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how long does it take the cervix to dilate 5 centimeters? February 13, 2007

Posted by guinever in birth, labor, pregnancy.

It takes a long time for the cervix to dilate 5 centimeters. It’s going to be many days or weeks of having Braxton Hicks contractions before labor begins just to get the cervix ready for labor. But if the cervix isn’t “ripe” for labor and your water breaks or your contractions start, then it’s going to take many hours of early labor just to soften and efface the cervix. When I say many hours, it could be 12-24 hours of having light, but persistent contractions just to get to 2-3 centimeters dilated. And then it will be a few more hours to dilate to 4-5 centimeters.

Before the cervix can dilate or open up, it must first soften. This thinning and softening of the cervix is called effacement, which is measured in percentages. Usually, the cervix is long, hard and closed. As a pregnant woman has Braxton Hicks contractions during pregnancy or in labor, the cervix starts this effacement process which ripens the cervix and prepares it for labor. As the cervix continues to soften, it starts to dilate as well.

You may be checked by your doctor or midwife as your due date approaches and found to be 50% effaced and a fingertip dilated. The next week you may be 60% effaced and still a fingertip dilated. The next week, your cervix may be 2 centimeters dilated. The effacing and dilating of the cervix can take many weeks before “real labor” begins. The more contractions you have before labor starts, the shorter your labor will be.

If you slowly dilate during the last weeks of pregnancy, then your cervix will be “ripe” and ready for labor. You may dilate to 5 centimeters after just a few short hours of labor. And if this isn’t your first baby, getting to 5 centimeters could happen very quickly.

However, there is another scenario. If your labor starts and your cervix hasn’t already done a lot of the effacing and dilating that I just described, it will take many hours of light contractions just to get to 2-3 centimeters dilated.

Sometimes, your water may break before contractions begin. You might stay home for about 12 hours having light contractions. During this time, you can follow your normal routine. Eat when you’re hungry, drink when you’re thirsty. You can even relax in the bath after your water breaks if you want to. After 12 hours of these light contractions, your cervix may only be dilated 1 centimeter. It may be another 12 hours or more before the cervix is dilated to 4-5 centimeters and active labor kicks in.

So be prepared for a long, slow early labor if your cervix hasn’t softened during pregnancy. So to answer the question, how long does it take the cervix to dilate to 5 centimeters? A long time.

What does being 2 centimeters dilated mean?

Cervical dilation 101: frequently asked questions

the absurd p’s of childbirth

Although I welcome questions at my website, please do not ask me when I think you are going to have your baby because I have no idea and can’t make predictions. Thanks so much!


1. Susie - April 23, 2009

My daughter is 38 weeks, menstral cramps,low back pain and pressure. She was in the ER this morning, upon having an exam, the baby’s head was felt and was told he was where he needed to be and ready, cervix still high but soft and thin, no dilation. After a few hours, she was sent home. It has continued off and on throughout the day. Could she be getting close?


Dear Susie, what you are describing sounds like it is probably early labor which will eventually lead to active labor and the birth of the baby. Hang in there. ~blessings, Guinever

2. kevin johnson - April 22, 2009

my wife is said the doctor told her she started dialating . How many weeks can she go from here.

Kevin, I’m sorry,but you didn’t really give me enough information to know how to answer your question (for example, how far along she is.) ~blessings, Guinever

3. Amanda - April 21, 2009

my due date was on the 19th but they are saying that the ultrasound i had was saying i was going to go on the 30th…they just told me that on monday. my doc is estimating another almost two weeks. i am a fingertip dilated as of monday. could it be possible that i could still go sooner than the two weeks? i have been having a lot of pelvic and back pains also i am sure i have lost some of the mucus plug it just wasn’t bloody. ?? i also have had a crazy surge of energy and cleaned my house today spotless when i have had no energy for the past couple weeks..
any answers and advice would be much appreciated!!!

Dear Amanda, remember the date is only an estimate, whether it’s based on an ultrasound or the date of your last period. Every baby is different. Some don’t need 40 weeks in the womb–some come early and some come “late.” So to answer your question, of course, it is possible that your baby will come sooner than 2 weeks. The back pain, mucous, nesting–those are all pre-cursors to labor starting. ~blessings, Guinever

4. Lisseth - April 16, 2009


I am 37 weeks and 5 days I am 1 1/2 cm dialated…..I am 4’11 ft tall and I have a good pregnancy so far…. I have been throwing some brown disharge.Just a little. I been having contractions
like 30 mins apart then 15 and sometimes i can go hrs having nothing and again continues …
How long can it take for me to go into the real thing.??? My o/b told me that she think i wont make it to my due date which is MAY 3

Any tips to help me dialate faster??

Lisseth, it sounds like you could be in prodromal labor–which means have a really long, drawn out early labor. I think your active labor will kick in soon–maybe today or not for another couple days. Walk as much as you can but take it easy at the same time. You want to be well-rested for your labor and birth ahead.
~blessings, Guinever

5. Please Think Thrice « The Littlest Bird - April 13, 2009

[…] be nice and soft and ready for the next step in the induction. How long does it take the cervix to dilate 5 centimeters?  But first, let’s answer the following […]

6. Marissa - April 13, 2009

Hi im pregnany with my first child, im 37 weeks and 3 days pregant, and i was just a little worried because my baby hasn’t dropped yet and i’ve read alot of different articles and books that she should have dropped by now! ive also tried walking everyday to help her move down but still not luck! is there a reason to why she hasn’t dropped yet??

Marissa, there’s no reason to worry yet about your baby not having dropped. Patience. It will happen any day; I promise! And walking is great throughout pregnancy and early labor so keep on walking.
~blessings, Guinever

7. think twice, no think three times before being induced for labor « birthing with guinever - April 11, 2009

[…] be nice and soft and ready for the next step in the induction. How long does it take the cervix to dilate 5 centimeters?  But first, let’s answer the following […]

8. mellie - April 10, 2009

I am 39 weeks 3 centimeters and 50% effaced…I’ve had bloody show…How much longer do you think it will take for my baby to come???

Mellie, it sounds like you’ll be having your baby soon in the next few days. ~blessings, Guinever

9. Krystal - April 10, 2009

I am currently 35 weeks and am not due till May 13th. I went to my Dr. yesterday and she said I was dialated to a 1 and 50% effaced. I wasnt expecting to hear that since I’m only 35 weeks and really want to carry him to at least full term. I haven’t had any contractions or anything so I’m hoping he will hold out for at least 3 more weeks. Also, my Dr. was discussing inducing me on May 5 but did not give me a reason. I’m not sure if I want to or not. Do you have any advice? THanks so much!

Don’t worry about being dilated this early. You can still go to term. (or you could go early too.) Personally, I think that most inductions should not be done. They should only be done for medical reasons: if continuing the pregnancy would be harmful for either the mother or the baby. It’s your body, your health, your baby. You CAN say NO to induction if you want to. 50% of inductions on firs time moms lead to surgical birth simply because baby wasn’t ready to be born and/or mom wasn’t ready to give birth. ~blessings, Guinever

10. carla - April 9, 2009

hi! im close to 40 weeks and today is my due date i when to the hospital yesterday night they told me i was 1 centimeters dilated,i really dont know why if i been walking a lot and even working at a clinic on my feet all day. i was having really bad pains and a cold, my feet are not swollen anymore and i dont feel tired at all i feel like i could do anything today. i would like to know how long i have to wait and if i look like i could go into labor any minute

Carla, you really could have your baby any day now. I can’t predict exactly when. I can’t see you so I can’t tell you if you “look” like you could go into labor at any minute. ~blessings, Guinever

11. Courtney - April 9, 2009

thanks for the advice…im going to the dr. tomm…the pain is constant and always when i lay down so i think i will tell my dr. about it…i also feel bloated all the time so mayb somethings not right…ill let u kno how everything goes tomm….thank you again

12. Lydia - April 8, 2009

On tueday I went to my doctrs apt. I am 38.5 weeks pregnant. He said when I start dilating he could induce my labor. He did vaginal exam but I still haven’t dilated yet. He asked me if I had any contractions yet but I haven’t had any so I’m very worried. I told him I feel alot of pressure going down and I feel like a buzz or a shock as well. He told me that she is really low but I’m just worried and wondering why I haven’t dilated yet and if I will begin soon. At nights I feel very uncomfortable I can’t go to sleep no matter what position I am and when I need to urinate my stomach starts hurting. I feel like I need to urinate but I only do a little. I always feel very bloaded. I’m always cleanin around the house and I do alot of walking. Now when I walk I get tired faster. I’m just wondering if anythings wrong hopefuuly you can help me.

Lydia, I don’t think that anything is wrong. You’re just about 9 months pregnant so of course, you can’t sleep well at night and things are going to be uncomfortable for you. Remember that dilation isn’t the only thing that is happening in your body. The baby is lower which is a start. Relax! You’ll have your baby soon. You haven’t even reached your estimated due date yet. ~blessings, Guinever

13. Courtney - April 8, 2009

thanks for the advice…i kno its not the best thing to do but i feel like im running out of options…i think i may have lost some of my mucous plug thins morning but im not sure…it was the size of a dime and was green…it looked like snot…was that a piece of it?

i am still having really bad pains in my bac and stomach when i sleep…all last night was miserable…i couldnt sleep…my stomach hurt so bad and my bac wouldnt stop hurting…then when i woke up this morning i was so nauseas…am i getting some wut close to labor?

It sounds like you’re getting closer to labor. And yes, it sounds like you’ve lost your plug. Is this constant pain or do they come and go. If it’s constant pain, you should go checked out by a doctor. If the pains come and go, you’re probably having contractions and you’ll know when to go to the hospital. ~blessings, Guinever

14. Courtney - April 7, 2009

hello there, ive read most of your feedbacks and some are the same as mine but not quite…i am 38w 4d, not dialated at all, havent lost my mucous plug, no contractions wut so ever, cervix is completely closed, lots of pain in my stomach when i sit or try to get up, lots of lower back pain, and sharp pains in my ribs. Im in a tight situation bc my husband is in the military and we have orders to move exactly 1 week after my due date…im scared that i might not have my baby b4 then (april 17) and was wondering if having a c-section or being induced is okay to do; i need to have the baby b4 i move…a biophysical of my baby shows that he is in the 83% and average babies are 50%…he got an 8/8 score…and is 8lbs….I go back to the doctor on friday for another biophysical and internal exam…at my last app. they told me to discuss inducing on friday after my results….do u think i will have any changes b4 friday and wut can u tell me about my scenerio, im in such a tight situation.

by the way this is also my first pregnancy…and have only had 1 braxton contraction like 1 month ago that was it…nothing after that…just lots of pains in the back…an exam showed that the baby is head down face down…wut could all this back pain be from?

Courtney, sorry that you’re in such a bind and a time frame with your husband in the military and an upending move. The back pains you’re having could be contractions. Electing a c-section isn’t the best thing to do because it requires a long recovery–you wouldn’t have to have a newborn, and move plus recover from major abdominal surgery all at once.

If your husband is with you currently, having sex will help soften the cervix and get things going. You might have changes before your next appointment…~blessings, Guinever

15. Amber Mahan - April 6, 2009

I am 35 weeks and my midwife said i was 1 and 1/2 cm. dilated. How much longer do i have to expect to wait??

Amber, you’ll have your baby sometimes in the next seven weeks. No one knows when. ~blessings, Guinever

16. Kayla - April 2, 2009

Hi i just had a few questions for you. this is my second pregnacy and i have seemed to been having problems throughout the whole pregnacy. Ive had morning sickness and pains since the first month. I am eight months right now. i went to the doctors the other day and they said i was about 1 centimeters dialated i was just wondering if i should be worried or not she told me not to worry but im alittle concerned as i have been in alot of pain in the last few days. should i be prepared to go in early or should i just relax.

Kayla, anything is possible as to when you might have your baby. It could be pretty soon or you just may go another month. Only time will tell. ~blessings, Guinever

17. Amy Black - March 27, 2009

I am almost 37 weeks Pregnant and am dilated to 41/2 cm, And 70% Effaced. I have been put in the Hospital over night actually in labor but then it all of a Sudden stopped,,,,,,,, This is my 2nd child about how much longer by a Guesstimate would you say before the Reall actuall Labor begins?????

Amy, I know how disappointing it can be if you think you’re in labor and about to have a baby and then it stops. Patience and relaxation and lots of walking can help bring on labor. Any day now, Guinever

18. Kelly Strapp - March 25, 2009

Hi there

Please help im a bit confused….

I went to have a sweep today as im 41 weeks pregnant but the midwife said she couldnt even reach my cervix… i have been having pains on and off for days so thought that maybe i was on the way but from what she said it doesnt even sound like im close!! i was wondering if your cervix can ripen quickly within hours or am i likely to be like this for a while yet if it hasnt started to ripen at all yet? i have done ALL the home remedies but just wondered if it was possible to be in labour even if the cervix isnt yet ripe??

Kelly, don’t worry about your midwife not being able to reach your cervix; that happens sometimes. And if she never reached it, then you can’t be sure how far dilated (or not) that you are.
And yes, once labor starts, your cervix can ripen and dilate! ~blessings, Guinever

19. margaret - March 15, 2009

i have a question does being 60 percent effaced an 0 dilation at 41 weeks means you still have a long way to go.. because when i talked to my midwife she made it seem like i had a long way to go

an i think my due date is wrong but they insist with going with that one an have threatend me with a c-section since they said they cant induce being vbac an all .. they did a non stress test an everything turned out to fine but was still talking about me havin a c-section if i wasant in labor by monday.. what do you think i should do? i want to be givin the chance this time around an i want to say no to the c

Margaret, Your cervix needs to dilate to 10 and right now its not dilated at all, so in that sense you “have a long way to go.” But being 60% effaced is great and dilating will go a lot quicker since you’re starting out so effaced. You can still say no to the c. Why don’t you ask for another day or two since the non stress test turned out ok. What are your responsibilities at home? Are you caring for your other child? If you are, then it will be difficult for you to go into labor on your own until you can relax, I mean totally relax and will yourself to have this new baby. Take a nice, long bath. Read a good book. Have no responsibilities. Pray and meditate about going into labor. If you’re scared about having another c or just scared that you won’t dilate or go into labor, then chances are your labor won’t start. Although I’m not a fan of getting membranes stripped, I think there’s a time and place for everything, and a threatened scheduled c, is definitely the time to jumpstart labor more naturally. Are there any massage therapists in your area that do induction massage? That would help you to relax plus they can stimulate the uterine points…
(you can press on them yourself in the webbing between your thumb and second finger and also 3-4 fingers above your ankle bone on the inside of your leg. It will be very tender and sore so you’ll know when you find the right point.
~birthing blessings, Guinever

20. Debbie - March 10, 2009

hi, my daughter will be 40 weeks in 2 days, she saw the dr today becuz she is having alot of pelvic pain and some discomfort inside the vagina (pressure) all the dr said is that her cervix are soft. we are wondering if she is close to having the baby, she has not dilated as yet

It sounds like your daughter will have her baby soon. ~blessings, Guinever

21. Kristin - March 7, 2009

Dear Guinever,

My OB/GYN said he wants to start stretching my cervix at 36 weeks and plans to “mess around” down there to get things going so-to-speak. This will be my third baby. I never had pelvic exams with my first. With my second, I had one once, at a 39 week routine exam, for which another physician stripped my membranes without my consent. Aside from it being the most painful pelvic exam of my life, what upset me the most was having it done against my will. I know some women request this procedure but I was perfectly happy with my pregnancy and in fact, my baby had not even dropped yet. Not to sound weird, but upon telling the doctor I felt great, her response was “Usually most women are dying to get their baby out by now!” and she seemed a bit annoyed by my “feeling so fine” comment. Anyway, after reading the other scenarios from the other ladies here on your site, I also agree that nature should be left to take its natural course of action. I don’t want this doctor doing ANYTHING unless I either request it, I’m overdue, OR if there is some reason to have a pelvic exam. If there is some risk to the baby, is a pelvic exam really going to tell my doctor anything? I cannot imagine so. Sure, I don’t want to jeopardize the life of my unborn child, however, after having two kids, and the last one very quickly after my membranes were stripped (12 hours later with only 1 1/2 hours of labor), my gut instinct is telling me my OB could accidentally strip me again via a pelvic exam. ESPECIALLY if he wants to start “stretching” my cervix. What is up with that? I find it highly unlikely it needs any stretching!!! Plus, I’ve been told since my first baby came out that my cervix never fully closed–have been told this by more than two doctors. Plus, I could CARE LESS if I am dilated more or not, effaced, etc. Doesn’t concern me in the least. I am generally a confident person here but can you shed some insight or comments I could reitterate to my doctor next Monday, expressing to him that I WILL NOT submit to his pelvic exams?!? Says he wants to do them weekly AND something about doing ultrasounds to ensure there is still enough amniotic fluid inside. I also asked him how long past ones due date they are allowed to go–he said only 41 weeks but then added by week 38 I’ll be wanting my baby out. Geez, I am SO glad he knows how I will be feeling and telling me so (major sarcasm). At the end of our visit, he did finally say it was my choice but said if there was ANY chance of risk to the baby I will want to have him “do things”. Whatever. Please advise. Pregnant and becoming cranky…almost thinking of cancelling some appointments and showing up at his office back at full term. He may not think a week or two makes a difference, but again, if there is no risk to my baby or anything to be concerned about, WHY oh WHY can’t I just wait for 40 weeks?!?! This may be our last baby (I am 40 years old) and just once, I’d like to carry it to full term. My first two babies had some problems. The first, born at 38 weeks, was jaundiced and needed oxygen. My second, the one in which I was stripped of my membranes, was born at 39 weeks with a nemo thorax lung condition and also needed oxygen for over a month. I really think the longer the baby can stay in the womb, the better. And yes, as long as the placenta isn’t breaking down, etc. etc. Thanks for your time.

