor, it is important you relax.
Here are a few steps that can help you relax:
1. Always listen to your body.
2. Meditate and try to relax as much as possible.
3. Don’t try to be a martyr, opt for pain relief medications like an epidural if the contractions are too painful.
4. Change positions to what makes you feel comfortable.
5. Don’t forget to breathe in between pushes as this will provide you enough oxygen.
[ Read: Breathing Techniques During Labour ]
Once your baby is born, you can start breast feeding. This will stimulate your hormones to release the placenta.
Giving birth is an amazing feeling and achievement coupled by lots of emotions. You may feel sore due to the episiotomy in a vaginal birth or may experience pain if you have had a Caesarean.
Remember that your body has been through a huge emotional and physical upheaval during the months of pregnancy and during birth. Be kind to your body and give it a lot of time to recoup.
Hope you found our information helpful to prepare you towards labor. Moms, do share your labor stories with us to help other would-be moms.
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