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cervical dilation 101: frequently asked questions March 11, 2007

Posted by guinever in birth, labor, pregnancy.

What is the cervix? The cervix is the bottom part or neck of the uterus. The cervix opens during labor so the baby may pass through the womb into the birth canal and be born.

What is effacement? Effacement is the thinning and softening of the cervix which is measured in percentages. Usually the cervix is long, hard, and closed, and at this point the effacement would be at 0%. Towards the end of pregnancy, Braxton Hicks contractions occur (sometimes you aren’t aware that you’re having contractions) which start this effacement process. Once the cervix starts to efface, then it can start to dilate too. As effacement continues, the cervix softens, becomes mushy, and then slippery. When fully effaced at 100%, the cervix has virtually disappeared against the baby’s head.

What is dilation? Dilation is the opening up of the cervix and is measured in centimeters. A fingertip dilated means about 1 centimeter dilated. Full dilation is 10 centimeters. Once full dilation occurs, the cervix is completely gone and over the baby’s head, and the mother may push the baby out to be born.

What causes the cervix to change? The uterus is a muscle that contracts or tightens. During a contraction, the baby’s head (or other presenting part), pushes down on your cervix, causing it to dilate and efface.

Why does backward dilation sometimes happen and is it normal? First of all, yes it’s normal and is not something to be worried about. Backwards dilation can occur if the baby’s head isn’t pressing as hard on your cervix as it once was. If your labor slows down and you’re not having any contractions, the cervix can close up a little. Don’t worry, once contractions pick up, you’ll soon be dilating again. A change in dilation can occur when someone new is checking your cervix. One nurse’s five cm dilated, 85% effaced may be another nurse’s six cm dilated, 80% effaced.

Feel free to ask a question and then check back later for an answer, but please don’t ask me when I think you are going to have your baby. You will find additional clarification of when your labor may start by reading my other two articles on dilation linked below. I repeat do not ask me when I think you might go into labor. Don’t ask me things because I have no idea.  Thanks for your consideration.   What does being 2 centimeters dilated mean?

How long does it take the cervix to dilate 5 centimeters?
For more articles about pregnancy and birth, please refer to my welcome page.


1. TIsha White - April 22, 2009

I am 39 week’s pregnant and 3 day’s with my second child.With my first child I had third degree tear’s and some hemoriging.So last week when I went for my scheduled apt. the doctor said my baby is measuring at 8lbs and 14oz and that I had a little to much fluid so they want to put me in today to start cervidil because I am only at 1 and 50%.Should I allow it or wait on natural Labor?

Another reason for there wanting to try cervidil is my baby just went head down last week (38 week’s)and with two much fluid they are afraid he may turn back causing me to have to do a ceseran section.

Dear Tisha, if you have “too much fluid” like your doctor says and your baby can easily turn back to breech by himself, then the doctor can easily do an external version and turn your baby back to the optimal head down position. So in my opinion, that is not a reason to induce today without more information.

Also, did he give you an actual number on the fluid? Fluid levels vary greatly and maybe where they measured there was a big pocket of fluid by baby. Have you been measuring big all along? Do you have protein in your urine or do you have high blood pressure? Did you have lots to drink before your ultrasound and hadn’t gone to the bathroom in awhile? I’m just throwing these things out to think about and get to the reason behind the too much fluid diagnosis.

The main thing you have to be cautious of with extra fluid is cord prolapse. So if your water breaks and your baby’s head is not firmly engaged, then the cord could slip out. (so if this were to happen, get to the hospital right away if you’re not there.) Similarly, if the doctor breaks your water and the head is not engaged yet, then you could also have cord prolapse, caused by the doctor breaking the water. This is just something to be mindful of if your baby hasn’t dropped yet. If your baby is engaged or dropped, then what I’ve said doesn’t apply to you.

Third degree tearing would be from the doctor not adequately supporting the perineum and baby’s head and not telling you to stop pushing so the perineum can stretch slowly in the moments before birth.

A question to ask your doctor would be, what would happen if we didn’t induce today? Is there a real medical indication to induce labor today–will my health or the health of my baby be compromised if we chose to wait a few more days?
~blessings, Guinever

2. Jane - April 18, 2009

Responding to your response =o) Yeah, I was induced at 37 weeks due to Cholestasis. The only way to truly cure cholestasis is by delivery of the placenta. 90% of women have cholestasis with consecutive pregnancies, and I guess I have been one of the lucky 10%

guinever - April 18, 2009

One more thing Shelly.

About the midwives. Just cancel your appointment with the doctor and re-schedule with the midwife of your choice. Talk to her about VBAC. If they have a policy that midwives just can’t do them, then maybe you’ll have to remain with the doctor. But if the midwives can do VBAC, just emphasize that you have had 2 vaginal births previously, so you have a proven pelvis. You plan to to have another vaginal birth and you’d like a midwife attended birth.

3. Shelly - April 18, 2009

Hello Guinever,
I am 38 and a half weeks pregnant on my fifth child. You would think I would have this down, but I have had some difficulty. My first child vaginal, second C-sec due to CPD, third C-sec due to CPD, forth child VBAC and this one I have insisted on a VBAC. All my births have been without pain meds. My last birth I waited at home four a 2.5 hours then drove 45minutes to the hospital to have him 10 minutes after arrival. I really am afraid of the hospital. My body works fine when it is left alone, but at the hospital they are always “swarming with a distressed look on their faces!” I have requested a Mid-wife this time, but my doctor says even the Midwifes might not feel comfortable with the “risks” of my case. The only issues I have is 2 C-sections after pushing for 2 hours, otherwise I have a bill of health. I received an ultrasound two days ago to find out my baby is in the 85% and is considered “too Big” and will likely be another C-section, but I refused an elective C section. Any advice for this mom who feels all-alone with no support from medical?
Best Wishes,

Dear Shelly, you have had 2 vaginal births. Concentrate on that. Do not let any one tell you that your baby is too big to birth. It’s usually a farce. So many women get diagnosed with CPD and have surgery only to go on to birth a bigger baby the next time.

Make this birth a repeat of last time. Stay home as long as possible (which isn’t very long it sounds like) before going to the hospital. It sounds like your issues in the past have been with 2nd stage. Evaluate your previous pushing stages that resulted in c-section. Did you try different positions? Hopefully, this baby will just slip out easily without much effort on your part, but if he/she doesn’t and flashbacks of your 2nd and 3rd deliveries come to mind, just try to take one contraction at a time, try to relax between contractions, and if one position doesn’t work, try another..

One thing that is common in hospitals is to encourage pushing when a woman is fully dilated but she doesn’t have the urge to push yet. Don’t do this. Wait for that urge to push. Let the baby come down on his/her own. You may have pushed previously for 2 hours, but was your baby and body ready yet for pushing? If the traditional on your back, pull your knees to your chest doesn’t work, get upright. Use the squat bar if they have one. Get on your knees. Get in a supported squat. Stand up.

Shelly, be confident in your body’s ability to birth your baby. I know you can do this! Let me know how your birthing goes. ~blessings, Guinever

4. Jane - April 17, 2009

I am very close to 36 weeks according to ultrasound, measuring 36 weeks with the doctor. Saturday I was checked at L&D due to irregular contractions and measured barely a fingertip with little effacement. Today, I had a regular appointment with my doctor and measured 2cm and 50% effaced. This is also my second pregnancy. With my first pregnancy I was 1cm 75% at 36ish weeks, and 3cm 75% when induced at 37 weeks. I have been having irregular contractions all day since my appointment. Some of them were so rough I had to stop what I was saying and sit down. I guess what my question would be is, if I was quick to dilate and efface with my last pregnancy, if it’s possible for me to be quick this time as well? My mother in law has me freaked out thinking that since I dilated/effaced so quickly, I will go into the beginning stages of labor.

Jane, I’m not sure why you would have been induced at only 37 weeks. Was there a medical indication for that? As far as going into the beginning stages of labor this time, that would be a great thing! Don’t be freaked out by it. ~birthing blessings, Guinever

5. Kathrine - April 14, 2009

I’m about to start my 39th week, and have had a very easy pregnancy. I went to the doctor this morning and was told that I am about 1cm dilated still (from 2 weeks ago) and 80% effaced. Is it normal to efface before you dilate or should I be worried that I’m not dilating? My due date is April 25th and the doctor said if I didn’t start progressing soon they would like to induce labor. I would really like to avoid this.

Kathrine, Before you start dilating, you need to start effacing so you’re ok! You are in a very optimal position being 80% effaced. ~blessings, Guinever

6. Allie - April 10, 2009

hi, im 36 weeks and 4 days pregnant and this is my third baby. my ob said that i was 4 cenitmeters dialeted. im having some slight contractions but more than that it feels like there is some pressure on my lungs and my side. should i be worried? and do u think ill be in labor soon?

Allie, if you’re worried about that pressure on your lungs, why don’t you ask your doc’s office about it. Most likely, the pressure is just from carrying the baby high.
~blessings, Guinever

7. Caroline - April 10, 2009

Thank you! i appreciate the advice it really helps cut back the worry that anything is wrong. This pregnancy has been much more difficult than the first one with many different symptoms and i didnt want to worry that something might have been wrong.

8. Caroline - April 10, 2009

first and foremost i want to say i love your advice, so i thought that i would give asking you a question a try since my mother cannot give me an answer. She can answer most questions with having 7 children. Anyway i went to the doctor yesterday and Im about to be in my 39th week. The doctor said that i was dialated a “good” one cm but didnt say if i was effaced or not. She is expecting me to have the baby before next thursday. Well last night, i had horrible back pain and was up every hour with drenching sweat and urinating alot. What worries me the most was the drenching sweat with the back pain….what could be the cause of that? Is it just hormones?

Caroline, evaluate your situation. Do you have a fever? If yes, that would explain the sweating and you should contact your doctor in case you have an infection. Urinating a lot could indicate an UTI. If not, I’d just chalk it up to hormones.

How often are you having this horrible back pain? Does it come and go? If yes, this would indicate contractions. Urinating a lot could be baby putting increased pressure on your bladder.

Please note that some women feel their contractions only in their back…~blessings, Guinever

9. Kate - April 9, 2009

I just had my 24 week appointment with my MD yesterday (complete with cervical check due to a LEEP done 4 years ago). My MD said that my cervix was “fingertip dilated” but still long. She didn’t seem overly concerned about it even after I told her about our vacation plans (which include flying and lots of walking for a week). This is my first pregnancy, so needless to say, I’m freaking out about it. I haven’t had any cramping or pressure or noticed any change in discharge (other than some light spotting after my exam). Is this something I should be worrying about?

Kate, I think you should follow your doctor and just relax! If you feel pressure down there or cramping, get checked out just to make sure you haven’t progressed. If you find yourself having some pressure or tightening while walking, you may need to alter your plans and take it easy. ~blessings, Guinever

10. Shelley - April 7, 2009

Do you have any recommendations for a VBAC after 3.5 months of bedrest? I was put on bedrest at 22 weeks for a 1.4 cm cervix via transvaginal ultrasound and a very ‘soft’ cervix by external examination. No contractions and no dilation. But by 27 weeks, funneling was observed to about halfway (0.6 cm funnel + 0.8 cervix) which appears to have stabilized as of 29 weeks. At 31 weeks, still no contractions, no dilation, but still a very, very soft cervix. Previous (first) pregnancy resulted in C-section because a footling breech. But this baby is head down and ready to go!

Shelley, I’m not sure what you’re asking me. If you’re only 31 weeks along, you’ll want to hopefully carry this pregnancy another seven weeks. Good that baby is head down and ready to go. ~blessings, Guinever

11. Sheila - April 3, 2009

Hello- I am 26 weeks pregnant with twins. When I went to see my high risk ob 4 weeks ago he said that I was effaced at 32% two weeks later when I went back I was effaced at 26% and having some contractions which I could not feel. He instantly said I needed to be on bed rest (which I was not happy about) so I went to my regular OB and she said I could keep working. However, since the high risk OB was so instant and made it sound like I would go into preterm labor if I didn’t stop working right now…I surcummed and went on bed rest. I don’t know if I made the right decision or not. Can effacement go backwards and perhaps I will be able to return to work?

Sheila, Instead of full bedrest, perhaps you could take to your doctor about cutting back on your activities and maybe resting part time. ~blessings, Guinever

12. jamie - March 31, 2009

I am 37 weeks and 4 days pregnant. I am having lots of brownish discharge, what are these brownish discharge? I also did maternity acupressure a week ago ( I purchased the book online ) but didn’t go into labor and so I guess it didn’t help me. I walked a lot for the past 2 days and I just felt litte contactions. I am 1 cm dilated according to my OB and my cervix is ripe already. I know I sound as if I want to have my baby very soon because honestly I really want to go into labor anytime but doesn’t want to be induced for I felt the horrible pain on my 1st pregnancy. I want to hold my baby as soon as possible for after a month I am going back to work for I work abroad. it is sad but I need to work for my babies.

Jamie, The accupressure points aren’t going to work if the baby isn’t ready to come. You’re still a few weeks away from your due date. You can keep doing them, keep walking and above all relax! Prepare mentally for labor and birth. ~blessings, Guinever

13. bannetty - March 13, 2009

hi, im 36 weeks pregnant, my due date is april 9, 2009, i went to see my doc on march 10th, he told me i was 2cm dilated, since that i’ve been having a lot of pain on the upper part of my puvic bone it doesnt go away, and my whole back is killing me, i cant sleep its very uncomfortable and when i walk i feel somenthing sharp is touching me inside my vagina. oh another thing is that i’ve been having contraction since i was 26 weeks pregnant but they don’t hurt i just feel a lot of pressure. my question is, do you think im in labor,what do you think its happening ? please help!!!

Pain that doesn’t go away doesn’t sound like labor. Contractions ebb and flow, come in waves. There should be time in between your “pains” if they are contractions. I think it sounds like you could benefit from seeing a chiropractor. ~hope you find relief soon! Guinever

14. Ambrielle - March 13, 2009

I am 36 weeks and 5 days. I went to the doctor a week ago and was 75% effaced and my sons head was in my cervix. I have been walking a lot and swinging on swings im in a lot of pain so im trying to hurry things up. How long until ill be 100% effaced and dilating?
*i have sharp pains that feel like im getting a shot in my vagina and i am having a few contraction feelings everyday and very loose bowels as well. and my vaginal discharge is getting clear…

Ambrielle, it sounds like you could have your baby soon. I can’t really predict when, though. No one can. What you are experiencing are all pre-cursors to labor starting…~blessings, Guinever

15. courtney - March 12, 2009

i am 37 weeks pregnant. they stopped my labor 3 times from 34-35 weeks. the baby has fully dropped and engaged i am about 3 cm and 65% effaced. they told me now i can start walking and that my water sack has dropped all the way? what exactly does that mean. does it mean since it has dropped if i keep walking the baby will push down enough to break my water or what??? this is also my second child…i have very fast labor when i hit 4-5 cm i am gone ill have a baby within like an hour and half….

Courtney, you can’t really predict how long your labor will be or when it will start. I’m not really sure what your doc means when he says your sack has dropped all the way. All the way to where? Perhaps they mean that your baby is engaged in your pelvis. Your water could break at anytime before or during your labor, but don’t worry about walking causing the water to break. ~blessings, Guinever

16. Georgia - March 8, 2009

Dear Guinever,

Thank you so much for your lovely website! I found it a few days ago and have been pouring over it ever since.

I am 38 weeks along and have been dilated to two and effaced eighty percent with the baby’s head “very low” for two weeks. When my Dr. checked me at 36 weeks, she told me I would most likely not make it to my due date (March 19) because of this. My question is what would cause her to say this, as I have seen you mention many times that women dilated to two, etc. could even exceed their due dates?

She also told me (as I am extremely uncomfortable with back pain, downward pressure) that she would be willing to induce me at 39 weeks. I was not induced with my first, and not thrilled at the prospect of trying it. I would much rather go naturally. I am wondering how I can be sure that my baby is safe (not postdate) and healthy if I wait much past my due date without being induced.

Thank you!

Georgia, I don’t really know why doctors say the things that they do. It’s possible that you won’t make it to your due date, but you could go over. Please realize that a due date is just an estimate and is not some magic number that your baby must be born by in order to be healthy. (There are healthy 42 week babies and unhealthy 39 week babies.)
The best thing to do is just wait for labor to start on its own, all the while being very aware of your baby’s movements and health. If there is reason to induce, then by all means, induce.
Getting in hands and knees positions, leaning over a ball or furniture, propping yourself with pillows can all help to alleviate back pain. ~blessings, Guinever

17. Erin - March 3, 2009

I am 23 weeks pregnant and dilated 1cm. I have not had any bleeding or contractions that I’ve felt. Should I be concerned?

(Background info: This is my 3rd child, but my 2nd baby in less than a year. Baby #2 is 8 months old and I am almost 6 months pregnant with baby #3. I have heard that having pregnancies back to back like that can cause premature babies. I had my last child at 37 weeks. And I am concerned that this one may end up being premature.)

Dear Erin, I can sure understand your concern and how you may be worried about carrying your baby to term. My question for you is why are you getting a vaginal check at only 23 weeks along when you are not have any bleeding or contractions?

Being 1 cm dilated this early with a third pregnancy is nothing to be concerned about and is not a promise that you will go pre-maturely. Getting checked can cause worry. *If* you start feeling downward pressure in your cervix, back pain, cramping, then by all means get checked and keep an eye on things. But otherwise, have a healthy, worry-free pregnancy. Stress and worry can actually cause contractions so please try to relax about it. ~blessings and peace, Guinever

18. SGC - March 1, 2009

Hi, I am 38 weeks pregnant, I went to the doctor a few days ago and was told that I am 2 cm dilated and 50% effaced. For the past week I get sudden pains like my hips are going to break apart, and alot of pressure pains it my vagina and butt , that it is almost impossible to walk sometimes. Im just wondering if you think this means im close to going into labor?

Stephanie, yes, it sounds like you’re getting closer and closer to the start of labor. ~birthing blessings, Guinever

19. Brenda - February 9, 2009

Hi, Great Site!

I am 37.5 weeks pregnant today with my 3 child. 1st was 12 years ago (natural birth), 2nd was 2 years ago (C-Section) I have opted to have this one by VBAC. I’ve had 3 seperate mucus discharge which started 7 days ago, the first was a bloody discharge but the last one which happened 2 days ago was lots more and brown. I’ve been having constant BH contractions and my midwife examined me last week and said I was 1dm dilated. I am feeling constant presure down my pelvic. My next appointment is in 2 weeks time – do you think I should see my midwife this week also.?

Dear Brenda, everything sounds normal to me. I think the only reason to see your midwife before your next scheduled appointment would be if you were to go into labor or if any problems developed. ~blessings, Guinever

20. Jenni - February 3, 2009

Hi…I’m 27 weeks with twin boys and I’ve been having contractions since 24 weeks. They checked me at 25 weeks at the Hospital and I was high and hard (cervix) Yesterday I had some bright red bleeding followed by brown mucous all day today. I’m not sure where my cervix is, but everything just feels really soft and low.I’m still having many contractions daily, but nothing with any real pattern. I called my Dr. who said bleeding was normal and didn’t mean anything and if I thought I was in labor to go to the hospital. I don’t see him again for 2 weeks and I haven’t see anyone except the nurse at the hospital for 6 weeks. I don’t think I’m in labor, but I haven’t had sex and don’t think I should be in bleeding. Is bleeding normal this late in pregnancy?