Dear Kristen, I just want to encourage you to say no to unnecessary, routine procedures if you don’t want them. This is your body, your baby, your pregnancy and you have hired the doctor. He is working for you.

It’s never too late to switch doctors if that’s what you need to do in order to get the care and the birth that you desire. It could be helpful if your husband or another person went with you to the next appointment so your doctor doesn’t bully you into exams that you don’t need or want.

If he presses the issue a good question to ask is if there are any alternatives and what would happen if you didn’t have your cervix stretched. If he gives a lame answer like you better give birth soon before your baby gets too big, remind him that you have a proven pelvis, you’ve had 2 vaginal births on your own and you have every intention of waiting for labor to start on its own unless you or the baby is in distress and labor must be induced. ~birthing blessings, Guinever

22. kelle - March 5, 2009

i am 36 weeks pregnant. i have been in and out of the hospital. they checked me monday to see if i was dilated i was and the doc. said i was a loose 3 and then i went back yesterday and another doc. said i was a 1 1/2 dilated. is that possible?

“Backwards dilation” is possible, sometimes happens and is not cause for concern. It can result from a couple different factors: different people measuring you could measure dilation differently, the baby’s head could have been putting more pressure on your cervix last time, thus causing a bigger dilation. Don’t worry about it! You’ll soon dilate fully and have your baby. ~blessings, Guinever

23. Christina - February 24, 2009

I know you probably get so sick of this question, but when is a cervix considered “ripe”. I’ve been 90% effaced for two weeks, and stayed roughly 1 cm dilated. I’m also having back labor contractions. Since I’m only 37 weeks, the doctors said they’re not going to try and induce me, it’ll happen when it happens.

I’m going insane with the back pain.

Christina, I’d say that a cervix that is 90% effaced is definitely ripe and ready for labor! ~labor blessings, Guinever

24. cathie - January 8, 2009

im 39 weeks pregnant,went for my induction yesterday took the pitocin for 8 hours and also am 3 cn dilated but my doctor couldn’t break the water because the baby was so high ,but i been having contractions every 5 minutes i had sex but nothing help so my doctor schedule a c- section for me tomorrow if baby don’t drop for him to break the water

Cathie, is there a medical reason for your induction or c-section? In other words, is it dangerous for either you or your baby to continue with the pregnancy?

If not, there is no reason to go through with the surgery tomorrow. Your baby will come down on his own in good time. You are ONLY 39 weeks along. Average first time pregnancies are 41 weeks. Every mom and baby is different. Ask your doctor if it would be dangerous to continue your pregnancy. Do not consent to major abdominal surgery if there is not a medically compelling reason to do so.
~blessings, Guinever

25. jamie - November 20, 2008

Hi, I am due today. Had an internal two days ago, Fully effaced no diliation. Dr said he “opened” the cervix manually during the exam and I started to bleed. Spotting since then….had two LEEP procedures about 8 or 9 years ago. Waiting for a bed to open up at the hospital for an induction but I am scared. I really don’t want to end up with a c section. Any advice would be great – not sure if I should wait or go through with induction???

Dear Jamie, as long as you and baby are healthy, there is no reason to consent to an induction just because it is your due date. Half of all inductions on first time mothers end with surgery. Also if no induction is done and labor is allowed to start on its own, the average length of pregnancy for first time moms is 41 weeks. That’s because some babies need more time in the womb. If your body isn’t ready for induction, it will not work and will end in c-section. It is good that you are fully effaced–that makes it more likely an induction could be successful. However, the chances aren’t good with no dilation yet.
It is possible that your cervix has scar tissue from your LEEP procedure and is preventing your cervix from dilating. Your doctor may need to break this up for you while you are in labor (just something to keep in mind and ask about it if you aren’t “progressing” and the doctor doesn’t mention it.)
~blessings, Guinever

26. Petra Flores - November 18, 2008

Hii My sister is 100 percent effaced and her musuc plug has already come out she is haveing diahrea. She is one centimeter how long do you think it will be before the baby comes >

Petra, you didn’t mention how far along she is or if she was in labor….this could be very early labor. The diarrhea is her body’s way of making room for baby to be born. (or she could be sick and labor is a long ways off.) ~blessings, Guinever

27. khadija - November 16, 2008

hi i am 32 weeks pregnant and my doctor told me my cervix is very soft and they were 2 cm and she can get her fingertip inside, what dose that mean? i dont understand how long are cervix supposed to be at this stage in my pregnancy?????

Khadija, it sounds like your cervix is beginning to dilate. How the cervix is at this stage in pregnancy varies from woman to woman. A fingertip means that you are 1 cm dilated. ~blessings, Guinever

28. Heather - November 7, 2008

I am 27 weeks and 3 days into my 1st pregnancy, and we are expecting TWINS!! I went to the hospital on Wednesday after talking to my doctor, explaining to him that I had 7 braxton hicks contractions in about 30 minutes. I was examined and monitored, but I did not dialate (which is fantastic…way too early for my little ones to come out yet!!). Today I noticed that I had my normal discharge, but there was also other clear liquid in my underware as well. It wasn’t that much liquid AT ALL, this wouldn’t be my water breaking would it???????

Any information that you could give me would be fantastic!!! Thank you so much!!


Heather, it could be just some extra discharge, but if you continue to leak fluid, please get checked out. Your water may have broken. But with that said, the bag of water has the ability to repair some tears in itself. ~blessings, Guinever

29. Vita - November 6, 2008

I went to my doctors appointment today and i am 38 wks, 2 days with the first. i was checked and she told me that my cervix was 2 centimeters dilated. i want to knowhow much longer (possibly) does it normally take to become active labor? And can i walk to speed it up?

Vita, walking in late pregnancy is very beneficial and sometimes encourages labor to start. Walking is also excellent to do during labor. You could start labor anytime in the next few weeks. There are no rules as to when labor will start. ~blessings, Guinever

30. Ashley L. - November 6, 2008

Guinever, This is my 4th pregnancy and i am 38.5 weeks along. At my check up yesterday i was 2 cm. and 80% effaced the doc could feel the babys head. I was wondering if sex during this time could hurt the baby well actually my husband is worried not me lol. How can i assure him that it is fine? Im hoping this will help with my labor starting. I have tried nipple stimulation and self massage (you know where) in the past pregnancy because he was out of the country last time im not sure if that was what did it but i did have the baby that night . If he isnt willing to have sex could that type of self massage work or is it only thru the semen that it works? Thanks for your time this site is so helpful and you give such honest answers. My blessings to you.

Dear Ashley, sex at this time will not hurt the baby and it will benefit you and help your cervix to soften and dilate. The baby is well protected inside 2 bags of water. There is an inner bag as well as an outer bag of water. Not sure what else you could tell your husband. Hope this helps!

What you described would probably help, but not as much as it is the semen that contains prostaglandins which soften the cervix. When a woman comes, oxytocin is released, one of the hormones involved in the process of labor.
~blessings, Guinever

31. Kristy - November 4, 2008

Hi I am 40 weeks pregnant and just passed my due date by 2 days.I visited the doctor today and she said that the cervix is just1/2cm dilated. So in the next visit she would consider the option of induction.I am a bit nervous on induction and personally feel that if i am doing good and the baby’s health is fine, i could wait till i complete 42 weeks.In the meanwhile..what shd i do to induce labor naturally,I do go for regular 45 to 50 mins walk everyday. This forum really helped so i thought i cld ask and clarify my status also?

Kristy, sorry you’re being pressured into a possible induction that you don’t want. I agree with you. As long as mom and baby are healthy, I see no reason waiting for labor to begin on its own. Sex helps and can help labor to start! ~blessings, Guinever

32. Christina Forrester - October 30, 2008

I am 31 weeks 5 days and was in hospital for too many contractions. They said my cervix was open a fingertip. What does this mean? This is also my third baby, so does this mean my labor will be shorter this time?

Christina, a fingertip means that you are 1 cm dilated. The more your cervix does during pregnancy, the less it will have to do during actual labor. One can’t really predict the length of labor, though, as each pregnancy is different. ~blessings, Guinever

33. Tonia Shoemaker - October 21, 2008

what does it mean when the doctor tells you that you are fully effaced and 2 cm. dilated but that I have a long cervix? How soon could I possibly go into labor?

Tonia, I have no idea when you will go into labor. Only time will tell. There’s no set pattern…. Being fully effaced and having a long cervix are contradictions. You can’t be both. Being fully effaced means that you’re cervix has thinned out and shortened and isn’t long anymore.
~blessings, Guinever

34. Cassie - October 18, 2008

I am 39 weeks pregnant and the doctor said that i am not at all dilated, and everyone said that the baby has not even dropped yet and is not ready to be born, this is my first pregnancy, how much longer will it be before i start to dilate, or will i b pass my due date for sure?

Cassie, I can’t predict when you will have your baby. Your baby cold drop, and you could go into labor at any time. It could happen today or not for a couple of weeks. Only time will tell. ~blessings, Guinever

35. patricia - October 17, 2008

im 39 weeks on wendsday i went to the doctors an she told me i was 1-2 centemeters an that it can come any time know but she also said if it dosent come by the end of the week on monday she will induce by then ill almost be 40 weeks i have been having contractons every 20 to 30 min or sometimes less since i left the doctors office on wendsday but mostly during the evenings than it goes away when i am ready to fall asleep i feel like i cant walk cuse it hurts or when i try to get out uf bed to go pee it hurts like my inner thighs do u think it might be time?do u think its a good idea to let her induce me on monday or should i just let him come out on his own time im due on wendsday tow days before my inducion?

Patricia, I am not in favor of inductions unless there is a medical indication for it. As long as mom and baby are both doing well, I see no reason just waiting for labor to begin on its own. It sounds like your labor is getting closer to starting with all the consistent contractions you’ve been having….~blessings, Guinever

36. Lisabeth - October 15, 2008

Hi I am 38 weeks and being induced in 5 days due to having too much amniotic fluid. My Dr. always seems rushed at my appointments so I never get a chance to ask him any questions. I was told that my labor will go by faster if my cervix is already ripe. I had my cervix checked a week ago and it was already 25% and 1 cm. Any advice or tips on how to make my cervix more effaced. I walk 2 miles everyday and also heard that sperm helps to soften the cervix also.

Lisabeth, yes, semen helps to soften the cervix because it is a prostaglandin. Anything that starts contractions would encourage cervical softening. That includes walking and sex (like you said), nipple stimulation, and eating spicy foods. ~blessings, Guinever

37. cathy - October 15, 2008

hi! i’m 38 weeks, (almost)2cm, 60%effaced, and they can feel the baby’s head. this is my first pregnancy and for the past few days i have been feeling a sharp, stabbing pain in my cervical area along with the menstrual pain feeling. is the stabbing pain normal? everything i’ve read said that the menstrual pains are what’s normal. also, how long do early labor contractions last on average(i.e.-15 sec., 45 sec, longer?)

Dear Cathy, sharp, stabbing pains aren’t normal but there’s probably nothing “wrong” except that you’re in pain. A chiropractor can help you. Early labor contractions would be under a minute long–most would probably be 15 to 45 seconds. ~blessings, Guinever

38. Christie - October 14, 2008

Hi! I am so glad I found this site…
I am 41 weeks today with my first baby. As of yesterday I was just about 2 cm and 80% effaced and my midwife stripped my membranes. I had some mild cramping later last night, but no contractions. I have been taking evening primrose oil orally and vaginally for about 2 weeks, drinking a lot of red raspberry tea, walking a little, having a sex now and then (although it is really not very fun at this point), and have had a few acupunture appointments. The non-stress test I had yesterday showed that the baby is doing great. My fluid level was fine, but the placenta is showing signs of age (calcification) which my midwife seem concerned about.

She wants to induce this weekend ( at 41 weeks, 5 days) if I don’t go into labor by then. I really want to do this naturally and am pretty frightened of having Pitocin (because of stronger contractions and possible cascade of intervensions that lead to a c-section). I would like to let my body go into labor on its own, but my midwife keeps warning us of the increased risks of going to far overdue…meconium, shoulder dystocia, warn-out placenta, etc. Is it really that dangerous to deliver at 42 weeks +?

Also, is it safe for me to still use the evening primrose oil and have sex after having my membranes stripped? I have thought about using castor oil in a few days, but am a bit nervous about it after hearing some discomforting stories.

Thank you!!!

Christie, for some pregnancies, going over 42 weeks is just fine. For others, it is not. It is good that you and your midwife are keeping track of things. Sex after stripping the membranes is just fine. Just don’t do it after your water breaks.

I think you have plenty of time still to go into labor on your own without that induction this weekend. Think positive thoughts. Think about going into labor. Dwell on your impending labor and how your body will start contractions on its own. It can happen.

One other thing that works for some ladies is taking blue cohosh and black cohosh OR cimicifuga and caulophyllum. (the homeopathic forms of the cohoshes). They can help start labor and keep it going if your body is ready.

~blessings, Guinever

39. Lisa Daniels - October 10, 2008

I’m 39 weeks and 4 days today. This is my first child. I was told today that the baby’s head is very very low in my pelvic and my cervix is soft..probably about 75% effaced and a fingertip dilated. Though it was hard to reach the cervix because it is so far behind the baby’s head. My question is does walking help with dilation if the cervix is behind the baby’s head (posterior)?

Lisa, yes, walking can help you. Most women’s cervixes are posterior for the duration of pregnancy. It isn’t until the very end of pregnancy or even during labor that the cervix comes down and is lined up with the birth canal. ~blessings, Guinever

40. ANGELA HARRIS - October 8, 2008

im 38 weeks pregnant had a doctors appointment where she checked my cervix and i was 3cm dilated. later that day I had contractions every 7 minutes and went to the hospital. They gave me IV fluids which stopped the contractions and was sent home the next morning. IS THIS THE START OF LABOR ?

Dear Angela, being dehydrated can cause contractions. If they stop when you’re given IV fluids, then it probably wasn’t time for you to have your baby. If it were real labor and you and baby were ready for birth, the labor would not have stopped. Peace and grace during the last few days of your pregnancy. ~blessings, Guinever

41. mamma - October 8, 2008

mamma i found ths information about the contractions i am having…..and about dilation

42. reshma - October 8, 2008

….this site has really helpful tips on dilation…..read all the questions asked….answers a lot of questions we usually have

43. prachi - October 7, 2008

Hi..I am 39week 1day pregnant..today i had doctor’s visit and told me my baby’s head is really down in lower uterine segment but i m still not dilated..Although my EDD is 10/12/08, i want baby by 10/9/08..is htere n e thing that can enhance dilatation like exercise, walking, sex?

Dear Prachi, you said it! All those things can encourage labor to start. ~blessings, Guinever

44. Haleigh - October 4, 2008

Hi, I’m 38 weeks today and have an induction date scheduled for October 14th. I will be 39 weeks and 3 days on the day of my induction. I had an appointment yesterday and was informed my cervix is still thick and basically not doing anything. The induction is scheduled for a certain medical reason but I was wondering is there anything I can do to help soften my cervix so that when I do go in for my induction date things may go a little bit easier. Also, everyone keeps telling me to place evening primrose oil close to the cervix but I really am not comfortable with that.

Dear Haleigh, I think you’re getting good advice with the evening primose oil. you can just puncture the capsule and insert like a tampon. . . Also, having sex will help. Semen will soften the cervix. ~blessings, Guinever

45. Yvonne - September 29, 2008

Hello im 27 yrs old and i am my 4th child and i know every pregnancy is different i have had problems with this pregnancy this last month I went to my dr because i was having really bad pain i got checked and he seen i was 3cm dilated and 60% effaced plus i severe constipation that wont go way have tried everything . I want to ask my docror to induce cause i am so miserable would this be a good idea i feel like the baby is sitting in my lap. The last sonogram showed my due date Oct 17.

Dear Yvonne, whether or not to induce this early is a decision for you and your doctor to make. Did your doctor prescribe something or give you tips for the constipation? Enema? Stool softener? Metamucil or psyllium? More fluids? ~blessings, Guinever

46. Lann - September 29, 2008

My name is Lynn. I am 34 weeks preg. My OB says that I have 4 fibroids, one of which is the larger & their keeping an eye on. I also have a high amniotic fluid level. 20.4. She says this isnt too high but they want to watch it. & last but not least my OB say that my baby is in over the 90 percentile rating for large gestational age. Im 34 weeks and my baby measures 38.5 weeks. Is there any specific questions I should ask my OB about these so called “small” problems as she puts it? Should I be concerned?

Dear Lann, I don’t really know what to tell you about your doctor. Ultrasound is not always correct at predicting the actual weight of the baby. You say that your baby is over the 90th percentile. There’s nothing wrong with that. Not every baby is average. Are you and/or the father of the baby also larger/taller than average?

