The months leading up to those final few weeks of pregnancy can seem like they are fooooorever. The first few months fly by and then suddenly you are in your final few weeks that just seem to drag by. The emotions are high, you are so excited to meet your baby, and you are probably wondering when you will go into labor. Your provider might bring up checking your cervix for dilation around 36-37 weeks. During this time, your provider will check to see if your cervix has dilated, effaced, and they also can get a better gauge of what station baby is (how high or low baby is in the pelvis). This can be exciting, but it can also be disappointing. Imagine feeling all the contractions and pains towards the end of your pregnancy and you are feeling like possibly there is some changes going on down there. Your provider comes in the room and asks if you want your cervix checked. You get excited and say “Yes!”. All those contractions and pains should have done some changes to your cervix by now, right? The excitement is everything BUT- your provider tells you that you are only 1cm dilated. This is where disappointment can set in. It can be very discouraging to have someone tell you that you are ONLY 1cm dilated or maybe not even dilated at all. That disappointment can also hinder your body’s natural ability to labor.
What happens if you don’t do anything and deny any cervical checks? Absolutely nothing. Cervical dilation is NOT an indication of when labor will begin. You can be 40 weeks with zero cervical change and go into labor the very next day. OR you can be sitting at 4-5cm dilated for weeks with labor not beginning. There really is no telling when you will go into labor. Cervical checks can also be invasive on yourself and sometimes baby, especially during labor. There really is no need to continuously check the cervix, unless you want it checked of course.
Basically, wrapping it up, cervical checks are NOT super necessary. They can be declined at any time, even during labor. If you feel like you are unsure of the decision to decline or even consent to a cervical check, talk to your provider, or reach out to a birth professional! And lastly, always remember to be patient with yourself, your body, and your baby. Your body and baby know how and when to be born and I promise the uncomfortable doesn’t last forever!
Written by: Natalie Story
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