Jenni, it sounds like you’re really in tune with your body with what’s going on. I think you’re right that there is no reasonable explanation for this latest bleeding. (meaning you haven’t had intercourse or a vaginal exam.) So to be on the safe side, if it were me, I would go get checked out. Bleeding is different than a little bit of spotting or blood tinged mucous. I hope everything is perfect with your pregnancy. ~blessings, Guinever

21. Amie - January 21, 2009

Hello! I am 32 weeks and 3 days pregnant with my second child. I had my first son at 36 weeks and 6 days. The past couple of days, I have been having contractions that literally cause tears. They aren’t close together, but I can feel a sharp tearing pain high up in my vagina during these contractions. I have also had an increase in vaginal discharge and VERY loose bowels. This is strange for me because I am usually a bit constipated if anything. Does this sound like im getting ready for labor?
Thanks so much for this site! It is great!!!

Amie, everything that you have described sounds like labor is very close.
~birthing blessings, Guinever

22. Michele - January 19, 2009


I am 12 weeks pregnant w/ my 5th child. I have had a lot of pressure and contractions. I am dilated to 2.5 centimeters for one week. I am living overseas and don’t have high confidence in the Dr. as questions are not really welcomed. Could this be sign I will miscarry? I had an ultra sound done at 10 weeks and a heart beat was seen….at that time I was barely 1 centimeter dilated. I am 42 years old also. Thanks, for any help.

Dear Michele, I don’t think that being 2 cm dilated with your fifth baby is any cause for immediate concern. (It would be if this were your first.) With that said, it could be a sign that you’re miscarrying but it also could just be nothing.
~blessings, Guinever

23. Nicola - December 13, 2008

what a wonderful site! I can’t tell you the pleasure reading all the stories and the useful information i have extracted.

Many thanks and long may the site continue

I am 33 weeks today with my first child and feel completely clueless, have pressure, pulsating feeling in vagina, lots of kicks and flutters….prob all completely normal. I try not to worry unnecesarily about every little thing


24. Christina - November 22, 2008

Hi, I think your site is very informative and interesting. Is it possible to go into actual labor without feeling any kind of pains, except the tightening of the belly or occasional twinges in my belly button. I went to L&D today and they told me I was 2 cm dilated and that it will be a while until I go into labor. If I continue having these belly tightenings will this continue to help me dilate? If so, how many cm do I have to be to go to the hospital?? By the way I am 39 weeks and 3days. The reason I ask if it’s possible not to have any pain is because my mom never had any pains with any of my sisters or brother (4 kids) She said she didn’t feel any contractions when she was pregnant with me. SHe only felt “bubblegut” pains. I know every woman is different, but is there a possiblity I could be the same way ( non-painful contractions????Thnks

It’s always possible that you could be like your mom and not really feel your contractions but I wouldn’t count on it. The contractions that you feel at 2 cm are very different than active labor contractions. It’s ideal not to get to the hospital until you’re in active labor but everyone is different and sometimes there’s reason to be there sooner.
~blessings, Guinever

25. tabbi - November 19, 2008

hi there..i had a doctors appointment today..they told me i am 1 centimeter dilated and 50 % effaced and that she could feel the tip of the baby’s head..do you think you can tell how long it will take for me to deliver..i am 36 weeks and 2 days..this is my second baby.with my 6 yr old son i was induced 6 days early due to preeclampsia..i am showing all the signs of it again..slight contractions already lost my mucous plug..i was in labor with my 6 yr old for only 4 1/2 hours..help me.

Tabbi, no I can’t tell you when you’re going to have your baby. Could be anytime in the next 5-6 weeks. Seriously! You could walk around slightly dilated, carrying your baby low for many weeks or you could have your baby today. ~blessings, Guinever

26. hailey06 - November 5, 2008

I am 37 weeks and two days and i went to the dr today and he told me I am at one cm.and -3, cervix is soft and posterior, but baby was in position!! They stopped my labor four days ago but now that i am 37 weeks now he won’t stop it but my question is what does all this mean do you think it will be a while or soon!! Is there anything i could do to push things along??

Hailey, it sounds like you’re miserable and ready to not be pregnant anymore. I know that feeling well. I encourage you to be patient, try to take it easy and enjoy these last few days or weeks of your pregnancy. Take lots of long walks and warm baths. Soon enough, you will have your baby in your arms. ~blessings, Guinever

27. ciara - November 3, 2008


im really looking advice on whether i can help myself, im now only three days past my due date which isnt bothering me (baby no 1 went two weeks over weighed in at 9lb 1, however the whole experience ended in a horrific induction and im really not keen to redue that) Can you offer any advice or tips on how i can shift this cervix, i had a sweep today but the midwife said my cervix was too high and far back, she did manage the sweep but maintained this little baby wasnt coming out anytime soon and certainly wasnt gonna make a speedy exit

Ciara, walking and having sex would be beneficial for you at this point. ~blessings, Guinever

28. Heidi - November 1, 2008


I’m 32 weeks pregnant with my second child and last night I woke up around 3 am with some period like cramps. They were strong enough to bring me out of my dream. They weren’t regular, but I did have them off and on, sometimes a few minutes apart, sometimes a half hour apart, until the next afternoon.

I am wondering if this is prodromal labor and if I should just take it easy and not worry. I know some women can have weeks-long experiences of prodromal labor with very little cervical change, etc. That would be fine! I love giving birth and the pain is exciting, so I’m not worried about weeks of that. But I am worried about preterm labor. What do you think?


Heidi, my first question for you would be are you eating and drinking enough? Dehydration can cause contractions. Also, stress or over-exertion can cause contractions. I’d probably have a cervical check at my next appointment just to see what’s going on. It’s not unusual to have a day of contractions followed by weeks of nothing…. only time will tell. ~blessings, Guinever

29. Krissy - October 29, 2008

Guinever–I am now 10 days past my due date, 2 cm dilated, and this morning I lost quite a bit of clear/yellow mucus. The baby is still posterior (but I keep doing the excercises in hopes of turning him), and is measuring 9 lbs 10 oz. I am a very small person, and my doctor said that his large measurements may mean a higher chance of cesarean. I am still hoping for a drug free birth, but with the posterior position and such a large baby, I am starting to get very nervous. Am I looking at a cesarean, or is there still reason to hope for the birth I was hoping for? Can a first time mom deliver a 10 lb posterior baby without drugs, or am I crazy to even keep my hopes up? Also, I know you can’t tell me if I will go into labor on my own, but does it sound like I will? I have been having lots of braxton hicks (and some in my back). Thank you for any response.

Krissy, YES YES YES, a first time mom can deliver a 10 lb posterior baby without drugs. You are definitely NOT looking at cesarean! Be confident in your ability to give birth no matter how big your baby is. You can do it. When pushing, get off your tailbone because it can actually move out of the way, allowing for more space. Also, ultrasound is not always accurate for determining the weight of the baby.

Do lots of hands and knees position to help turn baby. Make wide circles with your hips. Once your baby turns, your labor will probably quickly start OR if the baby doesn’t turn, your labor will be a little longer as the baby works on turning or just maybe you’ll give birth to your baby “sunny side up.” It’s possible.

Krissy, please don’t give up. Put the word cesarean out of your mind. Is surgery a possibility? Sure, it is. But if you dwell on it and are scared that you can’t birth vaginally, then chances are you will not be able to do it. Watch the videos on my website and be inspired. Don’t let your doctor or nurses tell you and make you believe that you can’t do it.

I just took my kids to a birthday part the other night and ran into a mom who I had done a little childbirth class with. She had her first two with drugs and then this third she wanted to try natural. Her baby was 10 pounds, 11 ounces and she did it without drugs. Yes, it was her third, but that doesn’t matter. She was thrilled that she could birth without the epidural and couldn’t believe her baby was almost 11 pounds.

hope this helps! birthing blessings, Guinever
remember, patience during labor. PATIENCE!

30. Clara - October 29, 2008

im 36 weeks pregnant and tried to check my own cervix and i reached back as FAR as i could (i do know what to feel for) and i cant reach it!!! i know if i push hard enough i can feel her head but no cervix that i could feel…everything is so soft and squishy up there now…does that mean i have effaced???

It is possible that the “soft and squishy” that you felt was your cervix. It is also possible that you just never found your cervix. It is at times difficult for another person to reach the cervix because it could be behind the baby’s head and/or facing towards your spine. So you may be effaced you may just not have found your cervix. ~blessings, Guinever

31. Amanda Hamil - October 26, 2008

Hi First baby and second pregnancy.
my name is amanda and i am 34 weeks prego today for the past few days i have been having bad cramping pains and take my breathe away pressure. I was amitted in the hospital at 31 wks because i passed out at a job interview and when i got to the hospital i was having contraction and i wasnt even feeling them. They checked me and i was 50% effaced and fingertip uestion was what is up with the bad cramping and pressure and and how possible is it that i may go in to labor early. i dont think that i lost my musous plug yet. also the baby was at station -1. Please help!

Dear Amanda, the pressure and cramping you are feeling are contractions. Contractions can occur if you’re dehydrated or hungry. So make sure you get plenty of fluid. It’s very possible but not guaranteed that you could have your baby early. Only time will tell. ~blessings, Guinever

32. Krissy - October 25, 2008

I am a week past my due date, with my first baby. I was told this week that he is posterior, or face up. I am only a centimeter dilated, cervix is soft and close, and the midwife stripped my membranes yesterday. I am worried that he will not turn before I go into labor. Do you have any advice for getting him to move into a better laboring position BEFORE labor begins? I have been trying to do the knee chest position, but it is very uncomfortable. Any other methods that you know of? I am willing to try anything.

Krissy, lots of hands and knees position. Do wide circles with your hips–belly dancing but not so quick. I’ve know this to work for several ladies. ~birthing blessings, Guinever

33. Cathleen - October 19, 2008

I am 38 weeks and my dr has decided to induce due to high blood pressure and gestational diabetes. They say my baby is about 7lb 11 oz and healthy, but my concern is that my Dr has not done an internal exam since the beginning. If I go to get induced and my cervix is not ripe this could possibly take a while and she has told me since this is my second child it will only take about 7 hours. Can they tell by any other method if the cervix is ripe, like an ulrasound?

A normal ultrasound (as opposed to a vaginal one that is usually done in early pregnancy) doesn’t usually show if the cervix is ripe or not. Also, I would put a labor number out of your head. It is possible that it could only be 7 hours but it is just as likely that it could be a lot longer especially if your cervix isn’t ripe for labor. Please give yourself as much time to labor as needed as long as you and the baby are doing ok. Don’t let the doctor do a cesarean for failure to progress if it takes longer than seven hours (or even a lot more!) Just a little personal story here–a friend of mine just had her 3rd baby and it was 15 hours, her first two were half that time. So each labor is different. ~blessings, Guinever

34. Jasmin - October 19, 2008

I am 36 weeks pregnant and I was told I may have a yeast infection by a nurse over the telephone. My next appointment is on Tuesday, she told me Friday I should take over the counter Monistat over the weekend before I come in for my appt. I am dialated 1and a 1/2 centimeters. Is that safe for the baby?

Jasmin, your baby is still protected in the bag of waters and the monistat won’t reach the baby. Doctors recommend treating a yeast infection all the time. ~blessings, Guinever

35. Dayle Dedman Frazier - October 16, 2008

i hope you can help. I am 38 weeks preg now. 2 weeks ago my ob told me that i was 30% and .5 cm. I have been having pains (cramp like pains) in my lower abdomin for the past week. Today when i went to my appointment she told me that my cervix is about 1.5 in long and thick. she had to push really hard to even reach the head. Why am i going the wrong way. How can I speed up effacement and dilation? This is my 2nd child. Please Help

Dayle, You’re not going backwards! This is just what a cervix is like before it effaces. Relax. You’re cervix will start to soften and dilate.

36. Megan - October 16, 2008

Hi! I am almost 31 weeks along and the baby dropped a week ago. I went today and she said that I am starting to thin out. I have been having contractions for the last two weeks as well. He just put me on bedrest and might put me on some kind of medication to slow the contractions down. Am I likely to have the baby early since these are all signs of labor?

Megan, only time will tell when you have your baby. Some women contract throughout pregnancy and go full-term. Others do go into labor early. ~blessings, Guinever

37. Gem - October 15, 2008

Hi Guinever,
Thank you for a brilliant website.
This morning I lost about an egg cup full of clear stringy discharge (like snot) followed by a large amount of yellow discharge. Was this a show? Does it mean that I will go into labour soon? (I am 40 weeks today). The baby’s head is down and I have crampy feelings in my lower stomach and back but nothing regular.

Dem it sounds like you might have lost your mucous plug. It was definitely a “show.” This doesn’t guarantee that you will go into labor right away, but it means that your cervix is opening enough for the mucous to break loose. The cramps and aches in your back sound like early labor to me. But it could also stop and not start up again for a few days.
~birthing blessings, Guinever

38. Kate - October 13, 2008

hi, my name is Katie and my best friend has been in labor for about 20 hours now and she is only 4 cm dialated and very discouraged. She is having the baby naturally in a birthing center. Is there anything she could do to help her dialate quicker?

Just take one contraction at a time. Keep on keeping on. Don’t be discouraged. Breathe deeply. Take the time in between contractions to breathe slowly and prepare for the next contraction. Slowly inhale, slowly exhale. Change positions. Try getting in the water–either tub or shower. Water can be soooo relaxing. Walking may help. Also try pressure points that stimulate the uterus–at the roof of the mouth (suck on thumb or dumdum lollipop), or 2-3 fingers up on the ankle. Just find the sore spot and rub and press on the spot and then stop when a contractions starts. Nipple stimulation (manually or with a breast pump) can also encourage labor.
~birthing blessings, Guinever

39. Eboni - October 12, 2008

I am 26 weeks pregnant. I was also admitted to the hospital due cervical shorting 17mm. They were able to stop my contractions with meds does this mean i might have my baby early.

Dear Eboni, You could go early, but are just as likely to go full-term. Try to relax and have a healthy pregnancy! ~blessings, Guinever

40. Leslie - October 5, 2008

Hi Guinever,

Great website! Here’s my story…I’m 38 1/2 weeks pregnant, 4 cm (at least) with my third and have a bulging sac of waters. Baby’s head is extremely low…the midwife said she has to reach around it to find the cerivix. I’ve been having prodromal labor with this one and am miserable at night trying to sleep due to some very intense contractions. Had one trip to the hospital already with very regular cxs that just weren’t strong enough. I’ve been told for two weeks now that labor will happen “any time” now, but I’m getting desperate due to lack of sleep and the incredible pelvic pain and pressure. With all of this going on, in your experience, could this last for weeks yet???

Dear Leslie, I’m sorry that your last couple weeks of pregnancy have been miserable. I would say what everyone else is saying…could be any day. And that’s any day in the next 3 weeks. Have you tried hands and knees positions to help alleviate the pelvic pain and pressure? How about walking, nice relaxing baths, sex and homepathic/herbs to get labor going? You’re only 38 1/2 weeks. Patience. ~blessings, Guinever

41. emily - October 5, 2008

hi.. i dont know if this is stupid question but i just wanna know if its possible that your water bag breaks while you’re sleeping?

Dear Emily, not a stupid question at all. And yes, your water can break while you are sleeping. ~blessings, Guinever

42. Tracy - September 23, 2008

I am 27 weeks pregnant. I was admitted into the hospital due to having contractions. They were able to stop the contractions by giving me three shots. However, when my doc checked me, I was already 1 cm dialated. Does this put me at risk for preterm labor?
I was released the same day and have a follow up with my OB in a couple of days.

Tracy, being 1cm dilated doesn’t put you at risk for pre-term labor. Many women walk around for weeks a little bit dilated. ~blessings, Guinever

43. Meghan - September 12, 2008

I am 33 weeks pregnant. My baby is head down and i have been feeling pressure lately. At the begining of the week, what I think was part of my mucous plug came out… it was about the size of a quarter and was like thick clear snot like. Is that ok? Also this whole pregnancy i have really felt pretty good and all of a sudden my body just feels drained and tired…is this a sign that my body is trying to tell me something or is it normal to just all of a sudden feel bad. I was checked by my doctor today and he said i was 25% effaced and 1 centimeter dialated. Is this all happening to early and why is it already happening? if i stay up on my feet will i continue to dialate…im just really concerned that i am going to have him soon..what do you think?

Thanks for your help!

Dear Meghan, I think you should listen to your body. If you’re feeling drained and tired, then get some extra rest. Growing a baby takes a lot of energy! It’s normal and ok to dilate a little at 33 weeks. BUT it wouldn’t be ideal if you went into labor this early. Again, take it easy. You’ll probably see and feel a change. ~blessings, Guinever

44. Bonnie Consalvez - September 6, 2008

Dear Guinever,

I am 38 weeks pregnant, my baby is face down and I have not dilated.

This is my first pregnancy and I am not walking anywhere near as what I use to because my legs have begun to feel so heavy and tired these days and my feet also swell up quicker. My husbabnd and I have had sex maybe 5 times throughout my pregnancy because it was sooo very uncomfortable for me having any type of pressure on my pelvic bone.

Today I will do almost anything to help my body go into labor <:

Am I too late into my pregnancy to affect speeding up the process of going into labor by walking more and to start having sex on a regular basis with my husband???

Thank you very much!!!!!!!

Bonnie, now would be a great time to have sex to help soften your cervix. Try a different position if its too painful. Taking shorter walks followed by putting your feet might help with the swelling. ~blessings, Guinever

45. Brianna - September 5, 2008

Just wanted to give you an update, I had the membrane sweep on a Friday and didn’t go into labor until almost a week later, 3 days past my due date. I had a healthy 7lb. baby boy. I was dialted to a 9 1/2 but his shoulder was twisted in the birth canal so after 18 hours of labor I had a C-section. Thanks again for your helpful advise.

Dear Brianna, thanks for the update and congratulations on the birth of your baby. ~blessings, Guinever

46. Meg - September 4, 2008

Hi! I am 40 weeks along and was told today that I am 2 to 3 cm dilated. The OB did the sweeping thing (can’t remember exactly what it’s called) and said that it might just give me cramps or send me into labour. I went for a walk with my mom when I got back and had contractions. I just started getting a 20 minute pattern when they stopped. I’ve had a couple more after but they didn’t fit into that pattern. Is there anything else I can do to help labour along? I have been sitting on a birthing ball for about an hour and walking made me really uncomfortable. I plan on going again later this afternoon but I was hoping that there might be something else I can do in the meantime. I am starting to get really uncomfortable and anxious so any safe idea is appreciated. Thanks!