When you say your baby measures 38.5 weeks, is that by ultrasound or by them measuring your fundal height? Your high level of fluid definitely explains you measuring large. The only concern I see here is your high fluid. And its only something to watch, to be aware of…if it stays that way, your baby will probably not engage in the pelvis and will be “floating.” This isn’t a problem exactly, just something to be careful with when you go into labor. If your water breaks, there is a possibility of the cord pro-lapsing if the baby is not engaged. (I’m only saying this for this instance with high fluid level.)
I just want to encourage you to have confidence in your ability to birth your baby. ~blessings, Guinever

47. mardelbr - September 27, 2008

I am 37 weeks, (4th child) at my appt 2 days ago I was just over 2cm dialted and 90% effaced, I have contractions straight across my adomen, nothing consistent yet but they are increasing in number per day. I have tons of pressure down below. Dr. said he thought I would be in by the end of the weekend.
At my last appt I was just about 2cm dilated and dr. didn’t say anything about effaced. The internal caused bleeding for a day and a half, after the 37 week internall no bleeding. So not sure if I lost my plug at the 36 week internal or not.
Does it look like I will go in soon, or can I sit here for another 3 weeks

Mardel, it could be any day in the next 3 weeks. Seriously, I can’t predict anything. ~enjoy the rest of your pregnancy, Guinever

48. Nicole - September 24, 2008

Hello, im 35 weeks pregnant with my 3rd child. I had my first child at 37 weeks pregnant and had pre-eclampsia, I had my 2nd child at 36 weeks, and was told i had a heart shaped uterus. With this pregnancy I have been having braxton hix since 30 weeks and mild cramping lasting a couple hours then going away. I have been having a pain in my left groin area that makes it hard to even lift my leg up. I can feel the contractions every day but they disappear they don’t last. I also have a lot more discharge like a whitish color. Everything I eat i get indigestion real bad I don’t lay down after eating and I am constantly taking TUMS. I would like to know are these signs that labor is around the corner and what are my chances of delivering early with the heart shape uterus (anoculated). My gyn stated after my second pregnancy that I will never make it to term because my uterus is unable to hold full capacity the only way it would be a problem if I was carrying twins which im not. Also is there anything I could so to make my contractions more regular and lead into active labor.

Nicole, you could try papaya enzymes to help with your digestion and heart burn. A chiropractor should be able to help the pain that you’ve been having in your groin and leg.
Besides your uterus, I don’t think anything you are experiencing means impending labor. Yes, you will have your baby soon, but it could still be a few weeks. You are only 35 weeks along. Relax. ~blessings, Guinever

49. sara - September 10, 2008

hi there i am 35 weeks along,36 weeks on monday. Have had contraction pains off and on for about 3 days now starting on sunday. monday the doctor put me on a muscle relaxer, tuesday i was in tears because of the pain and had a small brown discharge.Called the dr, they said that it was probably just old blood and to keep taking my muscle relaxers. Wensday I went to the hospital for mild contractions that stopped when i got there. They said i was 3cm dialated but my cervix was still quite hard. How long does it take to soften the cervix? They said i could go tonight or in 4 weeks.

Right, you could go tonight or in 4 weeks. Anytime. The cervix softening is a process. Please read my articles on dilation for more information. ~blessings, Guinever

50. pooja - September 7, 2008

Hi,I am 38 weeks and 3 days pregnant.In the last visit doctor told me that baby is real down and I should be ready as soon as contractions 5 min apart or if my water breaks down.I did have contractions two days back for atleast 5 hours in the night but then it stopped.
I wanted to know that how can I know by myself that I am dilated 2-3cm ?Will it start with contractions or without one.

Dear Pooja,
You won’t know that you’re 2-3 centimeters dilated unless you get checked. You could be 2-3 cm right now…. or not until you’re in labor…Its totally normal to have 5 hours of contractions and then it stop. This is just your body getting ready for labor, doing a little bit of the work before “real” labor starts. ~blessings, Guinever

51. Tusheika - September 7, 2008

i am 35 weeks pregnant and every moring around 4 am i go to the bathroom to void and this moroing i do my regular void at 4 am and i went back to bed and when i rolled over to go to sleep i felt fluid running out of me , then i stand up and it was running down my leg . i don’t have any cramps or anything but i just went to the bathroom and voided i hate that i don’t know what is going on with my body.FYI this is my first pregnancy.

Tusheika, I think your water just broke (as in amniotic fluid). Contractions will start soon. You might want to call your doctor. ~blessings, Guinever

52. Tania - September 3, 2008

I am 38 weeks pregnant. At my 34 week appointment I was 1 centimeter dialated and 50% effaced, I am now about 4 centimeters and 90% effaced. At my doctor appointment today, she stripped the membranes. I have been bleeding since and having some period like cramping. Is this normal after having the membranes stripped?

Dear Tania,
Having cramps (contractions) is the purpose of stripping the membranes. A little bleeding is ok, but if it’s a flow like a period, you should probably check in with your doctor just to make sure everything is ok. ~blessings, Guinever

53. Jessica - August 31, 2008

Hi, I am 17 weeks pregnant and started to lose my mucous plug 6 days ago. I went to the Dr. that day and was told me and the baby were fine. Then the next day I started bleeding so I went back to the Dr. That’s when I was told I was losing my mucous plug. I had an ultrasound that showed the baby was fine and my cervix was long and closed. I was then put on strict bedrest. I went back to the Dr. 3 days later because I was bleeding more and leaking. They couldn’t test on a strip to see if my membranes had ruptured because I was bleeding as well. So they sent me for another ultrasound. That ultrasound still showed that my cervix was closed and the level of amniotic fluid was normal. Do you think I could still be leaking amniotic fluid and they just couldn’t tell?? Do you think that the fact that I drank so much water for the ultrasound could have just replenished the amniotic fluid level? What else could be causing all of this bleeding? If I had placenta previa or something wouldn’t at least one of the ultrasound techs have been able to tell?? I know you can’t tell me exactly what’s going on, but are there any suggestions as to what COULD be going on? Have you seen anything like this happen before? Thanks so much!

Dear Jessica, I’m not sure if i can tell you something new that you don’t already know (possible low lying placenta or placenta previa). But let me encourage you by saying some women just bleed throughout the entire and everything is just fine. Also, small tears or leaks in the bag of waters can repair themselves.

To answer your question, yes, drinking lots of fluid can help raise your amniotic fluid level. One more thing. Are you just spotting? Or are you having more of a “flow.” If it’s a flow, I would definitely go back to the doc and get checked out again. ~blessings, Guinever

54. bridget - August 23, 2008

my name is bridget and i am 28 weeks pregnat i walk over four miles a day and i feel the baby dropping lower could i be dialating sooner than later ma daughter was born @32 weeks so i just wanna make sure im on the safe side until term

Dear Bridget, if you want to make sure, then you really need to go to your doctor and get checked out. It is possible that your cervix is starting to soften. However, it is equally possible that as the baby grows and is heavier, you are just feeling the weight of the baby. ~blessings, Guinever

55. Sara Edick - August 21, 2008

Hello. I am 33 weeks pregnant, and for about the last week I have been throwing up every time I eat. I do not feel nautious, I just can’t keep anything down. Please help, I don’t know why I am throwing up and I am looking for answers..

Dear Sara, I’m so sorry that you can’t keep any food down. I know that must be hard for you. Since you’re not nauseous, I’m not really sure what can help you. Please contact your medical care provider. ~blessings, Guinever

56. Lee - August 20, 2008

Dear Guinever,

I’m 37 weeks and I tested positive for Group B Strep. I have two questions.
1.) Since sex is a good way of helping labor start, is it still safe to have sex while testing positive for GBS?

2.) I’m also dialated to 1. Will the baby have a greater chance of getting GBS bacteria?

Dear Lee, it is still safe to have intercourse unless your water breaks and you being dilated does not increase the chance that your baby will contract GBS. ~blessings, Guinever

57. tiff - August 19, 2008

Im 34 1/2 weeks pregnant, I went into labor and delivery last night. The nurse said i was 1 cm dilated and my cervic is thinned out. She put me on bedrest till thursday. Because i see my doctor then will he order bedrest for the rest of the pregnancy? and how soon will my baby be here?

Dear Tiff, I have no idea what your doctor will tell you and I also have no idea when you will have your baby. Being one centimeter dilated is perfectly normal and you still have a good chance of carrying your bay full-term. ~blessings, Guinever

58. carlie - August 18, 2008

Hi, Im 40 weeks and 4 days pregnant. I actually had a gel put inside me to soften my cervix today and I gotta do it again tommorrow… the doctor said im not dilating at all and my cervix is still high and thick he said something about 30%. I’ve been having bad period cramps and back pains with some contractions here and there… but mostly pressure im also having a discharge thats like white and mucusy.. I’m just worried I’ll never start to dilate and nothing will change.. I’ve tried everything from sex to castor oil. Wednesday if the gel doesn’t do anything for me the dr said he will induce me then. I’m just worried that I’ll end up with a C-section because my body doesn’t wanna do its job.

Dear Carlie, it sounds like things are starting to happen: the cramps and mucous and pressure are all signs of dilation. Chances are, you’ll go in tomorrow and you’ll have made some progress. The 30% refers to effacement which means you are not completely “thick” as your doctor put it. 30% means you’re already thinning out a bit and I’m sure the gel is helping you to thin even more. Remember that dilation is a process. Relax and be patient and above all, think positively. you can and will birth your baby! ~blessings,


59. peggy - August 16, 2008

my daughter is 35 weeks pregnant she had her bloody show at 34 weeks this week lots of mucous she is now 80% effaced and dilated to 1 the baby is 2 pounds bigger than normal baby at 35 weeks doctor says she is gonna deliver early can any body tell us how soon real labor might begin or how close she may be this is first child. oh the doctor had no trouble touching the babys head.

Dear Peggy, ultrasound is not reliable when it comes to determining baby’s weight. It can be plus or minus a pound a more. Be confident that your daughter will be able to birth the baby. Labor may start soon or it may not be for several more weeks which would be ok. ~blessings, Guinever

60. Nicole - August 15, 2008

Hi im 37 weeks and was just in the hosp lastnight. I was have extremely bad contractions every 1 and 30 seconds for 2 hours straight. Ive been in the hosp for pre term labor sense i was 26 weeks but this was much different . The contractions were extremely painful. The Dr checked me and i wasn’t even dilated. I know that im only 37 weeks but with the contractions this strong and not even beginning to dilate I was wondering if there was anything I could do? Sorry every min and 30 seconds

Nicole, Just because you weren’t dilating doesn’t mean that the contractions weren’t accomplishing anything. Contractions also thin the cervix and bring the baby down. As fas as what to do, just keep on keeping on. Soon you will go into labor and have your baby. False starts like this are very common and are no cause for alarm. ~blessings, Guinever

61. denise price - August 14, 2008

im 40wks and 2days i went to the doctor today and she claims that my cervix is soft and mushy and im about 80% effaced but i still have not dilated what so ever and i go back to the doctor on monday to get checked again but my doctor doesnt want me to go past next tuesday because my babys perfectly fine and she doesnt want to put any stress on him simply bc that will put me at 41wks of being pregnant so if my baby still has not drop to my pelvic where he belongs will me getting induce on next tuesday and the induction not work and astrays the babys head through me into a csection thats what im really trying to avoid its my 1st delivery and i dont know what to expect..

Denise, before you can dilate, your cervix needs to be “soft and mushy,” so that’s a good thing. Hopefully, you will have progressed a lot more before your next doctor’s appointment. You can take this quiz to see if an induction will likely lead to a vaginal birth. ~blessings, Guinever

62. Diana - August 13, 2008

I’m 39 weeks and 4 days today my last doctor check up was last thrusday and my cervix was closed, I wanted to know if i should do acupunture today before i go to my doctors tomorrow and would acupunture work even though my cervix is closed.

Diana, I know that many women have success with acupuncture in helping labor to start. You can also do pressure on the acupuncture points to help you have contractions. ~blessings, Guinever

63. kimmie - August 4, 2008

im’ 17 an 39 weeks be 40 on friday. i want to the hos. they told me i was 2cm dilated and 75% thinned out. when i have contractions it hurts in my lower tummy to my back. the one time i was in there the babies heart beat was in the 200 then go down in the 90’s is that ok? do you think he’ll be here on time our will he be late?

Kimmie, was your doctor or the nurses concerned about your baby’s heart rate?? I really can’t predict when your baby will be born. Hang in there. ~blessings, Guinever

64. Hope - August 4, 2008

I’m 37 weeks today and my doctor checked and said I’m 2 centimeters already which suprised me. I haven’t felt any contraction that I know of. Could it be that I am having contractions and just not feeling them? If I’m having contractions and not feeling them is that good? Will it still help me dilate? Also I noticed when reading alot of other women said that they were 80% or 75% effaced, what does that mean and what is the goal to get to? Do we need to get to 100% effaced? Thank You

Hope, lots of women aren’t aware that they’re having braxton hicks contractions so yes, you’re probably having them. It may just feel like pressure so you may be feeling them but didn’t realize they were contractions. Yes, the goal is to get to 100% effaced which probably won’t happen until you’re in labor and 4-5cm dilated (but it could happen before labor.) Effacement is simply the thinning of the cervix, whereas, dilation is the opening of the cervix. ~blessings, Guinever

65. oluchi - July 29, 2008

i’am 39 weeks. i saw my OB dr last friday, he said that am 3cm dilated and 90% effaced. does this mean am going to have my baby anytime this week? i have never felt any pain or contraction. my water has break and am not seeing any discharge yet. am worried i might go into true labor and don’t know it.

Dear Oluchi, never fear! When your active labor starts, you will be very aware of it. Many women never feel the contractions during pregnancy. ~blessings, Guinever

66. stephanie - July 2, 2008

i’m 36 weeks and 4 days. i’ve been in the hospital 5 times since 23 weeks and each time i was completely closed and they stopped my labor. the last time i went to the hop. was thursday night. i lost my plug on friday and i went to the dr. yesterday. he said that i was 50% effaced and 1cm dilated. i have been having contractions on and off for the last month and last night the picked up to 7 minutes apart. so i walked a little and went to sleep. i woke up this morning and they were 10 minutes apart and really low in my back because she’s flipped sunny-side-up, but thankfully head down. when i got up they moved to 7 minutes and then 5 and then 3. and after having them for hours with lots of pressure….they stopped. now the back pain is still there and light cramping but nothing like they were ealier. i’m getting really tired of false labors so i was going to wait it out at home. i’ve been walking all day and had a gush earlier of clear fluid like i pee’d on myself and lots of discharge since. i took 1oz. of castor oil and we’re going to try and have sex again tonight. is there anything i can do other than that to help this process along? the only reason i’m trying is because i’m 4’9 and have a very tiny frame and my husband is 6’0 and was a 10lb. baby and i was 3lb. and the dr. said she’s already at 6lbs by feeling of her and i’m terrified of having her natural because my grandmother and my mother both almost died from 5lb. babies. i know that there are alot of questions in this, i just need some advice from someone other than my mother!!!

Dear Stephanie, it sounds like your water may have broken and if it did, it is not advisable to have intercourse because of the risk of infection. I’m sorry that you have your mother’s and grandmothers “horror stories” about birth to think about. I hope that you can think positively about this pregnancy and birth. You are growing your baby and you can BIRTH your baby. As much as possible during labor, try to be upright. Especially during pushing! It isn’t the norm for a hospital birth, but for you, being in upright position, including on your hands and knees, could make the difference between a vaginal and a surgical birth. –birthing blessings, Guinever

67. Luralee - June 26, 2008

I am 39 weeks pregnant and I am 2 cm dilated, 80% effaced. Most of the time, I have light contractions around 7 minutes apart with mild cramping. This has been going on for almost 2 weeks. The baby has been quite active in this past week. After I returned home from the midwife the other day, I noticed in my pantyliner some clear liquid. I had felt a little bit of a gush earlier on and thought it was pee. But since then after every time I wipe after I pee, there is a little bit of clear liquid with my pee. I also once wiped with a clean toliet tissue in my vagina and there was more on the tissue. That was yesterday. This morning I was having strong contractions that were 6 minutes and 30 seconds apart for about an hour. They started at the top and spread down and around to my back. How long do you think I was go into active labor? Also the baby was quite as active today as it usually was.

Dear Luralee, it sounds like you active labor will start very soon (today!) ~blessings, Guinever

68. Jocelyn - June 26, 2008

My name is Jocelyn, I am 39 weeks pregnant with my 3rd baby and, much like every other woman on this site, I am very ready to give birth.
At my last weeks exam, my midwife checked my cervix and found it to be 25-50% and about 1 cm. I was instructed to take 3,000 mg of EPO orally daily and pop a few capsules over my fingertips and massage the oil into my cervix. I know that my cervix is ripe and know that my son is in the LOA poition, do you have any other suggestions that could help my labor progress? Thanks!

Dear Jocelyn, it sounds like you’re doing everything you can. Be patient and enjoy the rest of your pregnancy. Soon you will be holding your baby. ~blessings, Guinever

69. Elizabeth - June 19, 2008

Hello my name is Elizabeth. I am 37 weeks pregnant and will be 38 weeks on Saturday. My due date is either June 28 or July 5. My ultrasound at 6wks read July 5 and the last three read June 28. I really think the second ultrasound is correct.On Wednsday I was 1cm. This is my first pregnancy and I am having a boy. My concern is about butt pains and some dull back pain off and on. The butt pains accurs more than the dull back pains. I took a walk around the block today and had extreme butt pains. I think they started in my pelvic area and vagina. There was stinging in my pelvic area as usuall. After showers or bath I feel a stingy feeling too. What are these symptoms from.

Elizabeth, what you are describing sounds like contractions, braxton hicks contractions. Everyone feels them a little bit differently. ~blessings, Guinever

70. marley - June 16, 2008

i am 35 weeks pregnent with my 3rd baby i had the first 2 naturally normal deliverys the first one was 2 hours and the second 4 hours both healthy boys i am just unsure of a few things i have been gettng period like pains now on and off for a few days and i didn’t experience that at all with my first 2 pregnencys also i have increase in discharge i lost my mucus plug and had a show with my first baby but didn’t have either with my second so unsure of what to expect with this one my baby is very active and i have had back pain the last couple of weeks feeling like my baby is going to fall out lol so my question is does this period like pain mean i may go into labour early ?

