The dilation of the cervix

Birth dilation

Regardless of the degree of descent of the baby's head down the birth canal, a woman is considered to be in active labor once she reaches the 3-4 cm of expansion. How does the dilation in childbirth?

The contractions that precede the diagnosis of labor are considered preparatory even if they are sometimes felt by the parturient with a certain arrogance and in medical jargon they are called "prodromi".


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Once confirmed the onset of labor they wait about two hours during which cervical dilation is carefully monitored through vaginal inspection.

If the expansion follows its natural path, it is possible to wait for the amniotic sac to rupture spontaneously, even postponing a possible rupture operation when the dilation is almost completed.

At first the cervix dilates slowly, following the contractions which are quite spaced and also bearable. The cervix dilates, in the first phase, until it flattens on the walls of the vagina and in this way the birth canal is formed that will allow the baby to exit.

Once you reach the 8-10 cm of dilation the parturient can finally consider herself in the home straight even if she has to collide with the phase of labor more difficult to bear because contractions, which at this point are very intense, give no respite to the future mother.

In final stage of labor the contractions, in fact, are very close to each other and follow each other intensely, they can last up to ninety seconds

Read also: Engagement of the child in the birth canal

What happens if the uterus does not dilate?

After the contractions have started, the parturient is carefully monitored to check that everything is going well and that the labor is going on in the right way. In case of slowed contractions or failure to rupture the amniotic sac, usually we resort to the practice ofamnioressi that is, the artificial rupture of the amniotic sac by means of a sort of hook.

After about three hours from amnioressi, if the expulsive phase has not yet begun, it is customary to resort to a drip of synthetic oxytocin to induce birth, a substance that performs the function of regulating and intensifying contractions.

Curated by Anna Capitanio

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