Dear Meg, sweeping the membranes might send you into labor but it usually takes a couple of days of persistent contractions before active labor kicks in. Be patient and try to rest up for labor to start. Keep walking, take a nice long bath =) ~blessings, Guinever

47. shiobhain - September 4, 2008

hi im 37+6 weeks pregnant with second child have a c section wih first son as he was brech i had my show 4 weeks ago and been hving pains for the last two at first they was hours apart then yesterday they was 20 min apart i went to the hospital and they gav me an internal and said i was 1 cm with a soft spongey cerfix but they sent me home and said to come back if my waters break or my pain are 5 min apart they have been every 12 mins regular since i had enternal and i am unable to walk through them do you think that i could have dilated more??? and do you think that the contractions will get more regular soon ?? is here any think i can do to help get it moving ?? i am finding it really hard to cope with the pain please help me with some good advise i would be very greatfull

Dear Shiobhain, I think you definitely could be dilated more. Not being able to walk through the contractions is a good sign that you are in labor. Just keep at it. Your labor pattern will continue and your contractions will get closer together. Enjoy the breaks in between. You’ll have your baby in your arms soon enough. ~birthing blessings, Guinever

48. yari - September 3, 2008

i am 36 weeks, 2Cm dilated; but my OB told me that my cervix was tilted to the left what does that means

Dear Yari, it means exactly what your doctor said. Your cervix is opened to 2 centimeters and its tilting a little bit to the left. The cervix migrates. If you were to be checked again, the cervix would probably be in a different place. If you put your fists under hips, your cervix can roll forward, making it easier to check. Tilting left is nothing to be concerned about. ~blessings, Guinever

49. kali zadok - August 29, 2008

hi, i am at the end of my 24th week. this is my 2nd pregnancy and i had no issues with my first. i did have a miscarriage 2 months before i conceived again with this one so maybe there is some correlation. i’ve been cramping around my pelvic area for the past month with a great deal of pressure which makes it very difficult to walk. i also have some cramping around lower belly too. i had a visit with my midwife yesterday and told her my concerns. when she did a vaginal exam she said that i was a little under 1cm dilated, and my cervix was forward and somewhat thin but there shouldnt be anything to worry about. of course it made my worries worse not better. she gave me herbs for cramping release and for cervix closure but somehow i feel worse physically today even though i have not done much and have not picked up my toddler. is there cause to worry. is it early to be dilated and thinned cervix? do i need to cease moving completely to make it better? thanks

Dear Kali, I think you should spend some time on your knees and then lean over a bunch of pillows. Just try to get as comfortable as you can in this position. This takes the weight of the baby off your cervix and can also alleviate back pain. I would try to do it once during the day and then for as long as you can at bedtime before falling asleep. ~blessings, Guinever

50. Michelle P - August 24, 2008

I feel almost silly asking this as this will be my 5th birth. In reading your response to Brianna, I am now curious. With my 4th little one, he had dropped quite early and was causing a great deal of pain. I went to the hospital and a very mercifully nurse did a membrane sweep and told me to go home and have sex. I was 2 cms at the time. The next day I was having regular contractions and was up to a whole 3 cms dialated. Lucky for me she was on duty again and looking at my previous labours discovered my water always needs assistance so she broke my water and within 45 mins we welcomed our 4th child to our family. So on Thursday the 21st while at my weekly appointment I measured at 40 weeks and should be 37 so the Dr. did the famous membrane sweep (ultrasound is showing a good size little man) and I am feeling more like the description that you gave Brianna. The last few nights have been a little rough. Irregular contractions and now today after walking the 2 youngest a lot of pressure and that sharp shooting down pain. I am wondering is there a chance that the sweep did not work at all. Should I go to the hosptial to be checked or just try to rest. I have been taking 2 relaxing baths per day but wiht 4 children that range form 18 months- 13 years, it is a little hard to relax. Probably why my BP has gone from my normal 110/69 up to 153/85. I know he will be here soon just wondering if there is a chance the sweep will not work and if I should be doing anything else. Thank you so much for your time, Many Blessings

Dear Michelle, if your body is ready for labor, a membrane sweep can jumpstart your labor because “sweeping” the cervix releases hormones. Then you would have have light contractions for hours, a day, or days followed by active labor. If your body is not ready, you may have a few contractions, but real labor will not follow. So to answer your question about a membrane sweep not working, the answer is a possible yes.

With four other children, I think the best thing you can do, is have a day away from the kids if that is possible. If you’re worried about the care of your kids, then you won’t go into labor for this new baby. During the day, take one of those relaxing baths and just get into the mindset of labor. I had to do this with my 5th =) Let me know how it goes. ~blessings, Guinever

51. Brianna - August 20, 2008

I am 39 weeks and 2 days and in another 2 days I go in for an appointment with my midwife. I am currently 2 centimeters dialated and 50% effaced and the baby’s head is fully engaged. I have been having very mild contractions and my midwife told me that at my next appointment she would strip my membranes for me to help me along a little bit. Will this put me into labor right away? Or just help me go into labor? Could this possibly not work at all?

Dear Brianna, if you are ready to go into labor, stripping the membranes could help. However, let me just give you the heads up on what usually happens. Women often experience a day or two of light but persistent contractions before active labor starts. By the time real labor starts, a woman is very tired because she hasn’t slept in so long. ~blessings, Guinever

52. Sarah - August 19, 2008

I am 38 weeks pregnant and had my first dilation check, I was wondering if there is any way to ease the pain of being checked as my doctor is not very gentle. I know he has to reach pretty far because the baby is not down very far, but is there anything that I can do to make the exam less painful?

Dear Sarah, If you make fists and then put them under your hips, it can tip your cervix forward and it will be easier to reach during vaginal exams. ~blessings, Guinever

53. Lori - August 18, 2008

I am about 3 months pregnant with my first baby and have been reading widely on pregnancy, labor and delivery. I keep reading that every woman is different and will have a different length of labor, and different amounts of pain, etc.

One thing that confuses me, though, is that there seems to be an unwritten law that says EVERY woman MUST be dilated to 10cm. before she can start to push. This doesn’t make logical sense to me. I am tall (5’9.5″), and slender (125 lbs before pregnancy) and I can’t believe that my cervical dilation is going to behave exactly the same as an average or petite woman’s or someone who is heavier or larger framed.

Right now I am planning on just pushing when my body starts pushing on its own whether I want it to or not. I’ve read many women’s description of this experience, and it makes sense to me.

What does the medical literature say about variations in maximal cervical dilation? And when is the optimal time to start pushing?

Thank you,

Dear Lori, I’m unsure if you have a question here or whether you’re just cutting and pasting a Q and A from another website ( I have omitted the doc’s answer here). I’ll just say that it isn’t so much an exact 10 centimeters dilated that they’re checking, but they’re feeling around the baby’s head to make sure there isn’t any part of the cervix blocking the baby’s head. For some women, this would be a smaller measurement than for others, like you have noted.

I will add that women often have the urge to push before they are fully dilated. It’s ok to push a few times because sometimes the extra pressure from pushing allows the cervix to dilate completely. However, pushing before fully dilated for too long can cause the cervix to swell, thus making your cervix close up a bit. Also, as the doc pointed out, there is a slight chance of the cervix tearing.

All in all, it is best to birth naturally, change positions when you need to, and push when you have the urge to push. ~blessings, Guinever

54. Sheryl - August 18, 2008

What does the term fully engaged mean? I’m 40 weeks, 2 c dialted and 50% enfaced. I’ve lost my mucas plug, and had a bloody show.

Sheryl, fully engaged means that the baby’s presenting part (usually and hopefully the head) has come into the pelvis, is fixed in place and is no longer floating. This position of the baby is called station and once engaged, the station would be zero. As the baby descends, the station number is positive +1, +2, +3… Before engagement, the station is -1, -2, -3…
~blessings, Guinever

55. Melanie Massey - August 17, 2008

HEy, I will be adopting soon. The birthmom is 36 weeks and this will be her 5th child. She just called and is experiencing a burning sensation in the low part of her stomach and in her “bottom”. She was dilated on Wednesday to 2 cm. She has been really hurting all over and had significant swelling in her feet. She was put on bedrest on Thursday. Any suggestions? Thanks

Dear Melanie, congratulations on your upcoming arrival! It sounds like she’ll be going into labor soon. Time will tell. She should try to relax, maybe take a bath.
~blessings, Guinever

56. Brittny - August 17, 2008


Brittny, I really can’t predict when you’ll go into labor. Could be soon or not for another 4-6 weeks. Women can walk around dilated for many weeks before going into labor. Try to relax and enjoy the rest of your pregnancy. ~blessings, Guinever

57. Brianna - August 14, 2008

I am 38 weeks and 4 days along and just a couple weeks ago, I had blood in my urine. I went to the hospital and they informed me that I had a bladder infection. I was perscribed antibiotics, I finished them over a week ago and it went away. However just last night I urinated 3 times and once again, there was blood in my urine. Earlier in the day yesterday I was vaginally examed and the night before I had intercourse, could this be the possible cause? But when I went to the bathroom this morning, there was no more blood and then I passed my mucous plug. Then a couple hours later, I developed a slight headache, a little bit of nausea, some backache, and a bit of pressure. Did my infection come back? Why did I start bleeding again and then it suddenly stop? Is this a sign of labor starting soon?

Brianna, I’m not clear if you’re having blood in your urine or are just passing some bloody discharge because you are nearing the end of your pregnancy. Yes, having a vaginal exam or intercourse could cause some bleeding (but not blood in the urine). It’s probably best to call your medical caregivers if you’re not sure what’s going on.
~blessings, Guinever

58. tina - August 13, 2008

I Am 35 Wks 5 Days With My First Child. One Week Ago I Was Told I Was 3cms And 50per Effaced As Of Today I Am 70 Per Effaced And Neg. 1? Wat Does This Mean. Also I Have Been Having Heavier Contractions For A Few Days Along With Period Like Cramps. I Dont Know Wat Um Expect As This Is My First Pregnancy. Is It Likely My Baby Will Come Early? Is That Safe?

Tina, your baby could come early but at almost 36 weeks, the lungs and other organs are fully developed so your baby should be fine. Negative 1 means that the baby is still floating in your pelvis but is almost engaged (0 is engaged and then +1, +2, etc are the measurements as the baby descends). ~blessings, Guinever

59. Shanel - August 1, 2008

Thanks for the encouragement. Im glad to say that five days after entering my question, i went into labor. My husband and I tried sex to help things along, and i think it may have helped. Im glad i avoided using the eveing primose oil, and other outside resources to induce and now see why eveyone keeps saying to be patient. For those women who are having their first, i advise to enjoy your final days of being pregnant. When the real contractions came i wanted to wait till my due date, i really underestimated the PAIN. And now. all freedom is lost (at least for now that is). After labor, for a moment, i kinda missed being pregnant, and had to part with it. Please consider your baby’s health, cuz trying to self induce can cause complications in the natural process. Good luck to everyone!

Thanks for sharing, Shanel, and congratulations on the birth of your baby. ~ENJOY your baby, Guinever

60. Jen - July 28, 2008


Let me first say I love your blog. It’s such a breath of fresh air compared to all the junk out there right now.

I’m currently 38 1/2 weeks pregnant with my first child. I’ve been having braxton hicks since around 19 weeks, sometimes lots of them – but they never affected my cervix. At my 37 week appointment I was 1 cm, and at 38 weeks I was 3 cm and 50% effaced. Doc said there was bloody show, but I’ve yet to experience this at home other than the after effects of the exam.

My question – I’ve been feeling very crampy for the past few days, and had strong contractions 2-10 minutes apart yesterday afternoon and evening until around 10 pm when they died off. Like I said above, I still haven’t noticed any bloody show. Is it normal to be 3 cm (possibly more now with all the activity) and not have bloody show? Can I go into active labor without it?

Thank you so much!

Dear Jen, some women don’t notice any bloody show at all until late in labor. So you have nothing to worry about! ~blessings, Guinever

61. Krystal - July 9, 2008

Hi, Guinever. I have 4 days til my due date. I went to the ob-gyn yesterday and she checked my cervix. She told me I was 1 cm dilated. I have recently lost my mucus plug (it was a white lump in the toilet about the size of a quarter- I guess it was the mucus plug.) I have also been feeling like the baby is about to fall out and every day recently, I have been feeling a pulsing pain like period cramps on my cervix. extreme pressure on pelvis. This is my first baby and I am clueless about what to expect. my doc doesn’t tell me anything. They said if the baby is not here by the 15th, they are going to induce. Does it sound like I’m going into labor in a few days? Please reassure me. I was trying to have as little medical intervention as possible and induction isn’t nothing but medical intervention. Very anxious.

Krystal, I can’t promise you that you’ll have your baby before the 15th. But it definitely sounds like laobr is close with all the pressure that you have been experiencing.

You can always say no to induction!!! As long as you are doing great and baby is doing great, there is no medical reason to induce. Some babies just need more time in the womb. Blessings, Guinever

62. Shanel - July 4, 2008

Hello, May i start by saying that this is the most helpful site so far. Anywho, I am 39 weeks, when i saw an RN the other day she said my cervix was still in my throat, but didnt say if i was effaced or not. I was wondering of although im not dilated if it is possible for me to be ripe enough for early labor to begin soon? Ive been walking, eating spicy food, having sex, etc. Also my braxton contractions have become more frequent. I cant help but to keep thinking i could be going into labor any day now, even though this is my first baby.

Dear Shanel, glad that you find my website helpful. I hope you enjoy the last days of your pregnancy. Anything is possible as far as when your labor might start. It could be right away or not for a couple of weeks. –blessings, Guinever

63. Stephanie - July 4, 2008

I am 14 weeks pregnant with twins. I lost my first pregnancy at 22 weeks due to an incompetant cervix, or blood clotting issue, they can’t tell which one. I had gone into the hospital at 21 weeks effaced to 6 and fully dilated. I was supposed to have a cerclage placed at 13 weeks, but I had a huge blled at 11.6 weeks that I was still spotting brown blood for. They won’t do the cerclage if there is active bleeding. I am still spotting brown, stringy mucus, and my next appointment is in 3 days. What will we do if they won’t do the cerclage? Is there any hope for this pregnancy? What alternatives are there? Thanks,

Dear Stephanie, I’m sorry that you’re experiencing all this spotting. It must be very stressful for you. I’m not sure what they’ll do if they don’t do a cerclage. Please note that having a cerclage does not guarantee that you’ll carry your babies til term. Have they considered a hormonal problem? Sometimes, women take progesterone to help sustain a pregnancy, but that might be the most helpful during the first trimester. –blessings, Guinever

64. Kelly N. - July 3, 2008

I am 37 weeks and 4 days I can feel that the baby has dropped and people are saying they can see that too but when I went to the doc’s today he said he cant feel the cervix I guess it’s still high and I really like for the baby to come soon is this the starts or do you think the baby will be on time

Dear Kelly, I know it may seem strange, but it’s possible for your baby to have “dropped” but your cervix to still be high or posterior and hard for your doctor to reachy. I have no idea when your baby will come. –blessings, Guinever

65. Jenny - July 2, 2008

I have been having preterm labor contractions that haven’t dialated my cervix at all since 24wks. But because I have a history of early babies (36wks and 34wks) the Dr.’s are taking it seriously. Last Thurs. I was having strong contractions but didn’t want to go to L&D unless I thought they were doing something so I checked my own cervix. I have thick fingers and could easily put one finger into my cervix and touch the baby’s head. So I went to my Dr’s office first and she did an FFN test and then checked me and said I was soft and mushy but closed tight!? If I could fit one of my fat fingers in there, surly she could fit one of her petite ones. My FFN test came back positive so I was sent to L&D where the Dr. on call checked me as well and said the same thing. Cervix was closed. I don’t understand this whatsoever as this is my 4th baby and I certainly know what dilation and a baby’s head inside the amniotic sack feels like. I didn’t want them to know I had been checking myself so I didn’t say anything. But I’m still very confused.

Oh, and I was 31wks at the time.

I’m 32wks now and checked again last night and I’d say I was closer to 2cm. But I guarantee if I go to my Dr. she’ll say I’m still closed tight.

Not that I don’t want to be. I want to keep him baking for at least 4 more weeks. But it’s still confusing!

Jenny, I honestly don’t know what to tell you but I’m thinking that because both your doctor and the LDR nurse told you that your cervix wasn’t dilated, then maybe you aren’t dilating yet. Can you think of any reason why they would lie to you? Also, if you were in a different position, it could yield different dilation results. Were you squatting when you checked yourself or even lifting one leg up and out of the way? Because its only one centimeter, I wouldn’t worry about it.
blessings, Guinever

66. Tanya - July 1, 2008

I am 36 weeks along and my doc said I was 3 to 4 cm dilated and starting to thin out. She stated that she will see me at next weeks appointment. How long can this go on before I actually go into active labor? Is it safe to be dilated this much and not be in labor.? Does this mean I can also expect a quick labor/delivery once I do start to contract?

Tanya, you’re fine! Just relax and enjoy the rest of your pregnancy. You could go into labor anytime in the next month. Its perfectly safe to be dilated. Your labor will be quicker than if you hadn’t been 3-4 cm dilated, but how long your labor will be, you just won’t know until you’re in labor. (as an fyi, my last birth, I was 5cm before labor and then my labor was 5 hours long–most of that light contractions). ~birthing blessings, Guinever

67. Megan - June 28, 2008

Guinever, my doctor has never said that he is worried I have an incompetent cervix, but he has been seeing me once a week since my 19th week due to a shortened cervix. He has also been giving me shots of hydroxy-progesterone every week to help thicken my cervix as well as keep contractions from coming. My biggest worry at this point is that my cervix will continue to dilate due to the pressure from the baby’s head. What are the chances that my amniotic sac could possibly come through the opening of my cervix causing my water to break? Am I just being paranoid?

It’s understandable that you are paranoid since your doctor checks you every single week and he’s probably giving you plenty to worry about. I think you should take the time every day for some positive thinking. Instead of thinking of the bad things that could possible happen, why don’t you think about how your baby is growing and how your body will nourish and carry your baby to term. Although your water breaking pre-maturely could happen, it is unlikely. Your sac coming through your cervix wouldn’t necessarily cause the sac to break. A lot of women have “bulging” bags of water for weeks before going into labor. I have carried my children very low, very low! And my water has never broken before labor; it always breaks once I am fully dilated and pushing. Some women’s babies are even born in the amniotic sac. There has been research done that shows extra vitamin C helps to build a strong amniotic sac. Eating adequate protein also helps to make strong bags of water. So relax, get some extra vitamin C and eat lots of protein! ~

blessings, Guinever

68. Megan - June 27, 2008

I will be 29 weeks on Sunday. On Wednesday my doctor said I was dilated 1-2 cms and could feel the top of the baby’s head, she had me admitted for monitoring. I have had no contractions and no contractions were present while I was hooked to the monitors. I have been receiving bi-weekly ultrasounds due to a shortened cervix. I have been feeling much pressure the past couple of days and am wondering if it is likely that I am dilating more due to this pressure. What are the chances that my water could break soon and is there a possibility that my doctor would be willing to put a cerclage in place?