Dear Marley, What you are describing sounds like something is definitely going on, but it doesn’t guarantee that you’re having your baby early. You may be experiencing a long, drawn out pre-labor OR you might be having a couple days of contractions which will stop for a week or two and then you could have another couple days of period-like pains. Only time will tell. Hang in there and enjoy the rest of your pregnancy. Try to rest so you’ll be ready when active labor begins. ~blessings, Guinever

71. lindsey - June 13, 2008

hi i’m 39 weeks and 6 days pregnant, i have what is called an unfavoruable cervix, and i’m dilated to 1/2 cm, and i have not passed my plug or anything, i’ve had more contractions, and today i walked a mile and a half, and had small contractions because of that and my baby is really active and i’m just curious because i talked to my doctor about inducing me, and she said that it would have to be in c-section and i don’t want that, so i’m waiting, and i can’t have sex, so what does any of this mean?

Lindsey, going by the information that you told me, there is nothing wrong with your cervix and I see no reason why you can’t just wait for labor to start on its own, or when your cervix is dilated a little more, you could even be induced. There is absolutely NO reason why you need to go straight to the operating room without first attempting labor. Your due date is only an estimate of when the baby could be born. The average first time mom goes 41 weeks, some need 42. There’s no reason why you can’t wait another week to see what happens with your cervix and your baby’s position. As long as you and the baby are doing ok, just wait for labor to begin.

The thing with a c-section is that your doctor can schedule you at his/her convenience and be in and out of the OR quite quickly. Plus, the doctor gets paid more for doing surgery than for doing a vaginal birth. If you birth vaginally, the doctor can’t necessarily control the timing of the birth and might need to do it in the middle of the night and some docs don’t appreciate that.

Just say no to surgery unless absolutely medically necessary. Unless you’re withholding information, I see no reason why you can’t just wait…
~birthing blessings, Guinever

72. Christina - June 12, 2008


I am 38 weeks pregnant and my cervix is still closed. The doctor said the baby is at a +1 station. Is there anything I can do to help my cervix get going? Or am I doomed to be induced?

Christina, no one is doomed to be induced. You can say no to induction. As long as you and baby are doing great, it is beneficial to just wait for labor to start on its own. Read through the comments section–lots of tips on getting your “cervix going. “~blessings, Guinever

73. Audrey - June 3, 2008

Hello I am Due in like a week in a half and have been having contractions for a couple hours every night for the last week and 1/2 and 5 days ago went in for a false alarm and was 1 cm dialated/ 50% effaced, then yesterday i went to see my doctor and am 3 cm/ 80% effaced, seeing as how fast i went from 1-3 how long would your guess be? I know there is no way to know for sure but a guess would make me feel better…lol. also…. I have problems determining when the contractions start and stop when it is active labor will they be more definate? Thank you

Dear Audrey, when you are in active labor, you will know it. Contractions will be intense, very intense. ~blessings, Guinever

74. nichol - May 30, 2008

im 36 weeks as of tommorow and i went to see my doctor last monday he said i was dialated 2 centimeters i was spotting 2 days b4 i went into the doctors and then a day after i saw my docter i lost my mucus plug my cervix is already thinned he also put me on bedrest am i gonna go into early labor

Nichol, only time will tell if you are in pre-term labor. At 36 weeks, your baby’s lungs and other organs are developed so your baby would be ready to be born; he’s just small. Taking it easy for a week is probably a good idea to encourage your baby to stay inside for a few more days.

~blessings, Guinever

75. Karla - May 18, 2008

Hello, I have a question about Braxton Hicks contractions..
I lost a baby when I was 21 weeks more than a year ago. I think I had the Braxton Hicks contractions but no one could confirm that. I was dilated 3cm when i got to the hospital and I was having the same pain, they were not contractions. I had no cramping at all. I had the same pain until the end. I just want to know if Braxton Hicks contractions are a sign to get into labor soon? I read that they are normal during pregnancy, but at the same time not too normal..I need more information. I’m 19 weeks pregnant now.

Dear Karla, I’m so sorry that you have lost your baby. Peace and blessings to you during this pregnancy.
Braxton hicks are not a sign that labor will start soon. Some women don’t ever feel BH contractions, while other women feel them the whole last trimester and sometimes earlier as in your case. Also, women feel them in different ways. Are you feeling them up front or down low? Does it feel like internal pressure or maybe back pain? If you are concerned, maybe you could talk with your doctor to put your mind at ease. ~blessings, Guinever

76. Mary J - May 15, 2008

I have found your website extremely helpful while I was looking for ways to bring on labor. I am 39 weeks and would really like to have this baby in the next few days so that I can go to my brother’s out of town wedding. This is my fifth baby, I am 3 full centimeters, 80% eff, and the midwife said she can’t believe how far down the baby’s head is. I am so stressed about going to term or over since all of my babysitters will be leaving town and if I go into labor while they are gone my husband will have to sit in the waiting room with our kids. Could all this anxiety be preventing me from going into labor?

Dear Mary J, your scenario sounds exactly like mine–being dilated and carrying baby very low. Time will tell! Anxiety definitely can play a factor in preventing labor to start–especially taking care of all your other children. I’ve noticed with a lot of moms that they won’t go into labor as long as the other kids need them. Can dad take them away for a day so you can relax your body and mind??? ~blessings, Guinever

77. Maria - May 5, 2008

Hello, please, excuse my english. I am 38 weeks pregnant. My mucous plug gradualy went out last week. May I have sex now, being without it?

Dear Maria, it is fine and safe to have sex after you lose your mucous plug. It is after your water breaks, that you shouldn’t have intercourse because of the risk of infection. ~blessings, Guinever

78. Andrea - May 4, 2008

Hello. I am 37 weeks pregnant with my second child. My first was born via c-section at 42 weeks after a three day failed induction. This time I am having a scheduled c-section due to small pelvis/big baby.
This past week the baby has dropped extremely low and I am in constant pain with all the pressure on my pelvis area and rectum. My lower back is also throbbing and I am hardly able to walk. I had an appointment and an internal exam that confirmed the baby’s head is engaged and that the cervix is starting to thin but no dilation yet. My question is how could I not be progressing with the head pushing on my cervix? It is so unbearably uncomfortable that I am in tears all day. I am crawling in the house to get to the bathroom since walking upright is so painful. I still have two weeks till my scheduled c-section… I just don’t understand why I am not progressing with all the discomfort I have been having. Shouldn’t I be dilating? If I show some progress they will consider moving up the date for the c-section.

Dear Andrea, you are progressing. Your cervix has thinned out. Before dilation occurs, the cervix has to thin a little bit. I suspect that you have progressed since you were checked last. Could you go for a pregnancy massage to help relieve your back pain. It sounds like you need to be on your hands and knees a lot. Is your pain constant or does it come every few minutes. If it seems to come and go, then you’re experiencing contractions.

I encourage you to read this article and watch this video. ~blessings to you, Guinever

79. Sonia - May 1, 2008

Hi, I am 40 weeks and 4 days, my first pregnancy. My cervix has not ripened at all and am not dilated. My babies head was engaged at 37 weeks but has since disengaged and is now ‘floating’. I had an ultra sound yesterday to determine any reason for this and found out that the baby is definitely on the larger side. (My husband and I were both very big babies). My Doc says that the baby needs to come out some time next week and there is no point in an induction with my cervix the way it is so is angling towards a cesar. I am trying all your suggestions sex. walking, evening primrose oil etc. I want to avoid a cesar if possible, would much prefer to at least attempt a vaginal birth. Should I insist that we at least attempt an induction? Any suggestions?

Dear Sonia, Your cervix *will* ripen and start to dilate. I’m sorry that your doctor has you on a time table. I just want to encourage you that you can birth your baby vaginally. Do not worry about baby size. When you and your baby are ready, you will go into labor. It sounds like you’re doing everything that you can to ripen your cervix. When you say you’re doing evening primrose oil, you didn’t say if you were doing it orally or vaginally. Try piercing the gel cap and using it vaginally.

As far as insisting on an induction, yes! If it comes to that, and you and your doctor can’t wait for labor to start on its own. Don’t just schedule a cesarean. But if you do an induction with an unripe cervix, you need lots and lots of time. If its possible to do a cervical ripener–prepadil or cervidil– and then go home for a day, that would be the best scenario, but not all doctors do this.
Please let me know if you have any more questions, Guinever

80. Teisha - April 30, 2008

Hi! I am 33 weeks pregnant and i went to the doctor today finding out that i dilated 2cm. My doctor suggested i stop having sex, what do u say
about this because my doctor making it seem like I am going to give birth early?

Dear Teisha, why were getting your cervix checked this early in pregnancy? Were you having contractions or pressure? It might be wise to abstain until you’re 36 weeks along. You could ask your doctor why he wants you to do that. Please know that many women dilate early and go on to have healthy, full-term babies. ~blessings, Guinever

81. Carla - April 28, 2008

I am 38 weeks pregnant and I was diagnosed with GBS. I am also 4 centimeters dialated. Should I be induced to make sure I receive the IV antibiotics because I had both of my kids within 30 minutes of going into labor.

Dear Carla, do you mean that your GBS test was positive? That just means that you are a carrier;it doesn’t mean that you have group b strep. Were your other labors induced? You didn’t say. This is something to discuss with your doctor or midwife. ~blessings, Guinever

82. Michele - April 28, 2008

Hi. I am 28.5 weeks pregnant and due to preterm labor with my first pregnant at 30 weeks which bedrest kept him from coming and I had to be induced at 39 weeks has me seeing Maternal Fetal along with the fact that I have hyperparathyroidism. My calcium levels have been ok lately but I am having to avoid calcium. At 24 weeks, my cervix measured 37 and today it measured 34. Is this good and normal that it has gone down some???

Dear Michele, I am not familiar with the numbers you are giving me. Usually the cervical length is expressed in centimeters–like 1,2,3,4 centimeters so 37 or 34 are obviously not a measurement in centimeters for the cervix. (could be millimeters? I don’t know and if it were millimeters, that’s plenty long enough) The fact that it has gone “down” as you put it, means the cervix is shortening or effacing which is not necessarily a good thing since you are still so early. BUT I do not want to worry you. If you want more information, please call your doctor’s office. They weren’t too worried or they would’ve done something. Also, it is totally normal for some women to soften and dilate this early and go on to have full-term babies. (that’s what happened for your first pregnancy) ~blessings, Guinever

83. Laura - April 27, 2008

Dear Guinever

Do you think it’s safe to self-examine the cervix? I am nearly 39 weeks. I can feel that mine is low but it feels like a pair of puckered lips so I guess that it’s still closed. We don’t have as much interference in the UK – certainly no internals and unless you have a high risk pregnancy no obstetricians are involved. I wouldn’t expect my midwife to discuss induction until I’m 42 weeks. Although I welcome the lack of intrusion I am curious to see how my body is preparing itself as I’ve been experiencing daily braxton hicks and had some pre-labour contractions last week that lasted about 2 hours.

There is always the chance of compromising your water so that it breaks, even if its not right away. I would not say that it is not safe…~blessings, Guinever

84. Ally - April 26, 2008

Guinever, first off I find your postings very informational. Thank you so much in advance for any insight you may have for me. I am 37wks according to ultrasound, 39 1/2wk according to my dates (I am very sure of my dates). I experienced preterm labour contractions at 30 1/2wks, was given steroids for babies lung development and labour was stopped. Now, I have been 4-5cm dialated for 3wks and my cervix is very posterior. At my appointment today my doctor said he is willing to stretch my cervix in 2days to see if that will progress into labour. So, I guess my question is, what is your opinion on this procedure and have you had any experience with it’s outcome? Oh and baby has been engaged since 26wks so I am very uncomfortable as baby is pushing just over 6lbs according by U/S and putting pressure on all the wrong places. Thank you again for any insight you may have on this topic.
Cheers, Ally

Dear Ally, I’m assuming you’re talking about “stripping the membranes.” This procedure can be very uncomfortable. It might cause cramping and spotting. What I have seen in most women is that it causes light, persistent contractions for several days that can be very tiring so that when active labor finally starts, you’re just too exhausted to handle labor. But with that said, some women swear by it, and have the procedure for every pregnancy. I would just weigh the benefits with the risks (compromising the bag of water so that it breaks, small chance of infection). The baby will come when he’s ready. Stripping the membranes on one day may produce labor within a couple of days which might have happened anyway. ~blessings, Guinever

85. Leigh - April 22, 2008

hi I’m 35 weeks and having major cramps in my pelvic area. I have been having an increase in discharge as well. I haven’t had a internal exam yet so I am clueless to what is going on. This my first child. I would like to have some dialation take place since my dr stated he would be inducing me at 38 weeks due to gestational diabetes. What can I do to encourage my body to dilate and what should I expect at the next dr visit?

Dear Leigh, I don’t know what your doc will do at the next visit because each doctor is different. This is a good thing that you are experiencing cramps; that means your cervix is starting to change. You wouldn’t want to reach induction at 38 weeks with a hard, closed cervix because it wouldn’t work and you would have a cesarean. ~blessings, Guinever

86. maritza - April 21, 2008

hello im 38 weeks been vomiting for 3 days now in 3cm dilated want to know if i could ask my doctor if i could be induce have lots of pressure on my hips and in between my legs.

Dear Maritza, you should be able to ask your doctor anything you want. He might say no or he could say yes. Induction shouldn’t be done unless there is a medical reason–meaning you or baby is in danger if the pregnancy continues. ~birthing blessings, Guinever

87. Martha - April 21, 2008

I am 30 weeks pregnant, with my fifth child. I lost the last two pregnancies consecutively at 38 and 37 weeks due to placenta abruption and a true knot respectively. I had Ceasarian section on both lost babies. No ceasarian section on live children. This time around, my dr gave me bexamethasone at 29 weeks, to ripen my baby’s lungs. Again she says we will need to do Elective Ceasarian Section at 37 weeks. I am still wondering if the ceasaran would be ideal and at 37 weeks. May be I still need to wait. The other thing is that I got this pregnancy after just six months of losing this last baby.

(((HUGS))) Dear Martha, I’m so sorry that you have lost your babies. Does your doctor want to do a cesarean because of your previous surgeries? Also, does she want to do it at 37 weeks because that’s when you lost your other babies? Have you looked at ICAN’s website? They have a lot of information about cesarean prevention and VBAC. This is something you need to discuss with your doctor. Some doctors will not even attempt a vaginal birth after surgery. Others might try it after just one cesarean, but not two. There are birth attendants that will allow a vaginal birth after 2 cesarean. I think this can be safe thing to do depending on the circumstances, especially the healthy of the mother. (in other words, are you very healthy?) ~blessings, Guinever

88. Jynann Fisher - April 21, 2008

Dear Guinever,
I’m sure many people have asked you this same question but I am now almost 41 weeks pregnant with my first baby and went for a sweep on Thursday only to be told I was 5cm dialated and “should not be long”. I have not experienced any BH or back ache up until that point or since then. I have had a very small amount of blood 3 days after the sweep but nothing else. I have been told to stay at home and wait for the onset of regular contractions but I am now worried that I am still dialating without experiencing pain and my baby will come, very quick and out of the blue whilst I am still at home BUT at the same time don’t want to go to the hospital to be told they will admit me and induce my labour. My question is, is it safe to just stay at home and wait? I don’t want my baby to be open to infection or anything.
Thank you in advance for your help.

Dear Jynann, oh yes. Just wait and be patient and allow your body to go into labor naturally. It is unlikely that you will get an infection. You get those in the hospital and not at home. I sincerely doubt that the birth of your baby will creep up on you unaware. You will have contractions that you can feel. ~blessings, Guinever

89. kera emmerich - April 13, 2008

hello i am 36 and4 days pregnant. i went into hospital 36 and1because i was having reg. contractions about 2 to 6 min apart for about 2 hours. the hospital checked me and said i am dilated to a 4 and i am 60% effaced. i was in preterm labor at 32 weeks and was put on procardia. i was off bed rest and off meds at my 36 week mark. i am still havin contractions but not real regular. do u have an idea about how long it usually takes to go into active labor being under this case? doc said baby is healthy and ready to go but will not do anything to progress anything. doc wants me to go into labor completey on my own since i am 36 and 4. i am ready now so what can i do to move things along? i am walking about 2 miles a day already. is the labor boost product anything i should try?

Dear Kera, I am not familiar with the labor boost product that you mention. At only 36-37 weeks, I think that you should just relax, enjoy the rest of your pregnancy and wait for your labor to start on its own. Let your baby grow and thrive in your womb. ~blessings, Guinever

90. Shazzy - April 12, 2008

hi i am 34 weeks and 4 days pregnant went to doctors on thursday did internal and told me i am fully effaced and 2 cm dialated this is no 3 pregnancy my daughter was born at 35 weeks son at 39 1/2 weeks last pregnancy was dilated 2cm at 37 weeks and 5 cm with waters bulging at 39 1/2 weeks before i had him the head is also engaged will i go to full term

Dear Shazzy, although no one knows for sure when you will have your baby, it is likely that you will have your baby in the next few weeks rather than going to 40 or more weeks. ~blessings, Guinever

91. Amber - April 10, 2008

I am 38 weeks and 2 days pregnant with my first child. I went into the doctor today and she said I was only 1 cm dialated and 50% effaced, I have been pretty active in the past few months trying to encourage an easy delivery. Since I got home from work today I have had abnormal pains in my back and occasional cramping pains. It seems kind of weird to be feeling this way when she just told my I was only 1 cm dialated. Is it possible for a person to go from being only 1 cm to more in such a short time? I expected that being only 1 cm meant that I would most likely go full term with my pregnancy but I am feeling really strange right now. I know you can’t judge when it will happen, I just want to know the odds of going into active labor soon even though she said I was only 1 cm today?

Dear Amber, no one can truly know when you will have your baby. It could be today or not for a few more weeks. Yes, of course its possible to go from 1cm to more than that in a short amount of time–that is what contractions accomplish whether they are braxton hicks or labor contractions. ~blessings, Guinever

92. anne - April 4, 2008

Hi – just found your website. it’s great! my daughter will be 39 weeks in 3 days… first baby. she was told this week she is 5 cm dilated – was told 2 weeks before that she was 4 cm. she is walking quite a bit – not sure about the sex, but that sounds like a great idea to me!! she says she is sleeping fine! has felt Br. Hicks for sometime now, but not painful. my question is: is it dangerous to be THAT dilated for so long? isnt it unusual?

Dear Anne, let me help to put your mind at ease. It’s normal, desirable and not dangerous for your daughter to be that far dilated. I think its great that her caregiver isn’t pushing for an induction. When the baby is ready to be born, labor will start. The more dilating that gets done during pregnancy, the less she’ll have to do in labor (and she’s done quite a lot).

One of my students who came through my childbirth class was found to be 6cm dilated at a routine checkup. The doctor freaked out and sent her to the hospital. She was not in labor. They ended up breaking her water so labor would start. It went too fast. The mother described it as “a train wreck.” Neither mother or baby were ready for the intense contractions and both required oxygen. So all this to say, it’s just better to wait–let labor start naturally and slowly and build in intensity.

~blessings and congratulations on your grandbaby soon to be born, Guinever

93. Genevieve - March 28, 2008

Hi Guinever 😀

What a wonderful and informative website! Makes me wish I had found it sooner in my pregnancy.. I’m currently 38w along and am not quite understanding what’s happening with my body as of late.

I went to the Dr. last Thursday and was at 50% effacement with 2 cm dilation, this recent Thursday I was at 75% and 2.5 cm. I know I could be sitting at this point for weeks without any changes but my Dr said she would be surprised if I made it to the next appointment. I was told the same thing last Thursday and imagine all the stress and frustration I experienced that week (and my poor husband too!) she said the same thing again at this appointment, I wasn’t too happy.

Lately I’ve been experiencing dull back pain with some sharp pains (mid to lower back) which only last for a second or 2, and then twice today stronger ones (about 7 seconds) on the top of my stomach. They somewhat feel like pins in my back. I doubt they are contractions since they are supposed to feel like tightening all over. I also have some period-like pressure and usually need to go to the bathroom shortly after.. is it because I’m having contractions or is it just my body’s way of telling me I need to empty my bowels? Last question: I feel the skin of my stomach tightening but don’t feel baby move, I’m not sure if it’s her pressing into me or if it’s contractions. Help! 🙂 Sorry it’s so long and many thanks in advance for your time!

Dear Genevieve, hey I love your name! Sorry your doctor said you might have your baby and you were set up for disappointment. Really and truly, no one can know for sure when a woman will give birth until contractions start and then keep on continuing. Women can experience several bouts of pre-labor where you have several hours of light contractions and then it just stops. That scenario is totally normal and it’s just your body preparing itself and getting ready for real labor.

What you are describing sounds like contractions to me. When you are in active labor, then your contractions will slowly lengthen until they’re a minute or more. Your contractions are probably much longer now, you’re probably only eeling them during the most intense part–at the peaks, before they fade away. Because your bowels are right there next to your uterus, having to empty them can stimulate your uterus too. The skin tightening could be contractions or your baby shifting his weight. I hope this all makes sense–feel free to ask more questions.
~blessings, Guinever

94. Brittany - March 28, 2008

Hello. I am 36 weeks and 2 days pregnant, with my second son. Went for my strep B test today, and informed my doctor that I have been losing my mucus plug gradually, but no bloody discharge, its a water soapy like discharge [ could that be excessive vagina discharge, or my mucus plug?] Also; why is it my doctor will not check me because of ‘infection’ reason, but I can have all the sex I want? I don’t get it. O and is it safe to check my own cervix? Thanks a BUNCH!

Dear Brittany, it’s just as likely what you are passing is discharge rather than your mucous plug. Increase in the amount of discharge is very common the last month of pregnancy. Intercourse is very beneficial for getting your cervix ready for dilation. Most doctors want to do cervical checks all the time so be glad that he isn’t pressuring you to do them. Do you know how to do them yourself? It is a learned skill..just know that any time you check the cervix, there is a chance of the water breaking and introducing infection. ~blessings, Guinever

95. joanna - March 25, 2008


I’m a first time parent, 37 weeks and 5 days pregnant. I went to the dr. today and was told i was 1 cm. dilated and dr. encouraged me to have lots of sex. I wanted to know if once you are starting to dialate you will still keep dialating and not close back? Also may i expect my mucus plug to come out anytime soon?

Dear Joanna, It is possible to experience backwards dilation, but I’m not sure I understand your question or why you’re asking it. You will have periodic contractions or experience pressure in the days and weeks before labor starts which will slowly soften and open your cervix. If the baby is putting lots of pressure on your cervix you may be more dilated than if the baby moves back up a little bit. During labor, if you have cervical check, you may be 4 cm dilated, but during a contraction a minute later, you could be stretching to a 5 or 6. Then when the contraction stops, you might be back to a 4 or a really stretchy 4. Does that make sense? ~blessings, Guinever

96. Melesha - March 23, 2008

Hello, in a few days I will be 39 weeks this is my second child. I have dilated only 2 centimeters; however I have been in and out the hospital with very painful contractions that are 3 min. apart and they last from 4 to 5 hours. I try to relax but the pain is so consistent. my doctor just found out through my cervix exam that the baby has piece of my pelvis pushed outward, that I can feel when I walk and it is very painful. So she told me to take red raspberry leaf tea everyday and that isn’t doing anything. So I am very concern about the baby and my well-being.

Dear Melesha, please find a chiropractor who works with pregnant women. You pain would probably be relieved under the care of a chiropractor. It could be a problem with your pubis symphisis. The tea you are drinking is beneficial and strengthens the uterus but it won’t help with your pelvic pain. ~blessings, Guinever

97. Melissa - March 15, 2008

Hello, I am 39 weeks pregnant with my 4th baby. As of a few days ago, I was 6cm dilated, 70-80% effaced. I am not feeling many contractions, mainly back pain at night and pressure in the vaginal area. Is it typical to be so far dilated and not in active, painful labor? This is far different than my first three labors. And what is the typical “rule” for dilation– meaning what is the point of dilation when they won’t let you leave the hospital?
My other labors have been 7.5 hours, 3 hours and 5 hours so I’m also concerned about another possibly quick labor, especially considering how far dilated I already am.
Thanks for your input.

Dear Melissa, there are no hard and fast rules about when a hospital won’t “let” you go back home. It will vary among hospitals and also among different doctors. Frankly, I’m surprised that at being that far dilated, they didn’t encourage you to go to the hospital for a quick induction by breaking your water. That’s great that your doctor is waiting for labor to start on its own and not pushing you to schedule your birth. With that said, this is your birth and you can walk in and out of the hospital as you please. If you don’t want to stay, then don’t stay.

The back pain and pressure you are feeling–that is your uterus working and that’s what is dilating you even if it doesn’t feel like contractions to you. Yes, you will probably have a quick labor once active labor starts. What I see with women with several children is that you need to be rested in order to go into labor and your other children need to be somewhere that you’re not worried about them or having to do things for them. (in bed or at someone else’s house). Then you can relax your mind and body and let yourself have this new baby. ~blessings, Guinever

98. Jennifer - March 15, 2008

Hello I am 38 weeks 2 days with my second child, and 2 days ago my doctor examined me and said I was 90-100% effaced and about 3 centimeters. I have been having about 2 contractions an hour for the last 3 days, and yesterday I lost my mucous plug. Is there anything I should do to get things moving? I thought maybe I should take a long walk around the mall, or should I try the raspberry leaf tea? I’m just so excited I want something to happen.

Dear Jennifer, both of those sound like good ideas. But remember your due date is only an estimate and just because you’re dilated a little doesn’t mean your baby is ready to be born. It could be today but it could be a few more weeks. ~birthing blessings, Guinever

99. Robbie - March 12, 2008

Hello my wife is a few days over 19 weeks pregnant and had a Cervical Cerclage done. It has been in for a week and she is having a lot of pressure, and today a little blood. Is this the sign of something? This is our first pregnancy and we do not understand a lot of the things going on, please help us.

Dear Robbie, It could be a sign of something…please call your wife’s doctor right away. ~blessings, Guinever

100. hhall - March 3, 2008

I am 37 weeks and 4 days. This is currently my fourth full term pregnancy. My last two children were born at 37 weeks 4 days (so anxious today!!), after my water broke. My first child was full term at 40 weeks 2 days. My question is: I went in to for an exam and found I am “thinned out” soft, ripe and “ready to go at any time”, being a fingertip dilated. I was also told My uterus is very high…With second and subsequent labors I have heard labors are faster and sooner but I am wondering if past pregnancies foretell future pregnancies? Do I have higher chances of my water breaking this time as well a few weeks early as they have in the past, or is every pregnancy unique in it’s own way? I am very active throughout the day, and am hoping to speed up dilation. Is keeping myself active by work and walking the only surefire way? Thanks so much for your time!

~Dear Hollie, there are so many reasons why water breaks that it’s hard to tell if your water has broken for the same reason in all your pregnancies or for different reason and you can only wonder if this one will do the same. Getting adequate protein makes a strong bag of water, so does daily intake of Vitamin C. (so not enough protein and vit c can result in the bag being more prone to break) Having a posterior baby sometimes causes the water to break before labor, but that’s usually with an overdue baby (baby wants to be born, and tries and tries but isn’t in the best position for birth so the water eventually gives way). Water often breaks a day or two after getting an internal exam as a result of the exam.

To answer your question, I would say that every pregnancy and labor are unique. ~blessings, Guinever

101. Madison - February 28, 2008

I am 36 weeks. I have been having lots of Braxton hicks for weeks now. I had a Dr. appt yesterday and my first internal. He said my cervix was very, very soft but closed. I am a little confused as to what this means because he told me that he really doesn’t think I will go another 4 weeks with this pregnancy and to make sure I have everything ready now. He is very experienced so I want to believe him but I mean how soon is this going to be? I need to get things wrapped up at work and he has me nervous that baby will come very very soon.

Dear Madison, the cervix has to soften and open. Yours has just started to soften but hasn’t started to dilate or open yet according to your doctor. How far dilated or softened your cervix really isn’t an indication of when you will have your baby. He could be right; you could go early, but just as likely, you will go 40 or more weeks. It is always a good idea to have everything ready to go about this time in your pregnancy–car seat installed, baby clothes washed, your suitcase packed for the hospital. Just be ready and then you won’t have to worry about it.~blessings, Guinever

102. SADIE - February 21, 2008

hi i am 38 weeks pregnant 90% percent efaced and 2cm dilated almost 3 the baby is on -2 station and i lost my mucus plug a few days ago and i had my membrane stripped i…went to the the hospital yesterday because after the membrane being stripped i had alot of blood along with mucous come out they check me and said it was normal…now my question is what can i do to help me dilate some more…i am close but i seem to not dilate more?

Dear Sadie, be patient. Just give it time. I know these days and weeks are the hardest because the baby is so big and you’re tired of being pregnant. Your baby will be born when he is ready. Walking and staying active and resting when you need to is the best thing that you can do. ~blessings, Guinever

103. Tiffany - February 19, 2008

I have dialated 3 last Wednesday and I am due March 11,2008 this is my fourth baby this is my second time to dialated on my own my last child I went into the hospital and had the baby 10 hours later I just want to know why I have not had any contractions yet I believe tomorrow I will dialated to 4 when I see the doctor vagina pain that comes and go It really hurts when the baby is moving is that normal so do you think I will have the baby before due date

Dear Tiffany, some women have contractions and don’t feel them until they’re in labor. It sounds like you just can’t feel the Braxton Hicks, but are having them. I have no idea when you will have your baby. Vaginal pain doesn’t sound normal–it could be your pubic symphisis–a common problem with pregnancy. A chiropractor can help that. ~blessings, Guinever

104. Nena - February 19, 2008

Dear Guinever,
My daughter-in-law is 2 days shy of her 37th week. She started to experience contractions 2 1/2 days ago and over that time, she has continued to experience contractions. She is now 50% effaced, her cervix is softened, she’s dialated to between 2 and 2.5 cm, and she is experiencing contractions about every 3 1/2 minutes. She experiences about 90% of these as what she describes as an 8 on a scale of 10 for pain. She was seen by clinic’s nurse this morning, and they have stated that there is nothing they can do for her. Are there any options to help this process move forward?

Dear Nena, you’re just in a wait and see situation right now. I think the best thing is for her to try and lessen her pain. She should take a bath and try to relax–give in to the contractions instead of fighting them or tensing up with them. Being tense and scared causes pain. ~blessings, Guinever

105. Shanna - February 17, 2008

I’m 33 1/2 weeks pregnant, on 2-6-08 I was dilated to 2cm and 70 efface and having contractions, I was hospitalized and put on a magnesium IV to stop contractions. I was sent home after 72 hours. I haven’t had any noticeable contractions but i have been experiencing a strong stabbing pain in my vagina from time to time. Should I be concerned? Is it possible I will make it to my due date? This is my first pregnancy and I’m still unsure of everything that I am experiencing. Thank you for your time.

Dear Shanna, of course it is possible that you could make it to your due date. Anything is possible, but there are no promises. Only time will tell. The stabbing pain you describe doesn’t sound like contractions. It could be your pubis symphisis–a chiropractor can alleviate the pain if that’s what it is. Call your doctor immediately if you experience any bleeding. ~blessings, Guinever

106. Melinda Williams - February 14, 2008

Hi, I’m Juliet. Just reading some of these messages have strengthened me a bit. I am due on the 18th February but I have been experiencing moderate to severe pains in my lower abdomen and back on and off for the past couple weeks or so. A visit to the doctor last Saturday told me that my cervix was still thick but it was open. What does this mean? Does it mean that my mucous plug has been removed? The Dr. also told me that she can just feel the baby’s head. She suggested lots of sex, but my husband is reluctant. I feel so tired of waiting sometimes and so tired of being tired. By the way this is my second pregnancy after 13 years. What can I do to help things along?

Dear Juliet, your cervix being thick means that it is long. It needs to shorten in order for you to continue dilating. I think you’re going to have your baby soon. Try to get as much rest as possible so you’ll be ready when labor starts. ~birthing blessings, Guinever

107. Linda - February 11, 2008

Dear Guinever,

First of all, I must say that I’ve enjoyed reading your responses as they give a different perspective: the mind is a powerful thing. I am 38 weeks and have been experiencing lower back pain, similar to menstural cramps for about a week and a half. This is primarily in the evenings and while trying to sleep. The pain (while present) does not come and go in intervals, it merely lingers around making sleeping exceptionally difficult. I have heard many responses to this, but what do you think….are these pre labor contractions? the baby dropping? or just him getting bigger and pushing down on my cervix/backbone/pelvis? Thank you in advance for your response.

Dear Linda, I couldn’t really say exactly what the pain is that you’re experiencing. I doubt it is the baby dropping. Contractions come and go which you say isn’t happening. So I just think it’s the weight of the baby bothering you at night. I would try doing lots of pelvic rocks before lying down to sleep and also throughout the day. Also, try sleeping on your side, hugging a pillow and leaning into it–kinda rolling more on your tummy than just lying straight on your side (hope that makes sense), also put a pillow between your legs and bend your upper most leg. Just try to get really comfy and roll far enough forward so that your bed is carrying the weight of the baby. Let me know how it goes. ~blessings, Guinever

108. Natalie - February 11, 2008


I am almost 37 weeks and my due date is February 28, 2007. Needless to say, I am very tired of being pregnant and wish I could have this baby right now! Nevertheless, I am not inclined to be induced and will wait as long as I have too (this is my second pregnancy and the first one was induced). I have two questions:

At my last appointment I was 2cm dilated and 25% effaced. Just out of curiosity, I was wondering how possible or common it is to go from 25% to almost completely effaced in a matter of days? I know there is no way to accurately predict labor, but my mom has taken time off to be with me around the end of the month (she is an anesthesi-ologist) and I was trying to gauge how likely it is that I might go into labor before she can get here.

Also, I’ve heard you mention a few times that spicy foods, prostaglandins, and exercise can help to hasten active labor. With my first pregnancy I was in dental school and very active. I was almost 3 cm dilated and almost completely effaced when my daughter was induced and the whole process took about 3 hours.

This time around, I am home mostly and not nearly as active. I have heard many women say that each consecutive labor is usually shorter than the first. I can’t eat spicy foods because it gives me heart burn, my husband is hesitant to have sex since I am so far along, so the best thing I can do is exercise. I was wondering, since I am so close to my due date, can beginning to exercise on a consistent basis so late in the game truly have an impact on how and when I may go into labor? The logical answer seems to be yes but I figured I would ask since you seem to be very experienced in these matters.

I am very glad I came across this site – thank you for taking the time to answer questions.