Megan, the pressure you’re feeling could be a sign that you’re dilating a little bit, but not necessarily. Also, I do not think that you would benefit from a cerclage at this point. A cerclage does not stop you from dilating. It can help in cases of incompetent cervix early in pregnancy. (you didn’t mention that this was your problem). For more information about cerclage, read this. ~blessings, Guinever

69. nikki - June 26, 2008

Hello, I was just wondering if this was normal. m 26 weeks, and 4 days preg, and 1 cm dialated, is this ok?

Nikki, you’re ok, but I’m sure your doctor will be monitoring your dilation to make sure you don’t progress much further than that for awhile. ~blessings, Guinever

70. S.Brown - June 21, 2008

I have a cousin that is dilated to 7 cm. She is having irregular contractions and she just lost her plug. She is pregnant with twins and we were wondering how long she can stay that way with no harm to the babies.

Everything is fine! You didn’t say anything about her membranes being ruptured. Being dilated won’t harm the babies. ~blessings, Guinever

71. olivia - June 18, 2008

june 19,2008 i am39 weeks and my mucus plug is broke because it is a lot of mucus coming out and i am 3cm.i just wanted to know if i will go in any time soon cuz i went to the hospital yesterday and they sent me home but i am having contractions and i have to go to the bathroom a lot meaning number one and two.they said that i am 50% effaced.this all started when my doctor strip my cevix and by doing that how much longer will it be before i go in.my due date is june22nd.can u give me any advice.

Olivia, it sounds like labor will start pretty soon for you. Try to stay home as long as possible–wait until you’re in active labor to go to the hospital again. ~blessings, Guinever

72. sarah - June 12, 2008

i am 29 weeks and i was admitted on a 23 hour watch at the hospital at twenty seven weeks, because i was dilated to a two and 50 % effaced i was sent home and not put on any bedrest. this is my third child and my second one was five and a half weeks early. i have been having contractions off and on since then only yesterday did i get worried about it. i started having contractions all day long starting at two in the morn they were strong and painful but they would just come in spurts and then yesterday morn i noticed some bright red blood in the shower and through out the day i spotted is this normal?

Sarah, bright red spotting is something that you should tell your medical caregiver about. A little bit of brown or red tinged mucous is ok, but actual blood could be cause for concern. Also, you are still a bit early in your pregnancy to be going into labor.~blessings, Guinever

73. NIcole - June 11, 2008

hi im 40 wks +1 day and i was induced yesterday. It was a failed inducement.. I previously had ovarian removal of one ovary while pregnant at 20 weeks , but i guess my question is does havign such a surgery like that, would it not make me be able to dialate my cervix? i have been 1 cm dialted for 4 weeks now and whnen they induced me yesterday i was there for 15 hours and it got me to 2cm. and 75 effaced.. am i ever going to dialate?

Dear Nicole, surgery on your ovary shouldn’t affect your physical ability to dilate at all. However, there is a huge emotional connection with a woman being able to dilate. If you’re afraid that you might not be able to, you might not. Relax. Trust in your body’s ability to open up and give birth. ~blessings, Guinever

74. Ramos - June 3, 2008

I am 36 weeks pregnant and have been through the ringer. I have been on bed rest since 29 weeks. I started contracting and my doctor now has me on bed rest and Procardia every six hours. I have had 4 tributiline shots and NST twice a week. My first son was taken at 37 weeks because my blood pressure was elevated and after drawing blood they found that my Liver Enzymes were elevated. I have had three Fetal Fibrenectine Test, negative, positive and then negative.
I guess I have a couple questions, first off will the procardia help with my Liver Enzymes and maybe they will not elevate because I am on it?
Also the baby is breech which it does not matter because I am a scheduled c-section in three and 1/2 weeks. I feel a lot of pressure down below and did not know if that could be dilation?
Lastly even on the Procardia I still contract very fequently, actually so much that I have had to stay at my NST test longer and given more meds. to stop them. I guess what I would like to know is, is the Procardia really even helping and when I am taking off of it next week will they get stronger and put me into labor?
Thanks so much!!!

Ramos, I’m sorry but this question about your medication is not one that I can answer. Please consult with your medical caregiver about that. As far as the pressure down low, it could be your cervix starting to dilate. ~blessings, Guinever

75. courtney - May 28, 2008

Hi, I am 37 weeks pregnant and for almost a month now I have had a lot of extra discharge. I know that is normal. What I am confused about is it is clear when I wipe yet it stains my panties and pad with a light brown color. Any idea what this is?

Maybe its the contact with the air??? That’s just a guess on my part. I don’t think its anything to be concerned about. ~blessings, Guinever

76. ashley - May 23, 2008

I am 39 weeks pregnant and the baby is fully engaged and i’m one centimeter dilated. i’ve been walking constantly but i wanted to know is there any other thing i can do to speed things up?

Ashley, walking is a great thing to do at the end of your pregnancy. Other things would be eating spicy foods and having sex. ~blessings, Guinever

77. Stacey - May 15, 2008

I am 38.5 weeks pregnant, first baby. At my doctor’s visit yesterday, I was told that I am 80% effaced and 1/2 cm dilated with a tight cervix. Is this normal? My doctor states he wants to do an “aggressive pelvic exam” next week to “get things going”. He warned me that it will hurt. I had a D&C ten years ago and very minor cervical biopsy last year with good results. Could either of these contribute to a tight cervix? I’m worried that my dilation is not progressing and that I’ll ultimately need to be induced. Any advice and/or thoughts are appreciated.

Stacey, i think its a little early to be worrying about a tight cervix. I think he’s just saying that you haven’t started to efface or soften yet. The aggressive pelvic exam sounds like sweeping the membranes. Be patients and enjoy the rest of your pregnancy. ~blessings, Guinever

78. Angela - May 10, 2008

Hi I like your site thank you… no ?s here just greatful for someone like you.

79. Sherri - May 8, 2008

I went to see my midwife yesterday for kind of a check up to see how I am doing.. 9 days prior I had gone in because for a few weeks now I have been having alot of contractions which I thought were braxton hicks but because I have gone into preterm labor with a previous pregnancy I wanted to be safe..so 9 days ago I was checked and she said my cervix was not as hard as her nose but not as soft as the ear and I was a dimple..now yesterday I went in again and now she says I am 1 fingertip 50 % and soft.. Im not sure of what this means when it comes to possiblity of going into preterm labor again.. I am only 29 weeks. She gave me calcium magnesium to take to help with cramps and contractions but again today I have been having alot of cramps etc again.. I am not sure of what to do.. If I should take off from work or if this is normal.. If you could please maybe explain to me what this information she gave me means I would appreciate it..My midwives are so great but sometimes you just dont understand even if you ask a million times what something means.. Could the above mean I may be going into preterm labor again?? Please help and thank you for any advice you do have for me..Your site is wonderful and so informative

Dear Sherri, only time will if you are going into pre-term labor. Taking calcium supplements is a great idea because it can relax the uterus and make sure you get plenty of water to drink because being dehydrated can cause contractions. If you have pressure when working and when you’re up an around, it might be advisable to cut back on being so active until your baby is older.
~blessings, Guinever

80. Leah - May 4, 2008

I am 37wks and this is child #3 for me. I have dilated 4cm, my mucous plug has dropped; however, my cervics is still sitting high. I am having contractions non-stop every 4minutes. I went to the hospital they informed with this info and sent me home.They told me to return if my contractions are 3 to 4 minutes apart, I get a fever of 104, if there is any bleeding, or she stops moving or my water breaks. My first child they had to break my water my second they did not. I don’t understand?

Dear Leah, I’m not sure what your question is, but I’m thinking that you’re not in active labor yet and the hospital just wants you to wait to come in until you are in active labor. ~blessings, Guinever

81. tasha - May 4, 2008

i am 38 weeks and 2 weeks ago i was dilated to 2 and 50 % effaced. i have been in the hospital 3 times since the beginning of march for pre term labor but they’ve managed to stop it everytime. I have been have contractions pretty much regularly all day but i have only had a few strong contractions but all my contractions have gave me alot of discomfort in my cervical area but my baby’s head is sitting against my cervix with no fluid in between. my husband wants me to go to the hospital and i want to wait until either all my contractions are strong or my water breaks. but he is afraid that because there is no fluid between my cervix and my son’s head it won’t break. should i listen to my husband or continue with my game plan?

Dear Tasha, I think your game plans sounds good. You should explain to your husband that the water breaking has nothing to do with where you’re at in labor. Your contractions will get stronger whether or water breaks or not. Wait until contractions are intense to go to the hospital. Wait until you have a good, active labor pattern going. ~blessings, Guinever

82. Teisha - May 3, 2008

Hi! im 33 weeks. my doctor told me that i am dilating 2cm and told me to stop having sex. what do u have to say about that?

Teisha, I answered your question a few days ago. Please look for your name in the sidebar. ~blessings, Guinever

83. Regina - April 30, 2008

Dear Guinever,
Thanks for this great website. I am 37wks pregnant, 80% effaced and 5cm dilated. My Doc wants to induce me.This is my 2nd pregnancy and I do not want induction like my first. My Doc feels because I only pushed for a couple of minutes after 13hrs of labor the last time, that my labor may be faster this time with no time to get to the hospital. I feel lots of Braxtons, pressure in pelvis and constant back ache. I have also been passing the mucus. But I feel I should wait till I get into real labor since my Doc has not indicated any stress on my baby or danger to me. I even still feel it’s OK to continue to work( I sit a lot and stand if I wish to) to keep my mind of this but my hub does not like the idea of being called to come to pick his laboring wife whose water just broke in a molecular biology lab :-). I’m being selfish or “too stubborn” as my doctor puts it?

Dear Regina, good for you for sticking with your plan to go into labor naturally. It’s ok to say no to induction.You are not being stubborn or selfish. Your doctors just wants you to have the baby when it’s convenient for him–just before it’s time for him to go home for supper. He doesn’t want a middle of the night call to come to the hospital and catch your baby. Your doctor says you won’t have time to get to the hospital–13 hours of labor sounds like plenty of time to get to the hospital.

I encourage you to do what you want to do and don’t try to please your doctor. He is working for you and not vice versa. You said that you and the baby are healthy. Labor will start soon enough and your baby will be in your arms. ~blessings, Guinever

84. Penny - April 27, 2008

Today. 33 wks pg with twins, ultrasound shows 29 weeks and 33 weeks in size, they are watching me twice weekly for baby growth. Both babies were breech. I was told to go home and not worry see you next week and there was nothing I could do to change baby positions or encourage growth. I was told he would plan for a C-Sections soon and I had to sign the release. grrr! I went home and ate 3200 calories a day, drank 12 glasses of water, rested and used a vibrating massager on my lower belly (old wives tale). Came in for another ultrasound and found both babies head down, had gained 5 ounces, and very good heart beats. I insisted on a internal exam and was 2 cm dilated on Friday and they gave me a shot to stop the contractions and a steroid shot for the babies. Had to come back 24 hours later for another shot and was dialated to 3 cm. Told to go home and rest. My question is this. I live 45 minutes from the hospital, with my prior 4 deliveries contractions 1-2 hours, water broke and babies came within the hour, 14 minutes with the last. No one has a crystal ball, but I am a little concerned I will be delivering my babies myself. Any timeline ideas. Dr. Just says could be today or next month, don’t worry. I think it is because he charges the same no matter who delivers and unless medically necessary why should I do a c-section. I have always had easy drug free births.

Dear Penny, I encourage you to say no to c-section unless there is a true medical problem. If the first baby is head down, that’s great. It doesn’t matter what position the second one is in. Once the first one is born, the other one comes on head down usually.

Those are pretty quick labors that you have had. Have you ever considered homebirth? A planned homebirth where you’re prepared is a better scenario than the babies coming so quickly and accidentally being born at home or in the car.
I have no idea when you will have your baby. healthy mothers can carry twins to 36-38 weeks. Others go into labor earlier than that.

If you’re truly worried about delivering them yourself, maybe you and your doctor can compromise and do an induction leading to a vaginal birth. (not a scheduled c-section!). Just some things to think about. Please let me know how it goes. ~blessings, Guinever

85. Rachel - April 24, 2008

I am 33 weeks pregnant with my first child. I have been experiencing lots of pressure on my pubic bone for the last few weeks and I was wondering what this pressure is a result of. I’m a little scared about going into preterm labor because I’ve been having contractions since I was 20 weeks along and even though I don’t have more than 4 an hour and I can always get them to stop, I’m still a little worried. My doctor hasn’t done a pelvic exam for a couple of months, so she hasn’t said anything about dilation. The pressure can best be described as my bones pulling or something of the like. And I have pain in my pubic area if I spread my legs too far apart when getting out of bed, or if I sit a certain way. Thank you in advance for your shared knowledge!

Dear Rachel, it sounds like you could benefit from chiropractic care. Please find a chiropractor who works with pregnant women. I know that you can find relief from your pain. ~blessings, Guinever

86. Kassie - April 24, 2008

Hello! I am 37 weeks preggo today. I’ve been having irregular/painless BH contractions for weeks now, but two days ago I started having irregular contractions that cause mild to moderate discomfort (usually about 4 or 5 a day). Baby is very active, but I get this VERY strange sensation in my vagina. It almost feels like I’m going to pee/poo myself or someone is pulling on something from inside. I’ve not been able to find ANY information on what dilation feels like…but I’m just curious if I could be going into early labor. I have not yet lost my plug, but have been having a lot of discharge. My legs are very tired at the end of the day and I have slight back.pelvic pressure.
ALSO … @ My first ultrasound (12 weeks) My OB said the EDD was May 19th. I’ve had a lot of trouble getting pregnant and (almost) know the exact date of conception, which would put my due date at May 9th. @ My 22 weeks ultra sound, the screen said May 9th, but no one has ever “changed” my due date. Is it possible I’m much closer than my practitioner thinks??
thanks so much for your help.
Kassie and Baby Tanner (DUE May 19th)

Dear Kassie, I wouldn’t worry about your due date. Be glad that they have you later than you think you are and not the other way around. If you go “early,” that’s great. But if they though your due date was earlier than it really should be, they want to induce which would result in your baby possible being born too early.

Not everyone loses a mucous plug. Sometimes it just breaks away gradually and it seems like extra discharge. Dilation feels many different ways. The pulling sensation you are experiencing does sound like your cervix is softening and dilating. Also, please know that you can have several days or weeks of contractions before real labor kicks in. Relax, enjoy the rest of your pregnancy. Get plenty of rest and do some walking too. ~blessings, Guinever

87. Phoebe - April 18, 2008

I am 37 weeks pregnant and I went to see my doctor four days ago and told me i have only dilated 1/2 a centimeter. I’m anxious and i can’t wait to have my baby. what can i do to dilate faster?

Dear Phoebe, just be patient and allow your baby to keep growing and your body to get ready for labor and birth. You’ll have your baby sometime in the next few weeks. Get plenty of rest, eat and drink plenty of water. Walk often. ~blessings, Guinever

88. Sarah - April 18, 2008

Hi Guinever,

I am 36 weeks pregnant and have been feeling extremely restless. To the point of not knowing what I feel like doing. I can’t concentrate on TV, can’t read a book, can’t decide anything that I end up doing nothing. I have everything ready in the house and short of washing all the babies clothes again I don’t know what to do. I feel like going for a run or doing a boxing class or something. But obviously I can’t!!

Dear Sarah, relax! How about renting some DVDs, going out to a movie, going to a museum, making some meals to put in the freezer for later, going to the library and getting another pile of books. Offer to babysit for a friend. Be busy and keep your mind of your pregnancy. ~blessings, Guinever

89. Jessica - April 16, 2008

I am 36 1/2 weeks pregnant and just had a cerclauge removed I am seeing two different doctors one for the cervix and one regular OB. I saw them both today because my OB wanted to see me when I got my cerclauge taken out. The lady who checks my cervix ultrasounds and measures the baby every time I go in and he measures large every time he is already at 8lbs 5 ounces which i know can be off up to 15% which would be one lbs higher or lower but still at 36 weeks 7lbs 5 ounces is large. She suggested doing an amniotic fluid test to check lung development and possibly inducing me the same day if his lungs were developed, considering this is my first child and a large baby might not be something i can handle. I talked to my OB about it (which my OB has not performed an ultrasound on me since december) and he immediately dismissed it and said he would induce me at week 38 but my thing is my baby is gaining more then 1/2 a lb a week if by chance he weighs a lb bigger then they think then he already weighs 9 lbs and will weigh 10 by induction. I am soo confused I dont know what to do

Dear Jessica, stop fretting about a big baby! Your body can birth the baby that you are growing! You’re more likely to have a c-section if you are induced and your body isn’t ready to dilate than if you just wait for labor to happen. Please read my article, can my baby be too big to fit through my pelvis?, Also go to my video page and watch the CPD farce. Do you really want to subject you and your baby to an “amniotic fluid test” where they insert a large, thick needle through your abdomen and into your baby’s sac? ~birthing blessings, Guinever

90. Tiffany - April 15, 2008

the only test that the doctor had done was a urine test. They did ask me some question and check my cervix, but that was all. I am still having the inner vaginal pains, which have been occuring since 9 am this morning and it is now 12:50 am. I know that i do not have vericose veins. i just do not know what else it could be unless she is laying wrong or my cervix is softening more or i am dilating. It feels like someone is opening me up and i am also having a burning sensation…
Thank you!

Dear Tiffany, I really don’t know what to tell you. Did they check you for a urinary tract infection or bladder infection? I ask that because you say burning sensation. You could also seek care with a chiropractor who has experience with pregnant women but it doesn’t sound like the common things that I know chiropractors can help with. ~blessings, Guinever

91. Tiffany - April 15, 2008

I am 31 weeks, with my first child. Today i have been feeling buring, sharp pain in the walls of my vagina, it feels as if i was being opened up. I had went to L&D last week for really bad menstrual cramps, they told me that my baby was sick and that my cervix was extremely soft but still closed… they laughed at me and sent me home… I called the nurse at my doctor’s office and she said it might be vericose veins, but when i looked, everything looked normal…? These pains are tolerable, but very uncomfortable! could it be dialtion? My doctors do not explain anything to me, even when i try to pry it out of them… it makes me feel alone and unsure of whats going on.

Dear Tiffany, I’m sorry that your doctor isn’t giving you the information that you would like to have. I’m concerned that they said your baby was sick and then sent you home. How did they determine that your baby was sick?
Usually contractions are not vaginal pain, but can be felt in different places like the the hips, back, thighs, uterus and cervix. Could you be feeling pressure in your cervix?
At 31 weeks, you still have time to switch doctors if that is an option for you. You should have care providers who will listen to you and respect you. ~blessings, Guinever

92. Brittany - April 12, 2008

I am 26 weeks my Baby has dropped and i can sometimes feel her moving really low in my pelvic area. I went to the doctors today and they said i was a finger tip dialated and they did a ffn test to make sure i wouldn’t have her in the next to weeks that came back negative. I was just wondering if these are signs that i might go into preterm labor?