Dear Natalie, it is very possible to efface completely in a day of contractions, but it is just as likely that no change happened with your cervix. I have no idea when you will go into labor. As far as exercising, I wouldn’t start any type of exercise routine except for walking and pregnancy specific exercise (like kegels and pelvic rocks). As far as your husband is concerned, why don’t you tell him (or show him in an article or book) that sex is beneficial for you in the last weeks of pregnancy. He can not hurt the baby! Plus, remind him that once you do give birth, he’ll have to wait up to six weeks until you can resume intercourse so he might as well do it now while he can. ~blessings, Guinever

109. Shna -Trumbull, CT - February 9, 2008

Dear Guinever,

Thank you for your heartwarming support! I am walking it off, and taking a warm shower as well, but as you said I have to be patient. I am also taking evening primrose oil, as I read it on one of the messages. My Dr. said that I look ready to go and the baby’s head is down and all, but I guess I am impatient because I am experiencing these pains for weeks now, but only yesterday the pains in my back, my abdomen and my leg were stronger than before. So, do you think I should continue taking evening primrose oil and also how about raspberry tea, I heard it helps too?

Thank you.

Dear Shana, the tea (red raspberry LEAF tea) helps to strengthen the uterus and can be beneficial. Evening primrose oil helps to soften the cervix. Since you’re only 1 cm dilated (or you were when they checked you), that could still be beneficial too. Just keep up the good work. ~blessings, Guinever

110. Shana - February 9, 2008

Dear Guinever,
My name is Shana, I am 39 weeks pregnant, I have horrible pains in my back, lower abdomen and my left leg is killing me with pain. Last night I had very strong contractions, very painful, however the contractions were very irregular and no discharge or no show was there. I went to hospital and Dr. said that I have dialated only for less than a 1cm and then after 4 hours of strong contractions they just stopped. Do you think that those strong contractions were a false labor and that I could be close to my labor day or baby is coming soon? Also, if these pains continue like this, do you think I should continue to suffer with the pains or should I go for inducement? And also, how safe is the inducement, is it safe for the baby and the mother, do you think it has a bad effect or can harm the baby? My Dr. said that I should wait until due date and then we will talk about inducement, but honestly I don’t feel comfortable forcing the baby out if he is not ready, but could it be that the baby just lazy to come out? I am just going crazy with these pains and want to finally have the baby out. Please kindly let me know. Please Help. Thank you.

Dear Shana, what you are experiencing is normal and ok for you and your baby. I am not a fan of induction. I believe strongly that the baby will come when you are ready. All of this pre-labor is getting your body ready for birth. The more work you do while you are pregnant, the less you’ll have to do during labor. You say that you are suffering. What are you doing to ease the pain? Work with your contractions. Find the most comfortable positions. Don’t fight it, give in to it. Try to loosen all your muscles and let your uterus do its work. Take a warm bath. Labor on your hands and knees. Think positively! Labor doesn’t have to be considered “suffering.” You’re having a baby, a blessed event. Just another note about inductions: they do not work if your body is not ready (cervix not very soft or dilated, baby high) and it will only lead to a cesarean. Just wait. Be patient. Soon you will have your baby in your arms. ~blessings, Guinever

111. jade - February 9, 2008

hi im 39wks prgnant +2days and last nite i was gettin lower contactions, they seemed to get stronger and uncomfy, and i was gettin them for 6hrs then they just stopped! whats happening?

Dear Jade, this is totally normal. You’re just having a bout of pre-labor. The more contractions you have while still pregnant, the less you’ll have during labor. This is your body preparing itself for birth. ~blessings, Guinever

112. Samantha - February 8, 2008

I am 37 weeks and just found out my cervix is just starting to efface. My first son came at 36 weeks, so all this waiting is driving me insane. I am having no contractions, just a lot of low back pain, and lots of swelling. Is there anything I can do to speed up the process?

Dear Samantha, at only 37 weeks, you should probably just relax and not try to speed up the process. Let your baby grow and mature inside you til he’s ready to be born. Your baby could come very soon and maybe not for a few weeks. Just try to enjoy these last days of pregnancy. Try to stay hydrated and eat healthy–that might help with your swelling. ~blessings, Guinever

113. Veronica - February 7, 2008

I’m 40 weeks and 4 days overdue from my due date (which was Feb. 3). During my last visit with my midwife (I was 39 weeks before due date) she stripped my membrane to induce labor. However; this alternative to inducing labor did not work. I’m 50% effaced and 1 cm. I have 4 children and waiting for my 5th. My midwife wants to induce me in my 41 weeks with a low dosage of pitocin. The reason she wants to induce with a low dosage is because I had a set of twins and had to get a c-section and then after that I gave birth vaginally to my 4th child. I’m not at all comfortable with being induced with pitocin especially at a low dosage only because I don’t believe it will be effective. And due to me knowing that when pitocin is not effective a c-section is the next option to delivering baby. I told my midwife that I wanted a natural vaginal birth and that I wanted it to be according to what I had written out in my birthing plan. Somehow I feel like I’m being set up for another c-section. My fourth child came in my 41 weeks just to put that out there. What are your views?

PS I will be informing my midwife that I do not want to be induced. I just believe it is to soon for the baby to come especially if the baby is not ready to be born.

PSS Also, is borage oil good for softening and thinning out the cervix

Dear Veroncia, evening primrose oil is helpful for softening the cervix. So is sex because semen contains prostaglandins. I hope that you and your midwife can agree about your birth. And maybe you will go into labor before your next appointment so induction will be a non-issue. If she lets you go to 41 weeks, maybe you can ask her for a couple more days after as long as you and baby are doing ok. Just tell her what you’ve told me, that you really don’t want to be induced with pitocin. ~blessings, Guinever

114. Amy - February 6, 2008


My daughter is dilated to 1cm and effaced 50%. She throw up last night. Does that mean anything?

Dear Amy, she could have been sick with the stomach flu or food poisoning. Some women do throw up prior to labor, so it could be her body just cleaning itself out in preparation for labor and birth. Really, it could be any of these possibilities. ~blessings, Guinever

115. Veronica - February 4, 2008

Hi Guinever,

I am 28 weeks along. At every appt., my doctor does internal checks because I am at high risk for
pre-term labor because of prior LEEP procedures. At my last appt., my doctor told me that my cervix
has shortened from 3 cm to 2.8 cm and that I am 20% effaced. She did not put me on bed rest however
told me to continue working and to take it easy. I am also checking for contractions twice a day and have
not had any serious issues that I am aware of and no bleeding. I am really worried that I can go into pre-term
labor soon and I need your perspective. She wants to check me at 30 weeks. Any advice? Much appreciated, Veronica.

Dear Veronica, it sounds like your cervix is changing a little, but try and not to worry about it. Think positively. Concentrate on staying pregnant and keeping your baby inside until he/she is ready to be born. Stay hydrated and well rested. Worry and stress can lead to an early labor so please try to relax. If you’re found to have dilated significantly, then bedrest might be prescribed as a precaution.

Then when you are in labor, think about your cervix opening. Often with LEEP procedures, there is scar tissue that needs to be broken up manually (doctor’s hand). Just give your labor time, lots of time.
~blessings, Guinever

116. Peaches - February 4, 2008

Hey I am 38 week how can I help my self to dilate faster my due date is on next sat Feb 16

Dear Peaches, the best thing you can do is patient and enjoy the rest of your pregnancy. Walking, eating spicy foods, having sex–these can all help at the end of your pregnancy. ~blessings, Guinever

117. Melissa - February 1, 2008

My daughter was due on Jan 28. 2008, was 95% effaced and 31/2cm dilated when at the doctors. It is now approaching her next doctors appt. and no baby. Do you have any pointers on how long this could go on. We have been waiting and waiting with excitment and now alot of disappointment.

Just remember that a due date is only an estimation of when the baby will be born. Relax. Enjoy the anticipation. Soon you will have your grandbaby in your arms. Very soon. ~blessings, Guinever

118. Melody - February 1, 2008

I will be 37 weeks pregnant in two days. This is my second child. With my daughter I lost my mucus plug at 38 weeks and my water broke immediatly. I never felt a contractions before hand but my husband and I did have intercourse that day which may have helped. With this baby I lost my mucus plug two days ago. I have had contractions since then but nothing with a pattern or too intense. I was dialted 4 centimeters when I went to labor and delivery three nights ago. I definitly feel that I have dialated more since then. Is is possible that I could dialate more and not go into active labor for days? Is is possible to get an infection if I am dialated this much for too long if my water has not broken?

Dear Melody, Being dilated doesn’t cause infection, so I wouldn’t worry about. And yes, it’s possible to be this far dilated for many days before labor starts. ~birthing blessings, Guinever

119. iesha - February 1, 2008

I am 37 weeks and 6days my doctor told me i was 4 centimeter dilated when he remove my cerclage how long will i stay like this cause nothing change since my last doctor appointment. Also can my baby distress from me being 4 centimeter dialated so long.

Dear Iesha, your baby will not be in distress because you are dilated. I have no idea how long until your labor starts–could be days or weeks. ~birthing blessings, Guinever

120. Becca - January 28, 2008


what are the main changes to the cervix in the first few weeks of pregnancy? If I am pregnant it is about 11 days in…. what should I be looking for in position, texture etc?!

Dear Becca, changes in the texture and position of the cervix during pregnancy vary from woman to woman, so there isn’t a hard fast rule as to what the cervix would be doing early in pregnancy. With that being said, the cervix is often posterior (facing toward your back and hard to reach) as your pregnancy progresses and then will usually come back down as labor approaches. ~Guinever

121. Jamie - January 23, 2008

Thanks for this forum-

I am 36 weeks pregnant and just told that I am 3 cm dilated. It is my second pregnancy and I was wondering if I should discontinue exercise or any other activities. I would like to keep the baby on the inside as long as possible.

Dear Jamie, unless you’ve been told by your doctor to stop exercising, then it’s ok to continue your physical activities as long as you are comfortable doing them. If you are only having contractions while exercising and then they stop when you’re done, then you’re probably ok. Being dilated to a 3 is ok. Many women walk around dilated for weeks before going into real labor. ~Guinever

122. Kay - January 22, 2008

Thanks Guinever for your reply! The amniotic fluid looks fine, baby is head down (but I’m not sure if she is low in the pelvic or not). I am fairly small 5’2” and both my mom and I weighed 5 lbs. 10 ozs. when we were born, so I feel fairly certain that I am just going to have a small baby (although hubby was a 10 pounder!!). At my ultrasound today I’m going to ask if it really is necessary to induce–I’d really rather wait. Especially when I read about how inductions tend to lead to more c-sections!

123. Kay - January 20, 2008

Hi! I am exactly 39 weeks and am scheduled for an induction in 3 days because baby is estimated to have low birth weight (10% percentile). At my appointment at 38 w 4 d i was measuring 30 weeks with the tape measure. I had an ultrasound and baby passed all of the markers, so that is why they decided to wait another week before inducing (I’ll actually go back for another ultrasound the day before induction). At this last appt. I was 3 cm dilated and about 25% effaced. Will I need a lot of medication to induce labor or could I be pretty ready in three more days? Do you think the doctor’s should induce?

Dear Kay, if you and your baby are healthy and your placenta is good, I personally don’t think induction is a good idea. There are several reasons you can be measuring small–low amniotic fluid, the baby lying sideways in your womb a little, the baby dropped low in your pelvis. Ultrasound is inaccurate for determining the weight of your baby so you shouldn’t go by that alone. Do you and/or the father of the baby have small frames? People and babies come in all shapes and sizes.

As a personal example, all my kids are at the top of the growth charts for height–both my husband and I are tall. My oldest has several friends and they were all born within a few months of eachother, and my son is a head taller than a few of them.

What I’m trying to tell you is that if your baby is thriving in your womb (no indication of placenta deteriorating), then don’t take your baby early. He needs more womb time. With that said, your induction will probably work since you’re already 3 cm dilated. 50% ore more effaced would be better, though than 25%. ~blessings, Guinever

124. trish - January 18, 2008

I have been doing things to encourage dropping and dialation. ever since last week when i first found out nothing was happening. I’ve been walking. i was doing squats. i had spicy food tonight. i went in this morning to have the nonstress today and they did an exam. i’m hoping that might stir something up. i’m going back on monday for another test and exam. they said, then we’ll decide what to do.

OK great, Trish. You really need some prostaglandins on your cervix. The docs would do it by placing prepadil or cervadil on your cervix for an induction, or you can do it at home by having intercourse (prostaglandins in semen). ~hope this helps, Guinever

125. trish - January 17, 2008

I am 40 weeks and 1 day pregnant. my cervix is totally closed and baby’s head is still not engaged. i am going for a nonstress test tomorrow. this is my first baby, so my anxiety is getting the best of me. my docs talk about a poss. c-section. what do u think?

Dear Trish, you do not need a c-section. That shouldn’t even be an issue, should not even be brought up! Non-stress tests cause stress, that’s what I think. Relax. Your baby will be born when he is ready. Are you doing things that encourage dilation? (have sex, go for walks, eat spicy foods, nipple stimulation…)~blessings, Guinever

126. Mary Ciraso - January 16, 2008

My daughter in law is due to have her second baby about March 24, 2008. She is 37. Her first child will be 2, February 2. She had a C-Section with him. She is two centimeter’s dilated and told to rest as much as possible. Her doctor wants her to hold the baby for another 4 weeks at least. I am surprised that you could carry that long after being told you are two centimeters dilated. Any response to this?

Dear Mary, women can walk around dilated for many, many weeks. It is perfectly normal. ~blessings, Guinever

127. Kristen - January 14, 2008

Hi & How Are You? I was Just wondering if there was anything I could do at home to help myself dialate? I am currently 41 weeks,4 days pregnant and have not begun to even dialate…dr. said my cervix was still quite hard to the touch.Ive tried spicy foods,walking,pineapples,accupunctureThat was listed above although Im not sure if I am doing it right.I dont feel any tender places anywhere above or near my ankle….Ive been walking 3-4 blocks twice daily since week 38 but nothing has helped…can u help me????????????????????

Dear Kristen, you need prostaglandins to soften your cervix. Have sex and/or use primose evening oil (capsules taken orally or inserted vaginally.) Read the forum at midwifery today on this topic. ~blessings, Guinever

128. naomi - January 13, 2008

i have been having a lot of pressure in my vaginal area and i lot of pressure when i stand or walk around, i’m 2 cm dilated and the dr said something about the crowning of the head but has not said anything about the thinning i am 38 and 4 days pregnant, my question is how many women actually have to deal with the umbilical cord wrapping around their baby because someone told me that if you feel a lot of pain down there that that could be a sign so now i’m freaking out about that. i’m not sure whether they are normal pains now or if i should rush to the hospital. as long as the baby kicks everything should be okay right?

Dear Naomi, crowning occurs when the baby’s head is on your perineum right before the baby is born, so you are not crowning now. Cords are often wrapped around their baby’s necks. It is quite common. A cord wrapped very tightly, though, that would be a problem isn’t very common. I do not know of any connection between a nuchal cord and feeling pain. If you are very worried about it and need to put your mind at ease, discuss it with your doctor’s office and they can monitor the baby during contractions (if you’re having any) to see if there is a significant change in the baby’s heartrate.

Also, during labor when you’re pushing, your baby will be monitored continuously, and they will be able to tell if the cord is too tight and determine if they baby needs to be born quicker and will instruct you how to do that. Most likely, this will not be a problem for you. ~blessings, Guinever

129. Poonkodi - January 13, 2008


I’m into my 15th week with twins and have had a Cervical Cerclage done in my 14th week. After this, on & off I had some spotting. On checking with my doctor I was told that the cervix had dialated a little above the stitch. I was told that I need to be horizontal on the bed to ease the pressure on the cervix. The babies are doing good. I kindly request you to let me know the following:

1. Will the cervix heal / hold itself?
2. Are there any medications to reduce the dialation? (I was not given any)
3. Should I be on any special diet to control the weight of the babies?

testing times. I would really appreciate your advice.

Warm Regards,

Dear Poonkodi, cerclage has not really been proven to work although it is a common procedure done during pregnancy to help keep the cervix closed. There is no medication to reduce dilation. You absolutely do not want to “control” the weight of your babies. You want to eat a great, healthy diet for a healthy pregnancy for you and to help your babies develop strong and grow as they should. ~blessings, Guinever

130. shelly - January 8, 2008

i am one week over due date i had exam last week doctor told me i was 1 centimeter dilated i coud not sleeping night time. i feel very tired how much time will it take more

Dear Shelly, I’m sorry, but I really can’t predict when you will have your baby. But it sounds like it will definitely be soon. Try to relax and get as much sleep as possible so you’ll be ready for labor when it starts. ~blessings, Guinever

131. Sydney - January 8, 2008

Thank you! I did have an epidural. Although it wasn’t a very good one. I was able to push with a squatting bar for quite a while, but that was the only alternative position I tried. I ended up spiking a fever and my daughter’s heart rate shot up. My daughter had her first bm before she was born. Which also caused concern.

Reluctantly, I had agreed to a c-section for this baby. My husband is very scared of me trying for a vaginal delivery. The experience of my first delivery was very hard for him too. But I feel like this baby can be born vaginally. Do you think the key is not having the epidural so I am free to move about?
Thanks for your time,

Dear Sydney, Not getting an epidural would greatly increase your chance of a vaginal birth. It’s not just about being free to move about, it’s about feeling your baby and responding to your body’s cues and getting into the best position possible for birth. Women instinctively will move about during 2nd stage. The baby passing meconium during labor is a sign that the baby was in distress which was most likely caused by your fever and elevated blood pressure. Birthing without drugs is the best start that you can give your baby and your recovery would be much easier too. Prepare yourself for a natural birth by doing mental and physical relaxation exercises. ~blessings, Guinever

132. Sydney - January 7, 2008


I ‘m 37 1/2 weeks with my 2nd pregnancy. I delivered my daughter at 40 weeks and 3days. After a long labor and 2 1/2 hours of pushing I had a c section. My Dr. said she moved on the first push and was then “lodged in the side of my birth canal”. My
Dr. now says that because I pushed with my first delivery, with no success, that the chances of the same thing happening are high. i would really like to try and deliver vaginally, but I don’t want to go thru the same thing again. It was very scary. My Dr. also says that the baby’s head is very low. I am 1 1/2 cm and 0% effaced. I’d appreciate any advice. Thank you!