Dear Brittany, the fact that your ffn test was negative is very good news. Being dilated just a fingertip doesn’t necessarily mean that you will have your baby early. The important thing to do is eat healthy and stay hydrated (not doing so causes contractions). Did your doctor say that your baby had dropped and is engaged? I’m just wondering if you have gotten that diagnosis or if you are just feeling your baby lower than you have in the past. ~blessings, Guinever

93. daisy - April 9, 2008

hi i’ve been 3cm dilate for the past two weeks.i don’t know what else to try to make my cervix to dilate more.i’m on my 10th baby and this one is the only one that is hurting the most.you think you can give me any advice.

Dear Daisy, Wow, 10 babies. That’s great. What has worked for you in the past? You didn’t tell me what was hurting–contraction related? Or are you experiencing round ligament pain, back pain or something else? ~blessings, Guinever

94. natasha - April 9, 2008

hiya im 35 weeks pregnant and i have been having very strong bh for last 2days and alot of pressure were i cant walk properly what could that be x

Dear Natasha, your body is preparing for labor. The pressure is probably contractions. The baby is getting lower…To relieve pressure you can lie down, get on your knees, prop a bunch of pillows under your chest and head and just try to relax. Bring the baby forward with your position. Hope this helps. ~blessings, Guinever

95. Heather - April 8, 2008

P.S. I was not dilated at all and not for 3 or 4 hours after the pitocin. Thank you again. What a wonderful site!

I’m venturing a guess here, but maybe your first baby was posterior, which can cause you to be overdue and your water to break and you have contractions forever with “no progress.” Birth can happen that way without intervention, but it just takes time–usually staying at home. What I’ve seen is 24 hours at least after the water breaks before active labor kicks in, then many more hours! ~blessings, Guinever

96. Heather - April 8, 2008

Thank you, I am in tears and overjoyed at being led to your site. God is amazing, this Universe is amazing. Reading these stories and seeing these pictures and videos reminded me that with God’s help, open hearts, and the spirits of all our tribal sisters, I am strong. Thank you to all of you .

Thanks for the compliment, Heather! Now tell me all about your birth when you have your baby. ~birthing blessings, Guinever

97. Heather - April 8, 2008

Your site is awesome. It has been very encouraging. I am 39 weeks with my second child. This pregnancy has been so different than my other one. I was really sick- I have still gained weight (25 lbs now), and he weighed 6 lbs 13 ozs on March 31st. The thing is I have just wanted him out. My daughter was 2 weeks overdue and I refused induction. She was 8lbs 4 ozs.I wanted her to stay inside as long as possible and loved every second of being pregnant. In between I survived kidney cancer, she was 3 months old, me 27. This pregnancy I have felt so guilty, because I just want him out! Now for my questions… I cancelled induction after inspiration from this site and instinct. I was 1.5 cm dilated and 50 % effaced two days ago. I felt like he had dropped and now I feel as if he is just becoming gigantic. I have been walking. When I went in, thinking(hoping) my water broke, they said sounds like you have long labors. This, because my water broke with my daughter and I was strep B positive-(I am neg this time)so they said I had to come right in. I never dilated until they put me on pitocin after I had asked them to wait- after 15 hrs of natural labor not counting pitocin- I was only 3 cm and exhausted , after the epidural I pushed my daughter out in about 2 and a half hours. Does this mean I will have another long labor? Isn’t it good I am actually dilating? Aren’t second labors shorter? Is he huge after a week now- do I have more of a chance of c-section since he is so big and my cervix is pretty far up my birth canal? After losing part of my left kidney I have so much nerve damage it is a fear. Thanks for reading my loooonnng essay. I just want a gentle and safe birth, I am still anxious. Thank you.

Dear Heather, good for you for canceling your induction. That’s great! Chances are this labor will be much shorter and perhaps easier than your first one. Were you at all dilated the first time around when your water broke? I’m thinking you weren’t. so you’re already well on your way to having this baby. I encourage you to be patient and let labor start on its own. Then stay home as long as possible. Do not worry about your baby being big. No matter what size he is, you will birth him! Have confidence in your ability to grow your baby in your womb, birth him, and then nurse him. You can do it.

I do not know how your nerve damage will be effected in your labor. Think positively.
~birthing blessings, Guinever

98. Teresa - April 7, 2008


The 1st ffn I had was over 2 weeks ago, I ended up in L and D triage again on sunday with small contractions every few minutes. They gave me 2 bags of fluid and a shot of brethine. I had dilated to 2cm at 29w4d. They did a repeat FFN which came back negative. I asked about the risks of the brethine shot and was told basicly none. When I got home I looked it up on the net and found something completely different. I am a little upset about being given it. At what point will they not try and stop labor anymore and let you deliver? I feel that if I don’t go into labor until 34-35 weeks I don’t want to be given anymore meds at that time. Am I allowed to make that decision?

Dear Teresa, If you are needing fluids at the hospital, are you getting dehydrated at home? Dehydration can cause contractions. Could this be your problem? Do you need to be eating and drinking more and being more careful in this area?

Some women have contractions early in their pregnancy and it is their normal. Are your contractions intense? Can you talk and walk during them? Maybe this is your normal…(no promises)

Are you allowed to make your healthcare decisions? YES YES YES. No one can do anything to you that you don’t consent to. You have hired your doctor. He is working for you. You are going to the hospital. It is a business and you are the consumer.

As far as the brethine goes, everything has risks. Just remember that. You need to weigh the risks with the benefits. Sometimes it is better to take something and sometimes it’s not the best choice. I think each situation needs to be evaluated individually and separately.

It’s usually “safe” for a baby to be born at 36 weeks, the lungs are fully developed, 35 weeks for girls. ~blessings, Guinever

99. April - April 4, 2008

I am 40 weeks and 2days pregnant and only 1 cm dialated my doctor does not believe in inducing labor is there any thing I can do at home to help my cervix dialate faster?

Dear April, I think its wonderful that your doctor doesn’t believe in inducing labor. Half of inductions on first time moms result in cesarean which is just totally unnecessary. If our baby and body aren’t ready for labor, then induction won’t work. Average pregnancy length is not 40 weeks; it’s over 41 weeks.

To answer your question about dilating, the best thing you can do is relax! Have sex–the semen contains prostaglandins which help to soften the cervix and begin dilation. Go for nice long walks.
~birthing blessings, Guinever

100. Teresa Vega - April 4, 2008

I am 29 weeks today and for a few weeks I have had alot of pressure low in my pelvis. about a week and a half ago it caused me to end up in L an D . No contractions but I was told I was thick and 1cm dilated. FFN neg and sent home. Yesterday I had an ultrasound that showed my cervix has shortened to 2 cm with funneling and the baby’s head is resting directly on it. I am scheduled for a repeat FFN next week (this is my 3rd pg). Do you think there is a chance I will make it to term and what does all this mean??

Dear Teresa, there is always a chance that you will make it to term. With 2 other children, do you have a toddler or other young child that you pick up and/or carry often? That can cause the pressure with the combined weight of the baby in your womb plus the child you are holding. It’s best to sit down on the floor, or in a chair or get on your knees and lower yourself to their level rather than picking them up. Also, are you carrying laundry baskets or other heavy things?

To relieve the pressure in your pelvis, lie down and bring your knees under you, with your butt up in the air and put lots of pillows under your head and chest and just sink down and try to relax. By getting in this position, it takes the weight of the baby off your cervix. Try to get your head low and your butt high. You can do this at least once a day or whenever you’re feeling the pressure for 15 minutes or more. Does that make sense?

It is very normal to carry your baby low with a third pregnancy and experience the pressure you describe. Just on a personal note, I had this exact same thing happen with my babies 3, 4, and 5. (I didn’t go to the LDR, but did get checked out by my midwife) I went to term (even past) with all my babies.

About the FFN. Did you know that the results are valid for 2 weeks? So there is no reason to have it done again before the 2 weeks is up. Also, do you think you need this test? What does it tell you? Your results were negative which is a good thing. Relax in that negative test result! If it were positive, would you be able to do anything about it except worry? I’m just throwing out questions here for you to think about. ~let me know how it goes, Guinever

101. Mary Ellen - April 1, 2008

Dear Guinever,
I am 39 weeks and 3 days pregnant. I had a doctors appointment today and my cervix is still long closed and not yet soft. The doctor gave us information about induction. He also said if my cervix does not become more favorable I may need to consider a c-section. My question is there still a chance I will go into labor naturally? I know my dates are correct. I am just having a hard time dealing with the fact I am going to be over due an possibly have to be induced. Is there anything I can do to help things along?

Dear Mary Ellen, I am so sorry that you’re having to deal with this kind of pressure from your doctor. Please know that you can say no to induction. Your due date is only an estimate. Some women and babies just take longer than the average 40 weeks, and actually, first time pregnancies go over 41 weeks when not induced. Remove the thought of c-section from your mind. Your doctor shouldn’t even say the word until it becomes medically necessary which is highly unlikely.

The best thing you can do to get your cervix soft is have sex. Semen is a prostaglandin which softens the cervix. Plus, when you climax, oxytocin is released which is one of the labor hormones. you can also read through other lady’s questions for more ways to prepare for labor. ~blessings, Guinever

102. Christina - April 1, 2008

I am 27 weeks pregnant and after an examination from my doctor she discovered that I have a cervical dilation of 1 cm. Why does it mean? does it means that I will deliver earlier?Thanks

Dear Christina, being 1 cm dilated this early does not necessarily mean that you will have your baby early. Why are you getting checked this early anyway? Usually, its only done if there is cause for concern. Have you been having contractions? Is this your first baby? There are lots of determining factors in when you will have your baby. Eat healthy and stay hydrated. ~blessings, Guinever

103. Mercedes - March 31, 2008

Dear Guinever,
I’m a first time mom to be and today I went to the doctor. I’m at my 35th week and I had her check my cervix. My doctor quickly checked and said I was soft but closed. She is a very vague doctor whenever I ask questions. Due to recent changes in my life I will have to be moving in about 11 days and can’t move any sooner without traveling alone. I have mapped out the move to be close to all major hospitals during our drive. And have a wonderful doctor in the town I’m moving to. But I am wondering if I would be far away from delivery or if I am getting close since she said soft but closed. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Dear Mercedes, no one can know for sure when your baby will come. But I will tell you that your cervix is only starting to soften so it has a long way to go. You’ll probably be fine. That’s good planning on your part, to find a route that won’t take you far from hospitals.
I think the best thing for you to do is relax and not worry about your trip. Remember to eat and stay hydrated (not doing so can actually cause contractions). Also remember that activity can cause them too. (I’m thinking of the physical exertion you’ll be doing with packing…) ~blessings, Guinever

104. tabi lampe - March 30, 2008

Dear Guinever,
I am 41 weeks 3days preg. From the beginning of my preg. i have planned a home birth and have done an antenatal hypnotherapy course which has meant that i have had the most wonderful relaxed comfortable pregnancy without complaints…we have the pool ready , midwife on standby..everything! the only thing that has caused me problems is that at my last hosp. visit the doctor was pushing me to set an induction date which he wanted for this fri (42 week) and i changed that to sunday (even tho i have no wish for this terrible intervention)..At the natal hypnotherapy course i learnt that due dates are very often wrong and i know my periods are 30 days or so not 28… my baby is very healthy and strong..etc etc.. i am 32 and very healthy myself…but the dooc did what he probably does to all the women he sees and put the fear of god in me saying the risks start increasing very much after this friday (42 weeks) i am due to go in to be checked fri and sat and they want to induce sun evening….

since that appointment, even tho i know i must stay relaxed and keep adrenaline at bay, i have had my first ever week of not sleeping that well and an anxiety that i never had before…

can u give me any advice on what i can do in this situation, i am having accupuncture today…i hope that will help…

…an induction means no home birth and goes against everything i believe in x

I can feel my daughters head about 5-6cms inside when i check my cervix and the cervix is very soft but a little bit facing posterior still.

I took a mild laxative yest and nothing happened! Tried nipples stim, sex, orgasm, massage, clary sage etc etc etc…just to feel i was doing ’something’ when i should be relaxing and enjoying it x this is my first and only baby…thank you for your time xxxx

I feel very angry that the doc said this to me even before 42 weeks…he has destroyed my peace of mind to cover himself i feel…

thank you very much,

tabi 🙂

Dear Tabi, I’m so sorry that you’re getting pressure from your doctor to induce. Is he the one doing the homebirth or are you just going to him for complementary care? Is your midwife requiring that you go to him? Relax…no one was pregnant forever. Something that works for some people that you didn’t mention in the list of things you tried is the homeopathic form (little white pills) of the cohoshes. Cimicifuga and Caullophyllum. They work together; one starts the contractions and the other makes them strong and keeps them going. Health food stores usually carry them. You could ask your midwife about them. The acupuncture will hopefully work. Keep thinking positive thoughts. When you and your baby are ready, labor will begin no matter what you try.
~birthing blessings

105. Tegan - March 26, 2008

I am 39 weeks, 5 days along with my first. I saw my midwife today and she said I was 2 centimeters dilated and 80% effaced. She also said the baby was down low, though she didn’t specify a station. I haven’t felt anything that I could say for sure was a contraction, but I have been feeling some intermittent cramping and pressure. It feels like kind of bad menstrual cramping except I can also feel it lower and farther back, in my rectum and lower back. It doesn’t build and then fade after a minute like I would expect a contraction to. It just persists for anywhere from 5 to 30 or 40 minutes and goes away. Sometimes it goes away on its own, sometimes not until I change position or use the bathroom. Today my midwife stripped my membranes and I have had quite a lot of this cramping since then. What am I feeling? Is this mild contractions, the cervix dilating, or something else?

Also, the midwife mentioned that my cervix was somewhat posterior. I understand this means it is located more toward the back, but what does that indicate? Thank you for your help.

Dear Tegan, Stripping the membranes does cause cramping. It may last a few days and real labor may or may not follow. Everyone feels contractions a little bit differently. What you are describing is definitely something going on in your uterus/cervix. Your cervix being posterior is normal. It just means it is facing towards your back rather than facing downward. The cervix seems to migrate. Sometimes if you put your fists under your hips during an exam, just that position change makes the cervix so it is not posterior. As you continue to dilate and efface, the cervix will move so that is facing downward as well. The reason you’re probably feeling the pressure in your rectum is because the cervix is putting pressure on it since it is posterior. ~blessings, Guinever

106. mee - March 24, 2008

“This is my seventh child and I went to the doctor and she said that I am dilated to 1. I feel contraction of tightness to my stomach. Will I dilate faster with this child? I am always thirsty, need to use the bathroom, back pain when I sit? I am 36 weeks and half.”

Dear Mee, each labor is a little bit different which you probably already know since you’ve had 6 children. It is possible to dilate faster than with other births but is not a guarantee. Drink when you are thirsty. Using forward leaning positions might help your back pain when you sit down. Also, getting on your hands and knees periodically throughout the day can alleviate back pain. ~birthing blessings, Guinever

107. anonamous - March 14, 2008

I am 38 weeks pregnant.I been having alot of pressure and now a few contractions. I had a brownish-like discharge.My dr says baby is high yet.I thinned out and my cervix is still not dilating yet. Anything I can do to get baby to drop and start to dilate.

Just give it time. You’re well on your way. The baby will drop soon. Thinning is the first step for your cervix. That will continue…just try to stay active, yet rest when you need to. ~blessings, Guinever

108. annonymous - March 14, 2008

I was diagnosed with a thinning cervix and am not pregnant. Cannot find any information other than regarding pregnant woman. Please tell me what it means to someone who is not pregnant.

I’m sorry, but I do not know the answer to your question. I have done an internet search myself and have come up blank–everything I see relates to pregnancy. Perhaps you could ask your question at the webmd message board for GYN issues. Please ask your medical caregiver. ~hope this helps, Guinever

109. Judy - March 12, 2008

Dear Guinever-
I have been having a tough pregnancy- mentally. This is my third baby, but after two miscarriages (conceiving 2 weeks after the second!), I have been dealing with a stream of fears- many unfounded that have been exhausting. I tried therapy- even hypnosis, but find myself counting the days until I am 28 weeks, feeling that at least then we have a chance. I am 24 weeks today. I have had pelvic/vaginal pressure since 10 weeks, and even had the t/v cervical length test at 20 weeks- revealing that my length was 39 mm which my doctor was pleased with. Still, I fear every day that I will have the baby now and lose him/her. My current fears are: I have checked my own cervix a few times, sure that I will find that myself dilated or my bag bulging- like I have heard in horror stories of IC. My cervix has never felt very hard or tightly closed, but never open enough to panic me- I always figured the very slightly open feel was from the previous births. Now I am totally panicing after reading here that I could have caused changes in it by checking it. After reading that, I will never check again, but have I already put the baby at risk? Second, over the past few days, I have had a bit of increase of mucus- white/pale yellow, a few episodes with about the size of a dime to a quarter- does that sound like the mucus plug? I would say my amount has varied throughout the pregnancy. There has never been blood. Any advice on managing fear? I have never had this type of anxiety in my life and it has been tough- thanks for this site and your time.

Dear Judy, I’m sorry that information on my site has caused increased anxiety for you. I wouldn’t worry about hurting your baby or causing your cervix to change. But please do know that there’s a very *small* possibility of introducing infection or even compromising the integrity of the sac so that the water may break. Why don’t you weigh the benefits with the risks. Perhaps you checking your cervix helps put your mind at ease that your cervix is not changing and therefore, your pregnancy is sustaining and continuing. Knowing this information might be better than not knowing and being scared.

With that said, I think there are several things that you can do to help alleviate your anxiety. First, every single day and maybe even more than once a day, try to meditate. Concentrate on your breathing. Breath deeply–breath in and out slowly. Read Scripture and pray if you do that. Then think about your baby and fill your mind with positive thoughts. Know that you are growing your baby. Your baby is strong and you will carry your baby to term. You will birth your baby with confidence and strength and your baby will nurse. You will mother your baby…

To help conquer your fears, I highly recommend reading Pam England’s book, Birthing from Within. The handful of ladies who have I’ve suggesting read this book have said that it really helped them in this area.

~hope this helps, Guinever

110. ashley - March 9, 2008

I am almost 36 weeks and a first time mom. For the last couple of months when I sit on the toilet and go to wipe it feels very open down there. Last night when I was using the restroom, I wiped and I felt something hanging down at the opening of my vagina. After a little investigating with a hand mirror, it appeared to be possibly my cervix hanging down and felt soft and squishy. I have had Braxton Hicks contractions since 20 weeks and was about 50% effaced at my 34 week appointment. I was just wondering if that was my cervix I saw and felt that was possibly changing position in preparation for birth?

It sounds like your cervix. I think you need to talk to your doctor or midwife about this. It is not “normal” for the cervix to be this low (I’m not saying it’s not ok)~blessings, Guinever

111. Danett - March 8, 2008

Dear Guinever,

Me and my husband are expecting our 7th child and FIRST BOY!! I am 27 weeks pregnant and have LOADS of pressure which after a long car ride turned into full blown labor within 3 hours SO! my question is the stopped labor but said I am a finger tip and soft i guess they thought I would just KNOW what they were talking about (being a vet and all) However I am just as confused as if it was my first Does this mean my son will arrive early?? all of my children where born within 2 days of 38 weeks so I DUNNO

Thanx’s ~Lost and Confused Mommy of Many!