Dear Sydney, I do not think that the same thing will happen with this baby unless your pelvis is malformed which I highly doubt. What positions did you try for pushing? Did you have an epidural? If it was a problem with the baby being asynclitic, that most likely will not happen with this one. So my advice it to take some deep breaths and believe in your ability to give birth. You can do this! You can give birth vaginally. You will not know until you try. And do not give up until you have you pushed in upright positions, on hands and knees and on the side (not just flat on your back in stirrups). I cant tell you how many times I have known of women whose baby has been “stuck” and then they get into a different position and the baby just slips out. It is very important to try different positions. Walking is good in early labor because as your hips sway, the baby can negotiate past all the bones in your pelvis. Also read can my baby be too big for my pelvis? and watch this inspiring video. ~birthing blessings, Guinever

133. Angie - January 6, 2008

My daughter is 37 weeks and 2 days as of today. She has had a horrible time with this pregnancy. She only weighed 100 lbs pre-pregnancy and has had morning sickness every day and still is. We went to the hospital for the third time last night with labor pains. They said she is 50 % effaced and 1 cm dilated but after 2 hrs of contractions @ 3 minutes apart and 90 seconds long there was no change. They sent her home to see if anything happens. Her back was hurting so badly that she’s actually in tears. Today her back isn’t hurting so much but she’s still having the tightening. Just wondering what your thoughts are. They said early on that as small as she is and her just turning 19 that she may go into labor a little early.

Dear Angie, I’m sorry that your daughter is having such a hard time with her pregnancy. The back pain is probably caused by either the baby or cervix being posterior and pressing on her back. To alleviate back pain she should try getting on her knees and leaning over a chair, couch, exercise ball or a stack of pillows on the floor. She should just try to get as comfortable and as relaxed as possible. Taking a shower or bath can also help her relax and have an easier time with contractions.

Having already been to the hospital 3 times with labor pains and she’s still only 1 cm dilated makes me wonder if she is afraid of the pain and what is to come. It sounds like she’s fighting her labor and trying to run away from it rather than embracing it and giving in to it. Being afraid of the labor, the pain, of motherhood, can all contribute to a harder labor. She needs to relax. I hope that she can do that. Usually, teenagers have an easier time with labor than older women.

If she can just try to do normal activities instead of concentrating on the pain and thinking that she might be in labor, she may have an easier time. Until active labor kicks in, go to the movies, go shopping, go for a walk, go out to eat, or stay home and play games and watch movies. ~blessings, Guinever

134. Jennifer - January 5, 2008

Hello, i would like to start off by saying i think its great that u dedicate time to to help and answer unanswered questions of those in need. Im 37wks and three days i was rushed to the hospital last night contracting only to be sent home. The doc said im 2 centimeters and not ready. I know it can take a month or longer to deliver but what do u suggest to speed the process.

Dear Jennifer, because you’re only 37 1/2 weeks along, I don’t suggest anything to speed labor. Labor will start when you and your baby are ready. You may have lots of episodes of pre-labor ahead of you like you described. Just relax and enjoy the rest of your pregnancy. Walking, eating spicy foods, having sex are all beneficial at the end of pregnancy. ~birthing blessings, Guinever

135. JEFFERICA - January 4, 2008


Dear Jefferica, are you throwing up and/or not eating? I’m just looking for the cause of such a huge, sudden weight loss and why your doc told you to drink sprite–is that for nausea? Why didn’t you tell them about your contractions? Why are you disappointed? When your contractions are very intense and 5 minutes apart or less, then you might be in labor and its time to go to the hospital. ~Guinever

136. Teddi - January 3, 2008

I have a 2 vessel cord and my doctor said I have a higher risk for pre-term labor. Also, my mom went into labor around 7 months with all her children. I have dilated 2cm in 4 days and I am 33 weeks pregnant. I have sharp vaginal pains nonstop. Is there a chance I could have the baby early?

Dear Teddi, of course, there’s a chance you could have your baby early. But I really have no idea when you will have your baby. Sometimes women dilate a little bit early in their pregnancy and then go on to deliver at full-term. Only time will tell. Enjoy these last days or weeks before you have your baby in your arms. ~Blessings, Guinever

137. aliyah - January 3, 2008

Is it normal for someone to not have contractions but dilated anyway i am 3 centimeters dilated and have not had 1 contraction. My doctor says that my cervix is very soft also. when will the contractions kick in

Dear Aliyah, relax. Everything is fine. Some women don’t feel their braxton hicks contractions. How wonderful that you are already 3 cm dilated and you haven’t felt a thing. Most women have annoying persistent pressure and pains in the last weeks of pregnancy. I have no idea when your labor will start. ~birthing blessings to you, Guinever

138. tracey - January 2, 2008

Hello, I just wanted to report back and say thanks again! My comment is “12. traceyhoyng – October 27, 2007”. I gave birth to my son 5 days later on November 2, 2007 🙂

I do think that all the prelabour I experienced helped me dilate. I had irregular contractions constantly for 3 days before I gave birth – stayed home the whole time and by the time I got to the hospital I was 4cm’s! The labour itself was ‘long’ as I went in at 6am, was still 4cm’s at 5pm and didn’t have him until 10pm – but I wouldn’t change a thing. Thank you again for your wealth of information and advice for all of us here. It’s a comfort to be aided by a positive voice 🙂

CONGRATULATIONS, Tracey, on the birth of your baby. Thanks for coming back to the website to let everyone know how it went. ~blessings, Guinever

139. denielle - January 2, 2008

So sorry I meant 29 weeks and 4 days. OOps!

Denielle, well that IS a different story, isn’t it? Like I said in my last answer, some women can be dilated for many weeks. I hope that you are one of them. Sometimes, women have contractions and dilate a little, then nothing happens for a few weeks. Then they dilate a little more. With your history, you may be looking at another early baby. Getting to 34 weeks is ok, 35 is good, 36 or more is better. Take it easy. Stay hydrated. Eat very healthy for your baby–lots of protein everyday with whole grains, veggies, fruits, etc. ~birthing blessings, Guinever

140. denielle - January 2, 2008

Hi there,
Im currently 39 weeks and 4 days pregnant. Been having lots of cramping and dr. did a check and says I am 2cm dialated but still posterier. The baby’s head is down. This is my 3rd pregnancy I delivered at 34 and 35 weeks with my last two. This is also my second baby in less then a year, my son is only 10 months old. If Im starting to dialate and having cramps this early is pre term unavoidable?

Dear Denielle, at 39 plus weeks, you are NOT pre-term. Furthermore, women can be dilated for many days or weeks before labor starts. ~Guinever

141. Ann - December 30, 2007

I am 39 weeks pregnant. This is my third child. I am scheduled for an induction tomorrow evening (new years!) The reason for the induction is that my last two kids were close to 10#, and this one is measuring larger than normal, plus I was borderline diabetic. My doctor told me she can induce overnight for a Jan 1, 2008 birth, or do the faster method (which would take about 3 hours). Last Saturday I was 3cm dialated.
Which induction method would you recommend? My second child was induced overnight and came out just fine.

Dear Ann, you haven’t given me any details about the induction methods or drugs involved so I can’t really make a judgment call.

If you go in the evening, usually a cervical ripening agent is used overnight and then a pitocin drip is started in the morning. At 3cm dilated, your cervix is already plenty ripe and you probably don’t need that. Putting a timeline on labor is a little iffy because there are so many variables involved in labor and you shouldn’t feel led to believe that it will only take 3 hours and then feel like a failure if it takes longer. Sometimes labor just takes a long time because of baby’s position or because of mom’s emotional state.

Using the words “the faster method” makes me wonder if cytotec will be used. This drug is not approved for use in labor and the package insert by the manufacturer says NOT to use for labor. Cytotec is a drug used to treat and prevent stomach ulcers. It is one of the drugs used for abortions. Some doctors like to use it for labor because it is cheap and very effective at producing contractions that will soften and dilate the cervix. It is so effective that uterine rupture or embolism is a great risk (not a small risk). Some babies and women have died with the use of the drug. Some women have had to have emergency hysterectomies.

~birthing blessings, Guinever

142. catalina - December 29, 2007


i am 39 weeks…this past Friday my Doctor said i was 3 cm and 90% effaced….she also said i would probably have him before my next “week” appt…does this mean i will DEF have him within a week? i had a no stress test done but in the @0 minutes of the test there was no recording of contractions…so im confused….please help…

thank you

Dear Catalina, no one can accurately predict when you will have your baby. You could have your baby this week, but just as likely it might be the following week. Some women walk around dilated for many weeks. ~Guinever

143. Jenny Ortiz - December 27, 2007

Hi, I am 38 weeks today with my 3rd girl. I went to the drs. and he said I am 2 cent dilated and its still back. What does that mean? second of all I never broke my water for my 1st, just had back labor,went in than I was 3 in a half cent. open had her in less than 3 hours. For my second was induced and they broke my water again than had my 2nd in 3 hours. With this being the 3rd do I have a chance to go fast again? I’ve had brix contractions since 6 months. How would I know when my water breaks or I loose the mucus plug? Please help me! Sorry for all the questions!

Dear Jenny, being 2 cm dilated just means that your cervix has begun to open. Still being back means that the cervix hasn’t come down yet (something that will happen before or during labor). You could go fast again, but I wouldn’t worry about the water or the mucous. Water doesn’t always break before labor or at the beginning. You would probably know if it happened because your clothes would be wet. The plug usually breaks away gradually at the end of pregnancy and you would have increased mucous. (or it might come out whole). Just relax and enjoy the rest of your pregnancy. Soon, you will have a baby in your arms. ~Guinever

144. nicole - December 21, 2007

my first ultrasound says am due the 13 of January the second one said I am due the 20. I am not feeling any contractions as yet. Will i go into labor anytime soon ,this is my first child. My baby is very active she moves up and down very often will i have her easy?

Dear Nicole, I have no idea when you will have your baby except that it will be sometime in the next few weeks. I can’t possibly predict how your labor will be. Believe in your ability to birth your baby. Prepare for birth and relax. ~birthing blessings, Guinever

145. Lee - December 21, 2007

Hi i am 37 wks pregnant and woke up with what felt like extremely bad period cramps and i went to see my dr today and he checked me and said my cervix was open. And i have a lot of pressure in my lower back. And it feels like i have 2 have a bm i have been feeling like this since 4am any suggestions would greatly help thank you

Dear Lee, it sounds like you could be in early labor. Have you noticed that the “cramps” come and go at intervals? If yes, you’re having contractions. When they get to less than 5 minutes apart and are at least a minute long and are pretty intense, that’s the time to head to the hospital. ~blessings, Guinever

146. Rhonda - December 20, 2007

I’m 39 weeks and 5 days pregnant. Went to my doctor on the 19th Dec and was told after an internal that my cervix isn’t ripe yet. Bub is due Sunday 23rd. My bub was measured about 3 weeks ago through ultrasound as weighing 7.7pounds. My doctor says if I don’t induce a couple or so days after my due date, bub could be well over 10 pounds if I wait for things to happen naturally. Meaning I could need c-section by then. I have since increased my sexual activities with my hubby to help ripen the cervix. I’m wondering if it would definitely help us go into labour at least before end of next week, or would I still need to be induced by my doctor?

Dear Rhonda, relax! You will have your baby soon and you don’t need to get induced. Don’t be afraid of a big baby. Ultrasound is not accurate at predicting weight. Please read the article, can my baby be too big for my pelvis? for more information. ~blessings, Guinever

147. Soni - December 20, 2007

Hi there!! I am 6 days overdue and still not dilated. According to a sonogram today, I’m having small contractions. Due to the length of pregnancy, I am to be induced in 4 days. Is it possible to have the cervix dilated enough to avoid induction within these 4 days? I rather have contractions and go into labor naturally, then induction. I have been walking, tried spicy food but doesn’t seem to be helping. Any Tips Please??

Dear Soni, of course its possible for you to go into labor on your own! Walking and eating spicy foods are good. Other things you could try are sex, nipple stimulation, and pregnancy massage. Go to a professional or the uterine point is 3-4 fingers above your bone on the inside of your ankle. If you feel around, you’ll know when you are on it because it will be really tender to the touch. Another pressure point is on the roof of your mouth. You can either suck or thumb or a dumdum lollilop. Some people have success with taking castor oil. Just google it for amounts and recipes.

~hope this helps, Guinever

148. Kyla - December 17, 2007

I am going in my 36 week. I haven’t had a normal pregnancy due to having contractions since I was 30 weeks. I was put on bed rest. I go to my doctor tomorrow but as of Friday I lost my mucus plug and was dilated 1 cm and effaced 50%. How long will it be until I have the baby? Do you think he will be here before Christmas? When I went to my doctor Thursday I was 1 cm and 25% in one day I was 50%. What does this mean?

Dear Kyla, I have no idea when you’re going to have your baby. Could be any day in the next 5-6 weeks. Seriously, you could walk around a centimeter or more dilated for several weeks. Your cervix is softening and shortening–that’s what the percentages are referring to. ~blessings, Guinever

149. krishna - December 14, 2007

i am on 37 week of pregnancy dr suggest me to do internal check up but my body is non-cooperative .she also told that the head is not fixed ….what to do ? can i get normal labour …….

Dear Krishna, relax! You have nothing to worry about. Your body is doing what it is supposed to be doing. Don’t let anyone put you on their timeframe! You will have your baby when you and your baby are ready. You are only 37 weeks along. Of course you can have a normal labor. Do not think otherwise! Your body is growing this baby and your body will birth this baby! ~blessings, Guinever

150. coley - December 12, 2007

I am 38 weeks 5 days and went to the doctors yesterday. She said that I was dilated to a 3 and 75% thinned. I also tested positive to the Group B Strep so I will need Antibiotics during delivery. She said that I could have the baby any day now. I have been having contractions off and on since my appointment yesterday and wanted to know when I should head to the hospital. I don’t want to chance getting my baby sick because of the Group B Strep. What do you suggest?

Dear Coley, I think that you should wait until you are in active labor before going to the hospital. Nothing prolongs labor like going to the hospital too soon. ~Guinever

151. ML - December 12, 2007

I’m 24 weeks 1 day pregnant. I had my internal examination and the dr said that my cervix length 2.9cm ,so if cervix is dilated 3cm then i need stitch. How can I stop soften/ dilate of cervix . This is my first pregnancy. I’m afraid. can u help me…thanks.

You are giving me 2 different measurements. Dilation is different than length. If your cervix is 2.9cm long, that’s probably pretty good. Dilation is completely different and you are not on your way to being 3cm dilated based on what you said here.

Why are you getting an internal exam done this early in your pregnancy? Were you experiencing pressure, pain or bleeding or was there another medical reason for the exam? Just trying to reassure you. ~Guinever

152. shernel - December 7, 2007

i am thirty six weeks moving on thirty seven weeks pregnant this week and been reading about the different contractions i havent felt any i have a very active baby and was wondering when its time to deliver would the baby itself will have me deliver faster

I’m not sure what you’re asking me here. Please submit question again. I think you’ve omitted an important word. I think you might be asking if you’ll have a quicker delivery because you have an active baby~Guinever

153. newfie girl - December 7, 2007

for the last 2 days now i have been losing a lot of big blobs of greenish color mucus i am guessing,i don’t know for sure this is my 3 child but never had this with the first 2.i have been having mild contractions come and go but nothing to serious yet. i went to the doctor last night but they told me my cervix was soft and it was effaced and they could fell the top of the baby’s head….just wondering could this baby soon be ready to come.i am 39 weeks today.

Does your doctor know that you are having greenish mucous? A green tint can indicate infection. I don’t know when you’ll have your baby except to say soon–sometime in the next couple of weeks. ~blessings, Guinever

154. tana - December 6, 2007

I went to the doctor today and he said I’m “almost” 2 cm dilated, I’m 32 (almost 33) weeks and he said I’m soft and he could feel the Baby’s head and then he said I would probably end up pre-term… Why would he tell me this? To worry me or just to prepare me?

Dear Tana, I’m so sorry that you doctor told you this. Do not listen to those words. Think positively. Think about carrying your baby inside you for a couple more months. You can be dilated for many, many weeks before labor begins. There really is no reason to be checked this early unless there is a problem like bleeding or pain other than Braxton Hicks. If it were me, I would not get any more cervical checks until labor. ~blessings, Guinever

155. TARA - December 6, 2007

hi 37 weeks pregnant and haven’t gone through my internal checkup, my doctor told me that she is going to do my internal check up next week.is it fine?

Dear Tara, it’s perfectly fine that you haven’t been checked yet. In fact, some women don’t get checked at all. You have to ask yourself what you will do with the information…knowing what your cervix is doing is no indicator of when you will have your baby.

156. Laura Flores - December 6, 2007

I’m 34 weeks and 4 days pregnant. I feel very anxious and I have walked the warehouse at work like 10 times already. I felt a little cramp but most of all I feel pressure. My cervix bone hurts when I walk. For the past 4 days I have cleaned the mucous off everytime I go to the bathroom. This is my third child… My first was born at 38 weeks and 19 hr. labor and my second at 36 weeks and one hour labor. Both natural. What should I do??? I called my doctor and told him what I was feeling and he just said to come in tomorrow… but I feel like I’m dilating. Should I wait or should I have myself checked to see how far I have dilated?

Dear Laura, Just wait until your appointment. If this is the real thing, you will know soon and then you can go to the hospital when you’re in labor. ~birthing blessings, Guinever

157. Pinky - December 5, 2007

Today I m 36 week 2day pregnant. Yesterday I had my internal examination and the dr said that my cervix is still closed, he couldn’t feel the head. Then he did my ultrasound to check the position of the baby (if the baby is not breech) and he found head is down (thankfully) but still quite up. Is it normal? What can I do to encourage cervix to soften/ dilate. This is my second pregnancy and m first one was a c-section. I m afraid that this would end up being the same. can u help me…thanks

Dear Pinky, The best thing is to believe that you can birth vaginally. Think about your cervix softening and preparing for labor and birth. It is totally normal for you cervix to still be closed at only 36 weeks along. Walk, relax, have sex. These things encourage softening of the cervix. It sounds like your baby hasn’t dropped yet. That’s fine; it’s still early. ~blessings, Guinever

158. Tami - November 28, 2007

I am 37 weeks exactly and went to the doctor 2 days ago at 36w 5d. I was 3 cm dilated and 75% effaced. The week before I was 1 cen. dilated. This is my 3rd pregnancy. I have high blood pressure and they think I may have pre-eclampsia and are continuously checking my urines and blood. I have been having contractions and menstral cramping with back pain for weeks now. Should I be induced by now because my pressures are getting worse and I have been on Aldemine for weeks now 500mg 3X’s a day and it’s getting unmanageable. The doc’s have set and induction date for 38 weeks which is Dec. 10th. But I’d rather go on my own. What should I do? Is it harmful to keep letting me go on with the blood pressures getting bad again or should I have been induced by now? My pressure are 150’s over 100’s. With medicine. Please help I am ready to be done with this whole pregnancy thing.

Tami, please refer to the blue ribbon baby website for information about pre-eclampsia. ~blessings, Guinever

159. Kendra Beck - November 28, 2007

I just went to the dr. I am 36 weeks and 4 days. The dr is planning to induce me 12/11 (week 38). She just told me that i am dilated to a ‘4’ and she hopes i can make it… Does the rupture of the membranes normally happen around a certain dilation? Last monday i wasn’t even dilated at all and this week already a 4… Just wondering what my chances are of making it to the 11th.

Dear Kendra, my husband laughed and said it sounds like someone has a cabin reserved in the mountains when I read him about your doctor planning to induce you at 38 weeks. Is there a reason for the induction? Why not wait and just go into labor on your own? You ask what the chances are of making it to the 11th for the induction. I don’t know except to say that you could go into labor at any time. ~Guinever

160. Natalie - November 28, 2007

When do you know when you’re in labor? I’m asking because I thought that when you’re dilated you’re actually in labor, am I wrong? My bag hasn’t broken, but the MD did say they felt the baby’s head. I am in early labor. I just thought about what I’ve read and to answer your question, I am in labor. I have been having contractions, just not real stronger ones and haven’t lost my plug. As a matter of fact, I was wondering if I missed it somehow. How will I know if I lost my plug or not?

Natalie, don’t worry about your plug. You can lose it all at once or you can lost it gradually (as more discharge than usual) over a period of a few days. Just because you are having contractions doesn’t necessarily mean that you are in actual labor yet. Women often experience many bouts of pre-labor for several weeks before the real thing hits. You will know when you are in labor. As labor progresses, the contractions get longer, stronger and closer together. Once you’re in active labor, the contractions will be intense, really intense. You’ll have no doubt that you’re in labor. Relax and enjoy the rest of your pregnancy whether it’s a few hours or a few days. ~blessings, Guinever

161. Fayza - November 27, 2007

i am 35 wks and 3 days, and my doctor did my internal cervix exam for the first time and told me “i am in trouble” because my cervix is totally closed and this could lead me to a c-section. Can i still get my cervix to be active by next weeks appointment ? What are the thing that can help me ?

Fayza, oh dear!!! Do not listen to your doctor. You need to be with a caregiver who believes in a woman’s ability to give birth. It is way way too early to be predicting a cesarean section and in my opinion, the word should never even be mentioned during pregnancy or labor until absolutely necessary which would be in rare circumstances (NOT the 30% rate in the United States). This doctor is obviously a surgeon first and foremost. You don’t need someone who is talking about cutting you open so early in pregnancy. You do not need to get another vaginal exam next week. Usually it isn’t even offered until at least 36 weeks along and many caregivers don’t do one until much later (unless of course there is an indication to do one).

It is normal that your cervix is totally closed at this point in your pregnancy. It’s still early. Relax. Trust in your ability to birth your baby vaginally. Dismiss negative thoughts. If it were me, I would never ever go to that doctor again and I would tell him why. There is power in positive thinking and likewise, there is power in negative thinking. If you don’t think your cervix will open and you fill your mind with thoughts that your body can’t do it and you’re just going to have a surgical birth, it WILL happen. BUT on the other hand, if you fill your mind with birth images and you imagine your birth how you want it to happen, that CAN happen.

Explore my website. Read birth stories and be inspired to birth vaginally and naturally.

birthing blessings, Guinever

162. Natalie - November 27, 2007

I went to the hospital just yesterday morning and am 37 weeks, 1 day pregnant with my first. I was checked about 4 times and they told me that my cervix was 2 centimeters dilated. My question is how much longer(possibly) does it normally take to become in active labor? Doesn’t active labor means 4 centimeters at least?

Natalie, you’re right that “active labor” is considered 4 centimeters. If you’re in labor now, it will be a few hours, but it if you’re not in labor it could be days or many weeks. ~Guinever

163. Ela - November 27, 2007

Hi Guinever,
It’s Tuesday night and I am 41 weeks. I saw my doctor today, she checked my cervix and said that it was as closed as it can be. She booked me in for induction on Sunday, saying that she doesn’t expect any changes by then but because I want to wait she’s willing to do that. I went for acupuncture yesterday and today hoping that this can speed things up but nothing as yet. I haven’t felt any contractions, not even Braxton Hicks during the pregnancy. Do you think that the acupuncture will help to dilate the cervix before Sunday or should I just prepare myself mentally for the induction on Sunday and a very very long labour that will most likely end up with a c-section?

Ela, do not mentally prepare yourself for a c-section. Be positive! Mentally prepare yourself for the kind of birth that you want. Think positive. Imagine your cervix softening and opening. You can and will birth your baby!

Is your cervix softened at all????? If not, have sex. A lot of women have success with using evening primrose capsules for softening the cervix. Ask your midwife for dosage and instructions (or find on internet.) ~Guinever

164. Cassie - November 21, 2007

I am 35 wks and 2 days, and my doctor told me that i was 1cm dilated and 75% effaced, and i have a hotspot on my uterus. could you tell me what this means?

Dear Cassie, it sounds like your cervix is starting to soften and dilate a little bit. This is a good thing preparing you for birth. As far as the hotspot goes, I have never heard that term as it relates to pregnancy. Please ask your doctor what he means by that. I don’t even want to speculate. ~blessings, Guinever

165. Kiki - November 19, 2007

I am 39 weeks, one “good” centimeter dilated and 75% effaced. My doctor has scheduled an induction for next week, Monday. What is the rush? According to an ultrasound I had last week, the amniotic fluid is fine, the baby isn’t too big. I simply feel frustrated that we might be forcing baby to arrive before she is ready.

Kiki, you should ask your doctor why he wants to induce. As long as you are ok and baby is ok, there is no reason to induce and it can actually be harmful. Half of all inductions on first time moms lead to cesarean section because the body just isn’t ready to give birth. You can refuse the induction. The reason doctors like to induce is because they can plan when you have your baby and not be called in the middle of the night. ~Guinever

166. monalisa - November 16, 2007

my doctor said my cervix is dilated 3 cm and 80% soft.. what does it mean how much time will it take for my baby.. right now i am 38 weeks 4 days pregnant this is my second pregnancy

You will find the answers to your questions in my other articles on cervical dilation. (See links above at the end of the post) I have no idea when you will have your baby–except it will be sometime in the next 3 weeks. ~Guinever

167. louise - November 16, 2007

my daughter 36 wks now has been in and out of hospital with contractions she is now 3cm dilated and has had all the mucus away what they call a show it stopped 24 hours ago and doctor says baby will be here shortly but how shortly i thought baby would arrive within the next few hours after you had a show.

Dear Louise, I was a little unclear as to whether or not your daughter is in labor yet. Losing the mucous plug and having bloody show does not necessarily mean that you’re in labor or that you’re about to start labor. It can be either of those things but labor could also be days and even weeks away. ~blessings, Guinever

168. Rena - November 13, 2007

My sis-in-law is 39 weeks. She had a viral infection last week and is recovering from the cough& cold. Her doctor has suggested that she be admitted tomorrow. Her BP was 140/100. He tried to dilate her externally which caused some spotting. Is this ok? He has also suggested that they will artificially induce pains. If this doesn’t work then they would go in for a cesarean. Please advise if this is correct.

Rena, the spotting is normal and ok. I hope the induction works. You don’t want to mess with high blood pressure and allow the pregnancy to go on. But sometimes, the drugs used for induction can raise the blood pressure more and put the baby into disress. Also, if she’s scared or worried, that might raise her bp and if this is the case, if she can relax, it will lower. ~Guinever

169. Ashleigh - November 8, 2007

I am exactly 37 weeks. I had an exam the other day and my doctor told me that I was 3 centimeters dilated however I NEVER even feel Braxton Hicks contractions is this normal?

Ashleigh, it is possible to have contractions and not be aware of them. When you’re in labor, though, you will definitely be able to feel them. ~Guinever

170. Nicole Gonzalez - November 1, 2007

hi, i am 39 weeks and 4 days and i have not started to dilate or even start to really thin out at all, i have had 3 contractions in the past 4 weeks, I have been walking over a mile a day 3 to 4 times a week, I have very little discharge and when it is there it is just clear and shiny, I am just wondering is there anything i can do to kind of jump start this oh and this is my second baby and i was dilated three cm from week 37 on with her and i lost my plug a week before going into labor, but i also stopped dilating, i got to 4 and then i just stopped, they had even broke my water, they had me prepped for a c-section and then like 22 hours after making it to 4 i was at 10 and then she came after 34 minutes of pushing, i am just a little worried because i thought your body got ready quicker the second time around, Please any advice would be great,

Nicole, it is possible that you’re having contractions that you can’t feel. Each pregnancy is different. You’re right that a woman’s body usually gets ready for labor sooner in 2nd pregnancies, but there are exceptions to every rule.

Having sex is very beneficial at the end of pregnancy because prostaglandins in semen soften the cervix, and oxytocin, one of the hormones involved in labor, is released. ~Guinever

171. traceyhoyng - October 27, 2007

I’m 39 weeks and 2 days along currently. I’ve been having more than uncomfortable Braxton Hicks and period cramps everyday, constantly for the past 4-5 weeks. I haven’t been given an internal examination yet (as part of procedure at my hospital) but do you think all this ‘pre-labour’ is helping my cervix ripen and helping me dilate? They won’t check me unless necessary, so I’ve just been putting up with it until bub gets here. I’m very curious though! I’m attempting a natural, drug free birth so I’m hoping all this ‘discomfort’ means less work during the actual labour.

Tracey, yes, I definitely think that your pre-labor is helping your cervix to ripen and dilate and the more you do now during pregnancy, the less you’ll have to do during labor. ~blessings, Guinever

172. Maria - October 24, 2007

I’m 31.5 weeks pregnant with twins, I am 30% effaced and this is my 2nd pregnancy. My son was born at 35.5 weeks. 4 weeks ago the twins weighed at 3lbs and 2.8lbs. Should I expect them soon and are they going to weigh enough if they are early.

Maria, I have no idea when your twins will be born. I hope that you’ll remain pregnant for many more weeks. It is possible to carry twins close to full-term and this would be ideal. How much your babies will weigh at birth isn’t as much of a concern as their brain and lung development. Also, please note that predicting weight with ultrasound is not accurate. The best thing you can do for your babies right now is to eat an excellent diet. ~Guinever

173. Bridget - October 21, 2007

I’m 39 weeks and 5 days. I’m was dilated to 2cm 5 days ago. My doctor however has not told me how thinned out I was, but I did lose my mucus plug I think, I had a lot of “show” for almost 2 days and then it just stopped. I had an ultrasound done 2 days ago because they found sugar in my urine, so they wanted to see how big the baby was. My ultrasound guy said that she was at 64% and the average was 50% and she was already 8lbs 4oz. My dr. said that she wasn’t worried though..if she lets me go too long, can that be harmful to me or the baby because she is so big? & also, how do you know if your having back labor, because I’ve been having a ton of back pain that goes from my lower back to the middle of my back and sometimes around to my sides. Thank you!

Ultrasound is not accurate for determining the size of a baby. I wouldn’t worry about the size. Your body can grow a baby just the right size for you to birth and then you’ll be able to meet all your baby’s needs with your milk. Yes, it sounds like you’re having contractions that you can feel in your back. Soon, you will have your little one in your arms. ~blessings, Guinever

174. Ashley - October 19, 2007

I am 36 Weeks and 2 days pregnant….very tired and cant wait for this to be over. Is there anything i can do to occupy myself until the baby comes? Also I have had some sharp pains around my hip area….any idea what these are? Also i have had some menstrual like cramping at random times…could this mean i am getting pretty close?

Dear Ashley, ask your doctor about the sharp pains. The cramping is normal and it is probably contractions. It is possible to have contractions before real labor starts. Be patient; you will meet your baby soon. ~Guinever

175. Catherine - October 19, 2007

I’m 41 weeks and started pre-labor at 39 weeks. Most days the waves (contractions) are really full on, regular, close together for several hours on end, then I go to bed and they basically stop. I’ve worked so hard for a natural birth and now my midwife is talking induction; ugh! I wish that pre-labor was addressed more, as I wasn’t emotionally prepared for this.

Dear Catherine, I know that the last week or two of pregnancy (especially if you goes past that magic estimated due date) can be rough emotionally. Why don’t you read Ina May’s guide to Childbirth. It’s so inspirational and can get you in the right frame of mind for birth. ~birthing blessings, Guinever

176. Rashequa Boynton - October 18, 2007

I am 33 weeks almost 34, I walk a lot and I went to the hospital the other night and he told me that my external cervix is open, but my internal cervix isn’t but its real thin he told he to just go to school and work and go home to rest when they tell you that what does it mean?

Rashequa, I’m sorry, but I don’t know the answer to your question and I couldn’t find the answer either. I have never heard the cervix described as having an external and internal part as it relates to dilation. You are starting to efface since he said you’re starting to thin. ~Guinever

177. Lisa - October 11, 2007

Does Walking really help you to dialate? I’m almost 38weeks, and I’m still at 1cm, but 80% effaced, station +1. My feet hurt so much to walk around, but if it will help me dialate I will, but I just wanted to know if there is really truth to it??

Lisa, yes, walking helps your body get ready for birth. When you’re upright, the baby’s head puts more pressure on the cervix. Walking also helps the baby move down into position in your pelvix. ~Guinever

178. christine - October 3, 2007

i am one week over due … my cervix is soft and 2 cm thin .. i am 0 cm dilated … how long will it take for me to dilated ? could it be any time ? i keep on having contractions too… two nights ago i had them every 6 minutes apart for 6 hours then it just stop! how much longer do u think i have to go ?

Christine, like I tell everyone, I have no idea when you will have your baby! It could be any day in the next couple weeks.~Guinever

179. Shawna - October 2, 2007

I am 38 weeks pregnant and was scheduled for an induction this Friday (right on 39 weeks.) The doctor performed an internal exam today and said that my cervix is not ripe and that he didn’t feel that I was ready to be induced (so we have cancelled it for now.) He said that he could fit a fingertip into my cervix but that it wasn’t very soft. I was just wondering how long on average it takes your cervix to ripen or ready for labor? My first son was born at 37 weeks due to my water breaking and so this waiting is killing me!!

Dear Shawna, patience. There is no average time it takes for effacement and dilation. Why did you have an induction scheduled for 39 weeks anyway? Do you have an underlying medical problem that it would be harmful for you to wait for labor to start on its own? ~Guinever

180. amy - October 2, 2007

i’m due in a week and i am 50% effaced and 3 centimeters dilated about how long? I’m very tired and miserable. just want to know how long now and when to go in

Dear Amy, I don’t have the answer to your question. Please read my articles on dilation and you’ll see that there is no set timetable for dilation. It could be any day for you in the next 3 weeks or so. You should wait to go to the hospital until you feel more comfortable being in the hospital than at home. Your doctor usually gives you guidelines–contractions at least a minute long, and perhaps 4-5 minutes apart. ~Guinever

181. sara - September 20, 2007

I am 39 weeks pregnant, and I’m still not dilated at all! my cervix is not even ripe yet? Does that mean my baby will come late?

Dear Sara, It does not necessarily mean that your baby will come late. It just means that you have a lot of pre-labor yet to do and/or a relatively long early labor in order to get to 4-5 centimeters dilated before active, harder labor kicks in. You might want to start doing things that encourage dilation. ~blessings, Guinever

182. Jennifer Cole - September 13, 2007

This article was very helpful. I am 36 weeks pregnant with my second child (a girl) and was just told by my doctor that I am 1 and 1/2 centimeters dialated and 75% effaced. I was happy to know that my cervix is soft, given what you say in the article about it being easier to dialate once in true labor. I had an emergency c-section with my first..he was huge. But since my daughter is so small, I am trying the natural route. Thanks for a good read.

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