Dear Danett, relax, honey! You just had a round of pre-labor, that’s all. Although your baby could arrive early, its just as likely–or more likely–that you’ll go full term. A fingertip dilated means 1 cm dilated. Baby number 7 at 27 weeks along at 1 cm is no reason for concern! All that jostling around probably just jump started contractions. I would chalk it up to experience. Be careful for the next 10 weeks. Try to take it easy–no heavy lifting. Let your kids do the grunt work around the house. Get on your hands and knees often just to get the baby off your cervix and to relieve the pressure. hope this helps. congratulations on blessing #7! ~blessings, Guinever

112. Jenny - March 6, 2008

For the last few months my baby has been in the posterior position, when i was at the midwife 2 weeks ago she said he had turned slightly but not alot. Today i went to my midwife (was a different one from the one i seen before) and she performed a sweep. She said i was 2cms dilated and said that the head was no where near being engaged.

My due date was 2 days ago and this is my first baby. I also told my midwife that i think im leaking fluid as i have to wear a pad and cant control the wetness. She said it was normal.

Is this all normal?

Dear Jenny, everything sounds “normal” to me. I am surprised though that your midwife hasn’t checked to see if you water has broken. If it is broken, it’s not cause for concern and no reason to rush an induction, but it is good to know so you can monitor your temperature (so you know if you have a fever which is an indication of infection.) Also, no intercourse if your water is broken. ~blessings, Guinever

113. jen - March 6, 2008

I’m 23-24 weeks pregnant with child number 4 and I lost my mucus plug and I’m dialated a fingertip, what should I be doing?

Dear Jen, another mucous plug will form if your pregnancy continues. If you’re having contractions or feeling lots of pressure, you should try to take it easy until you get closer to term. Follow your doctor’s advice on this. ~blessings, Guinever

114. Tara - March 3, 2008

I am currently 31 weeks pregnant and last week I was in the hospital for possible pre-term labor. My dr. checked me b/c I was having contractions- I was only 1 cm dilated and 50% effaced. My son was delivered at 33 weeks so he was being cautious. He has put me on bedrest which I think is unnecessary. Anyway, I’m wondering if it is possible for the effacement to reverse? I know dilation can become less, but can effacement once it has started? Also, my son was born an emergency-C and with this one, it almost seems like my uterus is resting on my scar. My belly completely stops bulging out right on the scar. Could it be possible for the scar to hold up the uterus and will this affect my having a VBAC? I feel quite a bit of pain, almost a pulling right where my scar is.
Thank you so much for you help!

Dear Tara, I think you need to get your scar checked out. Talk to your doctor about this. You shouldn’t be feeling pain. Now are you talking about your internal uterine scar or the scar on your skin that you can see?

It is possible for your cervix to close back up and be hard again,but it is doubtful. Being 1cm and 50% isn’t anything to worry about unless you continue to dilate and efface. Let me know how it goes.
~blessings, Guinever

115. leazamone - February 29, 2008

hello i am 33 weeks and 4 days pregnant last night i was in the hospital for contractions that were coming every 8 min’s for an hour.when i had got there they told me they weren’t picking my contractions up,they suggested that i had an irritable uterus.when the nurse at the hospital checked me she had told me i wasn’t dilated any,but at my doctors appointment monday i was 2 centimeters dilated how can this be possible and should i go with what my doctor has stated.

Dear Leazamone, it is very possible for you to have dilated 2 cm overnight.–that your cervix was closed when the nurse checked you, but you had opened a little by the morning when your doctor checked you. ~blessings, Guinever

116. Becky - February 26, 2008

I am 40 weeks pregnant with my 4th child and when I went to the doctor yesterday he said I’m at 1+. He didn’t mention anything about the effacing. My 3rd daughter i went over 41 weeks and when I went in i was 3 cm 50% effaced and she was born in 2 hrs. Am I in for a lot longer and harder delivery because I’m not as far dilated or effaced?

Dear Becky, just because you aren’t as “far along” as you have been in previous pregnancies does not mean you will have a longer labor. You could literally open up in just a couple contractions. Also was your doctor referring to dilation when he said 1 +? (the reason I ask is that usually when there is a + or – with the measurement, it is usually referirng to the station or how far down the baby is rather than how open your cervix is.) ~blessings, Guinever

117. Stephanie - February 22, 2008

I went from 1 1/2 cm dilated to 2 cm dilated in 2 days. I am soft and squishy I was told and the babies head is down. This is my 4th child and I have NEVER had contractions for any of my other 3 until I was pushing them out. I have been having contractions for this one but not really thinking about it. I was told I will probably have her within the next 2 weeks. She dropped a lot but I still feel her under my ribs how can I get her to move it hurts. And will sex help her come sooner?

Dear Stephanie, I think getting on your hands and knees can help to reposition her. Also, sitting up/standing up really straight and just pressing in under your ribs where it hurts. Sex can only help…prostaglandins in the semen help to soften the cervix and oxytocin is released which is one of the hormones involved in labor. ~blessings, Guinever

118. Tamika - February 18, 2008

Hi My husband and I want to have another child but are worried about having a third c-section due to failed dilation. Is there anything I can do to encourage dilation or help with this? Any options I could ask my doc about trying during labour?

Dear Tamika, I suggest you find a doctor or midwife who will do a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). You can ask friends, doulas, childbirth educators in your area for a list of care providers who are supportive of VBAC. The International Cesarean Awareness Network’s website has lots of information that I think you will find helpful. You didn’t give me any details except “failed dilation.” The answer to that is patience! Give yourself enough time to dilate. Believe in your ability to birth your baby and then just let it happen. You can do this. Was your first an induction? ~blessings, Guinever

119. Sherry - February 11, 2008

I am 36 weeks pregnant today. Is it safe to use a product like Monistat for a yeast infection even if you are already dilated? Just worried because I used two days of a seven day treatment over the weekend for a horrible yeast infection and now am worried about doing it. I stopped the treatment until I see my doctor tomorrow. I haven’t lost my plug or had any leakage of fluid. Thanks for your help. I appreciate it.

Dear Sherry, this is a question that you should ask your doctor’s office. You’re probably ok. ~blessings, Guinever

120. lindsay - February 11, 2008

hi im 35 weeks and was just wondering if the pains im having are my cervix dilating i have really bad backache and pains in my vagina this is my second child i had a pv bleed at 34 weeks and i have had diorrhia for 4 days my baby has dropped cause her bum feels just above my belly button does this mean she is coming

Dear Lindsay, when you say pains, do you mean pains that come and go like contractions? Some women feel contractions in their back like you described so it is possible that you are dilating. but with that said, even if you are dilating, it doesn’t guarantee you are in labor. Sometimes, women dilate over many weeks. ~blessings, Guinever

121. Shanda - February 7, 2008

A week later, and now my cervix has shortened. Could I be in pre-term labor???

Dear Shanda, if you were in pre-term labor, your doctor would’ve admitted you to the hospital to try and stop your labor. So you’re not in labor yet. ~blessings, Guinever

122. Chana - February 6, 2008

i am 40wks and 2 days and my last app was last friday . I have been cramping like WHOA! back pains like WHOA! and twice have had a gush of liquid come out. Mind you this is my first and I have any idea what is going on. In that note I went to the hospital on tuesday and they sent me home still having the same problems. I just dont understand if Im 2cm and 70% thinned out then what in the world is going on, why am i still pregnate? I was thinking to take caster oil but not to sure about that. And please beleive I have been doing it all to speed things up please girl friend tell me what to do.

Chana, dilation is a very slow process. You can be dilated for several weeks at the end of your pregnancy. It sounds like you will have your baby soon. ~blessings, Guinever

123. Shanda - February 4, 2008

Hi Guinever! I have had a scary week. I am pregnant with my 2nd child. With my first, I dilated at 34 weeks to 4 cm and walked around that way for 3 weeks and then gave birth at 37 weeks….only 4 hours of labor! Now, I am 29 weeks. At my exam this past week, I told my dr that I’ve been having pains and pressure in my lower pelvis. He checked me and said my cervix is very soft and the baby has lowered itself. He also said my cervix is bleeding. Then, 2 days later, I’m admitted into the hospital because of contractions. The cervix was still soft and had not dilated yet. I have been put on complete bedrest….yes, with a 2 year old toddler!!. Does all this mean I could be in preterm labor?? Or am I just starting symptoms early on but could still carry to term? I just want this baby to be healthy. I go back for another check up in 2 days. I’m still experiencing mild contractions, but nothing big and no pattern. The pressure is still there and it hurts! Also, I’m having to urinate MUCH more ALL THE TIME…..about 4-5 times during the night. What is your opinion???? Thank you so much!!!!!!!!

Dear Shanda, sorry that you’ve had a scary week. First, you’re not in pre-term labor (yet). It is possible that you could carry your baby to term and just continue to have contractions throughout your pregnancy. But, of course, there are no promises. Only time will tell. It sounds like you’re doing everything you can to stay pregnant as long as possible. Keep it up, and I hope you’re getting help around the house and with your toddler.

As far as going to the bathroom 4-5 times a night, that’s totally normally for someone whose baby is low. Your baby is sitting on your bladder. It helps if you do pelvic rocks or pelvic tilts. Also, put some pillows on the floor or bed, get on your knees and then put your head on the pillows, bring your knees under you, and get your butt up as high as you can with your head down low. This brings the weight of your baby off the cervix (this should help the pressure you’re feeling too) and also can get the baby off your bladder. ~let me know how it goes, Guinever

124. Andrea - January 30, 2008

I am 25 1/2 Weeks Pregnant and my doctor said that my outer cervix is open and dilated, but not my inner cervix, it is still closed. Is this ok and what does that mean??? Will I dilate earlier then because of my outer cervix being open????

Dear Andrea, Inner os and outer os are the terms I’m familiar with. Once the cervix is effaced, then you’re dealing with one opening. When it’s long, you have an opening at either end (like a tube). Sometimes (usually the outer) one starts dilating before the other. I don’t know if this means that you’ll dilate early. Only time will tell. ~blessings, Guinever

125. amy - January 25, 2008

Hi Guinever,
I am 24 weeks pregnant with my second child and a little concerned about contractions and pains I am experiencing. I have been having braxton hicks for the last 3 weeks, and while they have been strong they have gone away within a few hours. For the last 6 or 7 hours I have been having sharper pains very low in my cervix area, and am feeling alot of pressure. I have tried my yoga positions and getting on my hand and knees but nothing seem to help. When I checked my cervix tonight it is very mushy and soft and feels about 1cm dialted (a full finger tip). Are these things normal at my stage in pregnancy or should I call my OB. Oh and could these be because of a low lying placenta? (I go back next week for another ultrasound as my placenta is currently lying on top of my cervix). For now I am just taking it easy and trying to rest. I would appreciate your advice. Thank you.

Dear Amy, I think you should call your OB. I would also caution you in checking yourself if your placenta is over your cervix–you could start bleeding. Please let me know how it goes. ~blessings, Guinever

126. Carey - January 25, 2008

I am 41 weeks pregnant today (or 41 weeks and 3 days depending on which due date I use) with my 2nd child. As you may imagine, I’m losing my mind. I am now scheduled to be induced next Friday (at 42 weeks). I really don’t want to be induced, based on what I’ve heard about the harder labor, but the longer this goes on, I’m nervous that something could go wrong or that the baby may be too big. My first daughter was 5 days overdue and weighed 8lbs and 14 ozs. Today, my dr. said I was dilated to “2”; he’s stripped my membranes twice, but nothing is happening… Any words of wisdom to help my mental state right now?

Dear Carey, I think that you can birth your baby no matter how “big” your baby is. Have confidence in your ability to give birth. Rare is true CPD (where the head is too big to fit through the pelvis or the pelvis is too small to accommodate the head) Usually, all that is needed is a change in position. The baby’s head can mould to fit your pelvis, and your pelvis can loose and open up to birth your baby. Please read this article for more information. ~birthing blessings, Guinever

127. Trish - January 24, 2008

Very interesting. I will certainly try some exercises these next couple of days to encourage anterior positioning. What I meant to say in my last line of the previous post was baths, not naps. Is it true that if you take too many baths early in labor that you can slow the process down more? I will try to be more patient and try some of these exercises you mentioned. Thank you for the website information.
I will research it tonight. I will let you know if I have any exciting developments and thank you for your information and support!


Trish, it is best to be active for as long as possible during early labor. Walking and just moving about helps the baby to move down and negotiate the bones of the pelvis. Walking has also been proven to shorten labor. Water during labor is great for when you need to rest (like if you’ve been walking around and doing stuff and just need to take a load off) or when active labor is getting harder and you need help relaxing. I have also been with women in labor where the transition from early labor to active labor actually occurred in the tub–she could finally just be alone, turn the lights off, sink into the water and let labor happen rather than being distracted by the people and responsibilities around them. So it really depends on the situation.

I’m not sure if I’ve answered your question..yes, I would say it is true that reclining during early labor, whether in the tub, couch or bed, would definitely prolong labor. But with that said, if your contractions wake you up in the middle of the night, stay in bed as long as possible just to get the rest you would normally be getting. You’ll be antsy soon enough and you’ll get up and start pacing…hope this helps. let me know how it goes. ~birthing blessings, Guinever

128. Trish - January 24, 2008

Hi Guinever,
My son is 2 and a half. I am a full-time realtor, which requires being on my feet and out of the office (in the car) all day, so I have given it up temporarily for the past two weeks in preparation for baby. My son is staying in day care temporarily as not to disrupt his routine too much (you know these little ones are creatures of habit) How long can this prodromal labor last and does it sound like I am possibly making any progress. Other than stronger, longer contractions that don’t suddenly stop. . . what more can I watch for? With my son, my water broke at 37 weeks on the nose and it was such a piece of cake. This is so different. Is it true that naps can slow the process of labor down at all? I appreciate the support. Take care, Trish

Dear Trish, if you were in the car a lot, were you in a bucket seat or another seat so that your butt sinks down and your knees come up? (not all carseats put you in this posititon) This is the worst position to be in while pregnant. It allows the baby to settle in the back of your pelvis and be posterior (baby facing up instead of facing towards your spine). A posterior baby can cause a lot of pre-labor like you’ve been experiencing. With a posterior baby, he just isn’t in the optimal position for birth. He wants to come out and is trying (contractions) but it’s hard. The water eventually breaks because of all the contractions or once the baby finally turns, labor soon starts. This is just one possible scenario. I’m not saying I think this is what is happening to you, but it is a possibility that came to mind when you said you were in the car all the time.

To encourage baby to turn to the more anterior position, spend lots of time in forward leaning positions and on hands and knees. Belly dancing type movement also encourages baby to move. For more on the subject, please refer to the spinning babies website ~blessings, Guinever

129. Trish - January 24, 2008

Hello Guinever,

I am currently 36 weeks 6 days pregnant with a baby girl. I was put on limited activity and terbutaline two weeks ago because of strong contractions. (Came off last Friday) At that point I was 2 cm dilated and 50% effaced. My husband and I were at the hospital over the weekend because I had fluid leaking. They checked me and said that it could be a high leak, but everything looked fine. I was sent home still 2 cm dilated, 75% effaced with regular mild contractions (these have been going on for weeks now) The nurse mentioned that I was probably in prodromal labor. I have days where the contractions get so strong that I am just about ready to call . . . they come at 5-7 minute intervals and strong too. . . I had my son naturally, so I know what a real contraction feels like. They will last for about two hour intervals and then start getting further apart and weaker. SIGH!!! Last night I had a lot of back pain, pressure in my pelvis, moaning through several contractions for about two hours again. We were just about to head to the hospital when it stopped again. What am I missing? I am exhausted and frustrated. I know relaxing is probably the best thing, but I can’t sit still. . I am so restless (I have nothing left to clean!!!) and I am not getting much sleep because of the intermittent contractions. I know it’s all normal, but what more can I do? Can my body be trying to go into labor and not be able to? Does it sound like it could be anytime soon? I lost my plug two weeks ago and have had pink discharge on and off for the last few days. . . but still nothing. I am relieved that the baby waited until now so that she is healthy and happy, but I am so uncomfortable at this point. (not to complain too much because I am not a complainer normally, but this is pushing me over the edge. Thanks for your input and I really love your site! Trish

Dear Trish, it sounds like you’re doing the best you can for your baby to be healthy! I know that prodromal labor can be an absolute drag. Remember it won’t last forever. The best thing you can do right now is try to do normal activity during the day and sleep at night. If you’re not sleeping at night, then you’ll need to get added rest during the day. I don’t know how old your son is and if you are caring for him full-time (in other words, he’s not at daycare or school…), then see if someone else can watch him for you for a day so you can stay at home and take lots of warm baths and naps so you can prepare yourself mentally and physically for labor. It’s hard to go into labor when both your mind and body are all wound up and tired. ~birthing blessings, Guinever

130. beba - January 23, 2008

well i’m 37.4 weeks now dilated to 4 and 80% effaced baby is at -2 station and i have been that way for three weeks and 3 days this is my fifth baby and i cant take it no more why i’m not in labor yet???? i has been in so much pain and i cant sleep what can i do??????

Dear Beba, I don’t know why you’re not in labor yet. Why are you getting so many vaginal checks? Just relax and prepare yourself mentally and physically for labor and for having another newborn. You will have your baby in your arms soon. ~blessings, Guinever

131. ro - January 21, 2008

Hello Guinever,
I was in the hospital over the weekend (had some light pains that turned out to be round ligaments) and they checked my cervix. I’m 22.5 weeks along. I had been checked the week prior, everything was long hard and closed. This past weekend the nurse said I was about at about a fingertip, to be on bedrest until I can see my doctor (this week) and probably that it was nothing to worry about. She said they don’t have a lot to compare to at 22 weeks because usually cervix checks are early (8 weeks) or so, and late (third trimester).I have no other signs on PTL, I’m healthy, feel great, and want to be outside walking around! Do you think a fingertip could be just fine and nothing to worry about? I’m frustrated because it seems that some doctors I talk to say “this is not normal for a first pregnancy at all” and others say “this could be nothing.”

Dear Ro, the only thing I can tell you is to take the wait and see approach. Most women in their first pregnancy do not dialate at all this early, but some do. If you experience pressure and/or contractions while walking or being active, you might want to take it easy until you know for sure that you aren’t dilating further. Let me know how it goes. ~blessings, Guinever

132. Christina - January 17, 2008

It’s me again. I saw my ob this week and asked him why I needed to be induced when 42-weeks is normal. He told me that the reason they induce you a few days after you go past your due date(1-16-08)is that the baby has a higher chance of having a bowel movement and “breathing” it in. And that my daughter was 8lbs and if he allowed my son to be born at 42-weeks I may not be able to push out since he was measuring over 9lbs at just 40-weeks. He has me scheduled for an induction this coming Tuesday(1-22-08.) My cervix is still far up and that I have dilated to 3 centimeters so he thinks busting my water bag will help trigger labor if not then pitocin will be admitted to me. I lost my mucus plug the other day so hopefully he comes out on his own. Thank you for your advise!!!

133. Kasey - January 16, 2008

Hi I am 35 weeks with my first child. When I went to the doctor Monday they told me that I was 1 cm dilated. Does this mean that my baby will be coming sooner than planned or am I just getting anxious over nothing?

Kasey, relax! You’re anxious over nothing. Women can walk around dilated for weeks before real labor kicks in. Remember that your due date is only an estimate–it could be sooner or even later. ~blessings, Guinever

134. annie - January 15, 2008

Well its me again. I lost my plug last night. I see the doctor on friday so we will see what he says. I feel great, just sad that its my last, so im not in any big hurry to get it over with, if you know what I mean. Thank you for everything this website is AWESOME!!! I only wished I had it with the other babies!!! Thanks again=)

Thanks for the encouragement, Annie. ~blessings, Guinever

135. suzanne - January 15, 2008

I m 30 weeks pregnant , my EDD is on march 23rd 2008, two weeks back i had severe menstrual like cramps that came irregularly without any particular time pattern and lasted for about 2-3days continuously, as i was more concerned about preterm labour & this is my first baby, i went to the OB/GYN on last monday i.e in my 29th week & she measured the baby’s heart rate, took the length of my belly & then checked whether the cervix is opened or not with her fingertip, then she said that it was closed & everything was normal & the crampings which i had where normal Braxton Hicks Contractions & advised me to take more of fluids. After 2 days of this appointment i have been getting a white watery type vaginal discharge that stain my panty without any particular odour but a bit salty as ive felt, is this normal or a sign of the cervix being opened, since i’ve read in your site that touching the cervix stimulates the hormones & it tends to open, pls give suggestions since i m still just 30 weeks, it would be very helpful for ur suggestions & more info on how to identify the loss of mucous plug & bag of waters breaking, i mean to say that how can i detect them at home if i suppose happen to come across these things. I still get the BH when i walk so i just lie down for a while when i get them & then they slowly subside. Also i had developed severe leg cramps in both my leg calf muscles which exist even now during midnight & they remain till the beginning of the day, she said even this is normal during pregnancy , but these cramps wake me in midnight & i hardly get sleep with this cramps even though i use muscle pain relief ointment & pilows between my legs while sleeping i find no relief with these leg cramps, any suggestions from your end would be appreciated for this guinever.

Dear Suzanne, to relieve your leg cramps, take extra calcium with magnesium/ zinc supplements before you go to bed. When you feel a cramp coming on, pull your foot towards you rather than pointing your toe. By doing this, you can stop the cramp before it gets really bad. But if you start on the calcium, they should go away. Also potassium is good for leg cramps so eat more bananas.

What you have described kind of sounds like your water breaking to me: Salty liquid and white watery discharge. If it were just mucous, you probably wouldn’t have used this description. Please know that it is possible to have a slow leak that can heal itself. You can get it tested at your doctor’s office. Usually, when your water breaks, it is quite obvious because your clothing will be wet. ~blessings, Guinever

136. annie - January 14, 2008

Hi i am 37 weeks 4 days and 1 1/2 weeks ago I was dilated to a 3 and 50% . They said I was still high and thick but the baby was very well engaged. In fact the doctor said he could only reach in to the tip of his finger before feeling the babies head. I don’t ever feel contractions and I have always had to be started ( this is # 5 for me ) even my water has had to be broken. My last baby was 2 1/2 weeks early and I was 6 cm when I went in to get started. They broke my water and I had her 2hr 45min later. I guess my question is if I’m still thick and high how am I 50%. And how can he feel the babies head that easy? Should I be concerned the baby is coming soon or just go with the flow.

Dear Annie, it sounds like you are carrying your baby low–that’s perfectly fine and normal, especially this being your 5th baby. I suspect that if you wait long enough, labor will start on its own (meaning you don’t have to be induced) and that your water will break when it is time for it to break. The doctor does seem to contradict himself a little with all the information he gave you, but I wouldn’t worry about it. 50% effaced could still be considered thick since you’re only halfway effaced (trying to think like your doc here). It is possible that your cervix is high at the same time that the baby is low. How can the doc feel the baby’s head that easy? Don’t be concerned. Enjoy the rest of your pregnancy. ~birthing blessings, Guinever

137. Stacy - January 12, 2008

Thank you for your reply, I was wondering about my water breaking because I haven’t even lost my plug, however I forgot to mention to you that at my 34week/5 day check up, when she did my internal exam, the whole rest of the day I had a dark brown leakage for 24 hours after that ,Now that I come to think of it, could that of been my plug, or was that just the result of her exam? I don’t think you usually loose your plug at 34 weeks, or can you? I guess I am just concerned about this because I was told you usually don’t go into labor until you have lost your plug…I have contractions all the time throughout the day, some harder than others, but like I mentioned to you before they are not consistent, only the pelvic pressure is..it gets worse everytime I try to get up and walk..is that a sign of your cervix thinning? Thanks again for all your help…I am just so ready for this to be over, but who isn’t this far along, right? 🙂

Dear Stacy, it sounds like your doctor stirred something up a little bit when she did exam. Don’t put so much emphasis on losing your plug. Labor can start with or without it. When you lose it, all that means is that your cervix is starting to open enough for it to come out. Additionally, the plug can re-make itself if it does come out. Yes, pressure is a sign that stuff is starting to happen with your cervix. ~blessings, Guinever

138. Stacy - January 11, 2008

Hello, I am 38 weeks and 2 days, I am pregnant with my 4th child in which I was induced with everyone on their 40 week due date. Unfortunately, I dont have much recollection of my prior pregnancies this late into them. When I was 37 weeks and 5 days I had an exam and and my ob said I was i fingertip dialated and my cervix was still very long. I don’t go back until Monday January 14th, in which I will be 38 weeks and 5 days, I am experiencing very bad low pelvic pressure to where i can barely get up off the couch sometimes, and I can barely walk. I have had some major contractions, and sometimes they hurt mildly and sometimes its just the tightning feel and then loose again, but nothing I can count consistently. I have had no discoloration or sign of loosing my plug…is this a bad sign seeings how far along I am? Can your water break without losing your plug? I know I wont go early, I never did with any of my other 3, but I guess you never know. Any advice at this point would be a great help. Thanks!

Dear Stacy, I don’t think you have anything to worry about. Everything you are experiencing is normal. (and you could go early; there’s a first time for everything). Why are you concerned about your water breaking? You can lose your plug and not even know it because it can break away gradually. When your pain and pressure seem consistent and rhythmic, you’d be in labor. ~Guinever

139. anonimous - January 11, 2008

i’ll be 38 weeks in a few days. i’ve lost my mucous plug or at least part of it already, that was almost 3 weeks ago. i’ll have a lot of contractions then it will stop or slow down for a day or so. braxton hicks?? thats what i’m assuming, but when i have contractions my back, thighs, butt & that whole area hurts. my dr. says that my cervix is soft but i’m just a dimple ( i guess barely open ) but he thinks the baby is coming in a few days. i’m so confused. with everything stopping and going i feel like i’m getting nowhere and i’m really frustrated. any ideas to get things moving??? sometimes it will hurt so bad and i’ll wake up in the night because of pain but not unbearable so i know its not time to go to the hospital. everyone has been guessing that this baby will be coming in a few days for the past 2 weeks. but now the dr is saying in a few days. should i trust what the dr is saying or just give up?! i feel like i’m stuck!! i don’t know what to think because i’m a first time mom and this is the first time my dr has really communicated with me.. just that my baby for sure won’t make it to the due date. i don’t know what to think anymore i’m just worn out.. pleeeeassssssse help!

It sounds like you’ll be having your baby soon. Don’t give up. Your labor will start soon. There’s an emotional connection to the onset of labor and it sounds like you’ve reached it. Don’t say you’re getting nowhere. This pre-labor is preparing your uterus for the hard work of labor. ~birthing blessings, Guinever

140. Erica - January 10, 2008

I have a question…I’m 36 wks pregnant and with my first child i was starting to dilate already…granted I never dilated more than a fingertip on my own but that’s beside the point…I was just wondering (because I don’t know if I am starting to dilate already or not with this child) if it is safe to treat a yeast infection with monistat if you are starting to dilate??? Thanks!

Dear Erica, this is a question that you should ask your medical care provider. ~Guinever

141. Christina - January 7, 2008

I am 39-weeks pregnant with my second child. I was seen yesterday and was told that I have yet to dilate and that my cervix was far up and not ready. They went ahead and stripped my membrane in hopes to help bring on labor. So far no contractions still and no “discharge” just the same pressure every now and then from the baby. Should I be concerned that they may have to induce me if nothing happens? My ob told me he will not allow for the baby to go past 40-weeks. Not sure why since some babies(my first) are born at 42-weeks. Thanks!

Dear Christina, please remember that this is your birth, your body, your baby. You do not have to consent to an induction at 40 weeks. You obviously safely birthed your first baby at 42 weeks. Some women and babies just take longer than 40 weeks. But just because your first pregnancy was 42 weeks, doesn’t mean that this one will be. (to use me as a personal example, my five babies came at 40 weeks, 38, 40, 40, then 42). Your ob said that he doesn’t let babies go past 40 weeks. Ask him why. Then when he answers, ask him to show you the research to back it up. (because there isn’t any–there’s no increase in babies dying at 40 weeks, 44 weeks yes. 40-41 weeks NO) First time pregnancies are over 41 weeks and I realize this is your second baby.

There is a difference between a postdate baby (very sick baby, the placenta deteriorating and not nourishing anymore) and an overdue baby which just means that you’ve gone past your estimated due date. Proper monitoring past 40 weeks can insure that your baby doesn’t get post-date. ~let me know how it goes, Guinever

142. Elizabeth - January 3, 2008

I am not sure how far along I am as I know my LMP puts me at 36 weeks and an early ultrasound puts me at 33 weeks. I actually tend to trust my LMP because an ultrasound about a week ago put the baby at over 5 lbs and 34+ weeks. I know they are less accurate but my fundal height has been quite high and the midwife said she was not sure which date to trust. The dating ultrasound was done at 4.5-5 weeks and they found a good strong heartbeat. It was a med student who did the measurements. Anyway the baby dropped a few weeks ago and since I have had tons of pelvic pressure and pain. In the past 24 hours I have had a strong increase in cramping and a few contractions that were strong. I feel like there is something pressing on my cervical area but have no idea how to feel for my cervix. I have had loose stools for a few weeks and just feel weird. Also this is my second baby though I was induced at 35 weeks due to pre-eclampsia with the first. I was wondering if these are labor signs or if lots of pelvic and rectal pressure is normal in this stage of the game. Thanks.

Dear Elizabeth, in your situation I would not trust that early ultrasound dating for 2 reasons: one, because it was too early! Dating ultrasounds aren’t usually done until 7 weeks along (and I just googled this and confirmed it with a couple other sources). and two, because a med student did the measuring. Not that I think a med student is incapable of doing a correct measurement, but coupled with your LMP, and later ultrasound and the fact that your early ultrasound was done way too early–well, I’d just go with a later date.

With all that said. Relax. Enjoy the rest of your pregnancy. Whether you’re 34 weeks along or 36 weeks along, don’t sweat it. Your baby will be born when he/she is ready. As far as the pressure you’re feeling, yes it’s normal. It’s really hard to tell at this point whether you’re in early labor or if you’re just having some pre-labor activity. Only time will tell. You’ll know when you’re in labor. ~birthing blessings, Guinever

143. Brandi - December 31, 2007

I am 36.4 weeks pregnant and the last two days I have been experiencing total loss of appetite. I am so hungry, but the thougth of eating or drinking anything makes me want to vomit. I have been having a few contractions that radiate from my lower back to my belly and last about 20 seconds. These occur maybe 2-3 times an hour. I constantly feel like I’m either going to vomit or suddenly have diarreah. I just want to lay around. What could all this mean? Should I call the Dr.?

Brandi, it sounds like you might be sick. Try to stay hydrated. ~blessings, Guinever

144. JASMINE - December 30, 2007


Dear Jasmine, first drink water. Make sure you’re hydrated. If the contractions don’t stop, you should definitely call your doctor because it is so early in your pregnancy. ~Guinever

145. pen - December 28, 2007

i am 28 +4 weeks pregnant midwife told me babys head was fully engaged im having strong regular tightenings and the pressure on my pelvis and lower back is really uncomfortable and hurts alot my cervix is very soft and im loosing what i think is the mucus plug because the tightenings are getting stronger could this be a sign of prem labour i was admitted to hospital 3 weeks ago with contractions every one to two mins which they had to give me 4 different kinds of drugs to stop it eventually it did but its started again now as i say cervix has softened and im scared

Dear Pen, I can understand why you are scared since you are so early in your pregnancy with what you are experiencing. Yes, you could be in pre-term labor. Only time will tell. Keep your midwife updated with everything that is going on with you. ~Guinever

146. Heather - December 22, 2007

Hello, I am 29 4/7 weeks pregnant and am dilated 1 cm, long, soft, and the cervix is low. You can feel the presenting part on examination. I have been on bedrest (not strict) since 22 6/7 weeks due to having “preterm contractions” daily to the point where I am contracting every 2-3 minutes for many hours, sometimes twice a day. I did receive terbutiline once to stop the contractions. I am not on a terbutiline pump, or receiving daily terbutiline to stop the contractions because until this point my cervix has yet to change. My FFN done on 12/19 was negative. Should I be worried that I am now 1 cm dilated 29 4/7 weeks and continuing to have these contractions on a daily basis? Also, until recently my fundus measurements have been measuring exactly the week that I am. This past appointment I was measuring 1 and 1/2 weeks less than the gestational age. Should I be worried that my baby could be small for gestational age or that I have possibly “dropped” as some say? The same individual has been consistently measuring me and seeing me if not on a weekly basis than a biweekly basis. This is my second pregnancy. My first pregnancy I went post-dates and was induced at 41 weeks. I am a NICU nurse and had worked 12 hour shifts. In conjunction with having the frequent contractions (more than 6 in a 20 minute period) and working on a unit that you are on your feet a lot is why I was placed on bedrest (though not strict bedrest). I am used to taking care of the babies due to preterm labor, not being on the other end.

Dear Heather, it’s very good news that your cervix isn’t changing. Some women’s normal is contractions throughout pregnancy that don’t do anything until it’s time for labor…Stress can contribute to contractions. Could this be the case for you? You see all the babies in the NICU and you don’t want that to happen to you so you could be totally worried about pre-term labor…try to relax and enjoy the rest of your pregnancy. I think partial bedrest is a good idea. Make sure your nutrition is excellent and you’re getting enough water because dehydration can cause contractions.

At this point, I would not worry about measuring small. Baby could be transverse a little, you might have had a little less fluid than normal during your appointment, the baby might have dropped a little. If you continue to measure small and there doesn’t seem to be any growth and the baby definitely hasn’t dropped, then pursue more information, but for now, don’t worry.

~blessings, Guinever

147. KARA - December 20, 2007


Dear Kara, your labor could start any time now. Very soon, you will have your baby! ~birthing blessings, Guinever

148. magali - December 19, 2007

i am 33 weeks and 4 days pregnant with my fourth my due date is feb 9 and at 30 weeks i went into premature labor making me dilate to 3 cm 50% effaced my cervix is posterior and my baby is – 2 station my first baby was born at 41 weeks my second was twin and they were born at 32 weeks my third at 37 weeks and my fourth at 37 weeks as well i stay for one week at the hospital stopping my labor with this baby and then my doctor did a fnt test to see if i will deliver within the next 2 weeks and it was negative so they send me home i still having contractions but nothing regular i went to my appointment a few days ago i my cervix still the same i’m group b positive and the hospital where i have to deliver is 1 and 30 minutes away i’m so worried that i might into labor fast and not get the antibiotics i need for it! the question is can i ask my doctor to induce me at 37 weeks? my baby at 30 weeks was 3 07 ounces by ultrasound and she was practicing breathing!

This is something to talk with your doctor about. Please know that just because you tested positive for group b strep, if you were to test again, the results could be negative. This is a very unreliable test. Also, the chances your baby contracting group b strep are very very slim. The babies who then develop problems usually have other health issues. ~blessings, Guinever

149. Amanda - December 19, 2007

I had an ultrasound done at 36 weeks. They told me that I have a low lying placenta that wraps from the top of my uterus to 2 cm away from my cervix. They told me its on the side toward the front of my belly. I’m petrified of hemorrhaging and the docs not being able to stop the bleeding. They told me that I should be okay, but that’s not reassuring enough. Are there any questions I should be asking that may relieve my mind? How common is this and what are the rates of maternal and fetal mortality?

Dear Amanda, if you have been doing normal activity throughout your pregnancy and have not experienced any bleeding, you should be ok during your labor. The danger lies if your placenta is actually over your cervix which is not the case for you. When I say normal activity, I mean walking, other exercise, daily tasks and sexual intercourse.

If you were to start bleeding, they would wheel you to the OR and can quickly do a c-section. I have no idea what kind of birth you want or how you have prepared, but if you’re planning a natural birth, you’ll be aware of what’s going on with your body and you would know if you started to bleed. But if you get the epidural and can’t feel anything and you’re just sleeping or resting, then you may not even realize if you started to bleed. Just a thought.

If you start to bleed, go immediately to the hospital and call your doctor. Brownish discharge or blood tinged mucous is ok and normal and nothing to worry about… but a red flow or period type flow is not normal for pregnancy and labor.

I’m hoping to put your mind at ease here. I think you’re going to be ok, based on what your doctors are saying. Low lying placenta which you have described is very different than placenta previa. ~blessings, Guinever

150. Alllison M - December 17, 2007

I am 29 weeks pregnant and have had some fluid leakage with sex. I am scared about a premature ROM and amniotic fluid leakage. I have also been having braxton-hicks contractions. I have been to the MD since and my cervix is not dilated or effaced. I was wondering if you can have a premature ROM if your cervix is intact.

Dear Allison, yes, your bags of water can rupture even if you’re not dilated at all. Also, you can have a small tear that can repair itself and you can continue your pregnancy with no problems. When you went to the MD, did they do a PH test to see if you were leaking amniotic fluid? If yes, and it was negative, your water probably didn’t break.

Sex can cause contractions and can also account for the extra fluid leakage. But if you continue “leaking,” consider getting checked out again. ~blessings, Guinever

151. britney - December 16, 2007

I am 38 1/2 weeks pregnant. At my last visit the doctor told me that i am a fingertip dilated and have been for the past 2 weeks. he hasn’t said anything about effaced, all he has said is that my cervix has been soft for about a month or longer. i am due on dec. 27th and hoping to be induced so that i can be home for christmas. i have heard that sex, walking, and drinking lots of water help you to dilate. my doctor will not induce me until i am dilated 2 or 3 centimeters. is there anything else i can to help dilate faster? i have heard that you can eat certain foods to help. is this true, and if so would u happen to know which foods?

Dear Britney, effacement is the same thing as being soft. Consider carefully before being induced. Convenience inductions which is what yours would be often lead to cesarean section. All the things you mentioned help with bringing on baby. Spicy foods are known to induce labor. ~blessings, Guinever

152. Marquisha Smith - December 15, 2007

I’m 31 weeks pregnant..I’m 1 and a half dilated.. I feel alot of
pressure in my back…and when I urinate it hurts and when I wipe
there is a pinkish color…I have been to the hospital twice, they
say that it’s nothing to worry about…This is my first child…Is this Normal.

Dear Marquisha, it is a bit early to be having pinkish discharge. Hurting when you urinate is not normal and I would get checked out again…~blessings, Guinever

153. Elisabeth - December 14, 2007

I am 38 weeks pregnant today, and 4 days ago I was 1cm dialated and 50% effaced. However I had a yeast infection. I have been treating nightly and for the past 2 mornings been getting a mucusy discharge (greenish yellow to clear)… it lasts all day (a little at a time) but there is more in the morning. Is this the medication or mucus plug?
Also, this is my third child and I had my last one 14 months ago… he was born “sunnyside up” without them realizing this until he was born. How do I avoid this happening again? My second labor was much longer and more painful than the first, and I would like to avoid that at all costs. I use a birthing ball daily and do pelvic tilts… but he still changes positions quite often….Also… I didn’t have my first ultrasound until I was 17 weeks (so they said). I was breastfeeding when I got pregnant and wasn’t sure of the dates…. could my due date be off?

Dear Elisabeth, don’t worry about your due date! Read this. The best place to get information about encouraging your baby to be in the best position for birth is at the spinning babies website. ~hope this helps, Guinever

154. Christina G. - December 13, 2007

I have a quick question. I am 8 months pregnant and my doctor won’t see me until I pay him off for the labor process. If I go into labor will the hospital reject me? I am scared. I almost have all the money saved up.

Christina, I do not think that hospitals turn away women in labor. If you don’t have a doctor or if the doctor you go to doesn’t want to help you in labor, then you will get the doctor who is “on call” at the hospital. ~Guinever

155. Cassi - December 12, 2007

Hi im 33 weeks pregnant and im having alot of pressure and a stretching-tingling feeling in my lower pelvic and vagina area! It even hurts to walk! Ive had alot of cramping in this past week!! Sometimes my stomach gets really hard and it make me sick to my stomach like im going to vomit! I went to my doctor last week and she said that im not dialated but i was wondering could i be now??

Cassi, the sensations you are describing do soften and dilate the cervix, but not always. Were you having these pains before you went to the doctor? A vaginal exam occasionally causes cramping for a few days. ~Guinever

156. Laura - December 11, 2007

I just went to the doctor for a visit due to loss of some of my mucus plug, slight spotting, and extra pressure around my pubic bone. I am 32.5 weeks and I know that going early would not be good at this point but I delivered my daughter early too. The doctor said that the membranes had not ruptured, that there was extra mucus, and that “it” was a finger tip. What does this all mean?

Laura, membranes not being ruptured means your water hasn’t broken. “It” refers to your cervix which is the opening of your womb. It must open to 10 centimeters in order for your baby to be born. A fingertip means one centimeter. So all this means is that your cervix has started to dilate. Some women start to dilate this early and yet carry their pregnancy full-term. Because you are still pretty early, you should probably do things that discourage dilation–take frequent breaks during the day to rest. Lie down to take pressure off the cervix. Make sure you are eating healthy and getting plenty of water to drink. ~Guinever

157. Kristina - December 7, 2007

Hi, I am 31 weeks 5 days pregnant with my 5th child. I think my pelvis is separating. My ob says there is nothing to be done about the pain. For about a month now my vaginal area has felt bruised and sore. Standing sitting walking rolling over in bed any leg movement hurts. About 2 weeks ago I noticed my pubic bone close est to my vaginal area is tender to the touch in the center. It is now tender for a bout 2 inches up and you can feel the ridge of my pelvic joint now. Over the weekend I had the most awful muscle cramp pains all the way across my pubic bone top to bottom hip top hip. They double me over and were so bad I literally could not move through them. And it lasted about 24 hours. 12 of which i spent on my behind trying not to move. After that my hips started to hurt on top of the rest of the pain I was having. I started getting the pains again yesterday am so I parked my behind and did nothing. (well as much of nothing as 1 can do with 4 children) They didn’t get as bad as before and actually went away fairly quick. I just can’t believe there is nothing i can do to try and stop this pelvic pain. If it gets much worse i am going to be bedridden. I would rather have gallstones again. Also my cervix is already soft n mushy and i am dilated a little bit. The outer cervix furthest from the baby is big and it funnels in closest to the baby to about 1/2 -1 cm. I am just falling apart at the joints. I seem y ob again monday at which point i have to start 2 times a week nst’s. (My baby has a 2 vessel cord) I have had no real contractions just random bh’s. I have never dilated early before or experienced such horrificpelvic pain. I think I would rather be in labor then deal with it again. And I have back labor everytime. Is there really nothing i can do to ease the pain?

Dear Kristina, Wow, that sounds awful. I hope that you can find some relief for your pain soon. I asked my friends over at Independent Childbirth because there are a couple of chiropractors who I thought could better answer your question. The following is a response I received for you. hope this helps, Guinever

Have mom lie on her back on the floor with her feet on the floor and her knees up. Keep the feet touching and have dad put his hands between her knees. Mom needs to pull together while dad “wishbones” her legs….GENTLY. She may get a “pop” or a crunch sound or no sound at all – all of which is perfectly normal. She may even feel it in her sacroiliac (SI) joints. This is classic for pregnant moms. He should keep doing this until they strengthen up and he can’t pull them apart. If they don’t strengthen within a few days of doing this, then, she may need to go see a chiropractor and get her SI joints checked. Often, the pubic bone won’t release unless I’ve adjusted the SI joints and vice versa….since it’s all connected.

I had my pubic bone adjusted about 20 times during my first pregnancy, none during the 2nd and only twice with the 3rd (so far).

Where is she located? She can always try finding a Doctor of Chiropractor at http://www.icpa4kids.com

A good calcium is also important. http://www.worldlifesupplements.com but pubic symphysis dysfunction is common, and I usually give the moms Ligaplex I to help the Ligaments hold and then take them off of it at 36 weeks. It holds the adjustments and makes the mom feels TONS better by strengthening the ligaments.

Dr. Jen

158. Suzanne - December 6, 2007

Hi, I’m only 18 weeks along in my second pregnancy, but I’m doing some research on induction because I was induced with my first child. From the time my doctor started doing vaginal exams at the end of my pregnancy (32 or 34ish weeks I guess) I was 2 cm. dilated and effaced and for the last two weeks I was 5 cm. and 80% effaced (I never felt a contraction to that point). She wanted me induced two days before my due date because she said she was afraid my labor would be too fast and I would have the baby before I got to the hospital. I don’t want to be induced again because it prolonged my labor to 19 hours (no contractions even with the most Pitocin they could give me until they broke my water after 11 hours) and I feel it was unnecessary. Recently, I found out that if you’re dilated beyond 4 cm. there’s the possibility that the baby’s cord will fall out and that can pose a great risk to the baby. I do not want to be induced again, but I don’t want to threaten the life of my child. I cannot find anywhere that this (the cord coming out or being dilated for too long) that this is a stated reason for inducing labor. Can you give me any information on the subject?

Dear Suzanne, I hope that I can put your mind at ease about cord prolapse. If your baby is low and engaged, there is no danger of cord prolapse. Cord prolapse happens when the baby is transverse or lying sideways. This can be caused by too much amniotic fluid so your baby is just floating around. It happens in women who have had many children and their muscles are separated so the baby isn’t held in place. So if you get to the end of your pregnancy and your baby’s head engages, the cord will not prolapse.

I don’t think that dilation has anything to do with cord prolapse. I think it could happen at any dilation from 1-10 if the water breaks and the head is not engaged. I think that you’re doing the right thing in researching early in your pregnancy. I encourage you to wait until labor starts on its own. Also, there is no need to get vaginal checks during pregnancy, especially at only 32 weeks along. If you must, wait until at least 38 weeks. ~blessings, Guinever

159. nadine - December 6, 2007

My best friend is about full term now. The problem I am wondering about is how the doctor calculated her due date. According to the doctor, her date of conception was the beginning of April, but my friend found out she was pregnant BEFORE that when she missed her period in March, and she wasn’t sexually active at or before the doctor’s claimed time of conception. I personally believe she was due about two weeks ago. The baby has been head-down since the beginning of October and she has been dialated 3 cent and 60% effaced for almost 4 weeks now, with on and off contractions during that time. When she asks her doctor questions, her doctor doesn’t say much or treats her like the doctor could be doing something better with their time. Am I wrong to second guess her doctor when I KNOW that it wasn’t possible for her to have gotten pregnant during the doctor’s observations??

Dear Nadine, please read frequently asked questions about due dates. ~blessings, Guinever

160. Brandi - December 5, 2007

I went to my Dr. 2 weeks ago because I was having lots of pain, pressure, and some contractions. He said it was being caused from a bladder infection and put me on an antibiotic. I took this for a week and felt fine. The day after I finished the meds, I began to feel the exact same way as before. I went back to the Dr. today and told him this and he sent me to have a urine culture. I keep having sharp pains that come and go and most of the time they hurt so bad, I can’t move. They are not regular, but they occur throughout the day off and on. Could I possibly be having contractions due to my infection and could this cause me to go into labor?? Also, one other question.. sometimes when I touch my belly, it hurts to even touch it, usually just in one spot at a time. I would compare the pain to maybe touching someone on a bad bruise-or a very sensitive area. Is this normal, maybe from all the stretching?

Dear Brandi, It could be a coincidence that you were feeling better with the antibiotics, but then again, they could be related…Drinking cranberry juice helps with bladder infections and UTI’s. Plus make sure you’re getting enough water to drink and minimize or even eliminate your sugar intake. The intermittent pains that you are experiencing could be contractions. Some women don’t like to be touched on their pregnant belly–kind of sensitive, but not necessarily painful. I would just wait for that urine culture to come back and go from there. ~Guinever

161. Mary - December 5, 2007

The pain is constant, it hurts less if I keep my legs closed. Walking, sitting, rolling over in bed, and getting up from a sitting position makes it hurt worse. The pain is not in my abdomen. I do have some cramping when I have BH contractions, but don’t follow any pattern. I have been hurting for some time now, 2 months probably, when I told my doctor about the pain she wasn’t concerned at all, however the pain has gotten a lot worse just since last night, that is why I’m trying to get advice. I’m pretty sure my water hasn’t broken. I haven’t had any leaking or gushing at all. I’m thinking maybe the popping feeling was the baby kicking at a weird time? Would that make sense? And what about the pinching feeling? My cervix hasn’t been checked in months, could I be dilating?

Dear Mary, Is this your first baby? If not, are you lifting a toddler or preschooler or doing other lifting? If yes, stop because that can cause pain if you’re straining yourself. I’ve never heard anyone describe dilating as a pinching feeling. Perhaps a call to your doctor’s office is in order. ~Guinever

162. Mary - December 5, 2007

I am 38 weeks pregnant and am having excruciating pelvic pain. I am hurting all around my hips, butt just everywhere in the baby making area. It is very difficult to walk or do anything else for that matter including sleep. I have frequent contractions, which I’m sure are Braxton Hicks because they are inconsistent as far as timing and pain. I also have a pinching sensation in my cervix that last s for a couple of minutes at a time, and I went to the restroom a few minutes ago and when I went to pee it felt like my cervix popped. Do you know what’s going on and why I am in so much pain? P.S. I have two other children and never had any of this with them.

Dear Mary, describing your pain as “excruciating” doesn’t sound very good to me and something that you should discuss with your medical careprovider. Being in labor is a possibility if the pain comes and goes. If your baby dropped and engaged, that can cause pain because the weight of the baby can put pressure on your pelvic bone. As far as the “pop” goes, could your water have broken? ~blessings, Guinever

163. nicole - December 5, 2007

i am 33 weeks pregnant with my second child and i have been having lots of contractions the last few days so my doctor checked my cervix he said my cervix was soft. what does this mean is it normal to be soft this early i know i wasn’t with my first,will i go into labor early

Dear Nicole,I have no idea when you will go into labor. It is normal for some women to start softening earlier in pregnancy than they did with the first one. Lifting your other child, taking care of him/her, working can all take its toll. Take it easy. Get plenty of rest and plenty of water. ~

164. rsingh - December 4, 2007

I am 39 weeks and 4 days. Today my OB said that I was 1-2cm dilated. She suggested inducing me if nothing happens in another week. What can I do to increase the dilation naturally?

The baby will come when he is ready. Things known to promote labor include walking, having sex, and eating spicy food. ~Guinever

165. Ashley - December 3, 2007

I’m 38 wks with my first pregnancy and a little confused. At my 36 week appt the Dr. felt from the outside and said the baby’s head appeared to be engaged. On that premise I started using evening primrose vaginally at night.

At 37 wks the same Dr checked my cervix and said that I was 1 cm dilated, 50% effaced and at 0 station. Based on that information the doula who is working with me suggested some natural things to help me progress. I started taking evening primrose orally throughout the day as well as inserting it at night, along with black cohosh and red raspberry tea. I reached the point after 4 days of this where if I stand up/walk for any length of time I get tightening in the abdomen & lower back. They were even coming and going about every 10 minutes, like regular contractions, but they stopped after I sat down. The tightening and pain in my lower back is unreal and I’ve had to stop working (I have a very physical job).

Today at my 38 wk check a different Dr examined me and said I was not dilated and that the cervix had not thinned. When I said, “but last week Dr— told me that I was 50% effaced,” then she said, “Yes, I guess that sounds about right.” Isn’t that at least partially thinned? She also mentioned that my cervix was really high up and far back when she was checking it. But I am very sure about where my son’s head is–I can feel all his parts very distinctly!

I’m so confused about this conflicting information. I don’t know whether to continue trying to ripen the cervix with evening primrose oil and other natural remedies or if I am just wasting my time. The lack of progress discouraged me because I had expected the herbs to at the least have helped me get “ripe” if not put me into labor. The doula I am working with says it’s up to me if I want to continue trying to initiate labor. She also says I need to relax 🙂 I don’t know what to do.

Dear Ashley, based on what that second doctor told you, it sounds like maybe she didn’t actually feel your cervix since she said it was so high up and posterior and she was so quick to agree with the other doctor’s assessment. Your baby can be really low, but at the same time your cervix can be hard to reach if it’s posterior. The cervix can move around. If you put your fists under your hips during an exam, that action brings the cervix forward so the doctor can reach it easier.

If you are 50% effaced and 1 cm dilated, your cervix is ripe. Why are you trying so hard to put yourself into labor if you’re only 38 weeks along. Please know that the average first time pregnancy lasts over 41 weeks (not counting inductions). Yes, your doula had good advice. Just relax. Your baby will come when he’s ready. ~birthing blessings, Guinever

166. lacy - December 2, 2007

Hey Guinever..

its Lacy again, im now 36 weeks today.. still pregnant so no more threat of pre-term labor at this point! I am between 3- 4 cm dilated and about 70% effaced the last time they checked which was tues. my next appt is tomorrow. I am still posterior though. I was wondering, how do you get your cervix to go from posterior to anterior and when does it usually happen. after active labor starts, around 5-6 cm or what? I know its different for each person. but on average.. when do womens cervix change into the anterior position and is there any particular type of exercise you can do to help it change?? and do you recommend laborboost labor cream for prodomal labor or not?

Dear Lacy, I wouldn’t worry about your cervix being posterior. That thing migrates all the time. If you make fists and put them under your hips during an exam, the cervix should come forward. No exercise to help it change that I know of..now a posterior baby is another story. As you continue to dilate and the baby comes down, the cervix just comes down and forward with it. I don’t know anything about labor boost cream. ~Guinever

167. nikki - November 30, 2007

Hello, I am 36 weeks pregnant, dilated 1.5 cm and 50 % effaced, and I have been having a lot of cramping, backache and pressure . I have had a high risk pregnancy thus far and am just wondering what all of this means. thanks

Nikki, your body is just getting ready to have a baby. ~Guinever

168. Katrina - November 27, 2007

I think that I had strained a muscle. The night before I had a situation where I had to run to get help for someone so I think it was just all of the excitement because the pain has went away. Thank you for the advice.

Katrina, glad to know the pain is gone! ~Guinever

169. Katrina - November 25, 2007

I am 37wks. pregnant with my first baby and I went to the doctors office and they told me I was 2cm dialated. Two days later I went to the hospital because I was not holding down food for 2 days and one doctor told me I was not dialated and then the other said that I was a finger tip, so I have no idea how dialated I am. I am not having any contractions but for a day and a half now it has been hard for me to walk or even lift my legs. It has hurt to the point that I have cried and just froze. Is this normal or should I go back to the hospital?

Dear Katrina, the pain you are experiencing is not normal pregnancy pain. I don’t think you should go to the hospital but I would definitely call the doctor and see what is going on. Could you have strained a muscle? ~Guinever

170. Elena - November 20, 2007

Hello Guinever!
I am 3 days past my due date and had a BPP and growth scan earlier today. The technician also checked my cervix and advised me that it has shortened. Is it an indication of things progressing and soon to come labor?

Other than that I have been having BH, cramps and pressure over the last 2 weeks, but nothing consistent or regular. The symptoms come and go, and in the meantime I am getting very anxious with worry about the well being of the baby.

Two days ago I almost fainted at a store, and ended up going in for a check up. I had high blood pressure, and was monitored for 3 hours. The results of fetal monitoring were normal, for the most part, however, there was one drop in fetal heartbeat to 90. Further monitoring was fine, so was the blood work, so I was sent home. Any thoughts?
As always, thank you for your support!

Elena, being worried and anxious can cause your blood pressure to be high. RELAX and enjoy the rest of your pregnancy. Soon, you will have your baby in your arms. ~birthing blessings, Guinever

171. Lacy - November 16, 2007

You were right. a nurse checked me today since I kept having strong contractions on the monitor, and she said I was only 3 cm dilated and estimated me to to be 50% effaced and the cervix was really high up.. so either the other doctor was off on sunday or the bed rest really did help. But what I don’t understand is why i continue to have contractions. and some of them are kinda painful. when i have them, I first feel a tightening around my abdomen then it goes to my lower back and i feel pressure in my rectal area, very uncomfortable. they come in spurts… like this afternoon they were every 3-4 minutes on the monitor, enough to alarm the nurses and call the doctor to come and check on me, they wanted to give me terbutaline but i refused it, simply because i hate the drug, then they offered nubane, and seeing as how that is a narcotic, i definitely refused.. and so i settled for the nifedaphine, 20 mg. which gave me pretty bad headaches and made me feel dizzy.

if it is just the fact that i have a pretty hyperactive uterus that wants to contract, does this mean, the contractions won’t amount to anything and i could continue to go through this every day for the next 6 weeks and 2 days? the doctors all have said that at 34 weeks, is when they will stop giving medication to stop labor, if it happens, it happens pretty much. So I wonder if on sunday ( when ill be 34 weeks exactly) and i start to contract every few minutes, I wonder what they would do at that point. Doctors don’t break a womans waters at 34 weeks if shes having consistent contractions but not effacing, do they? Do you think they would let me go home at that point and do you think that would be in my best interest..Ive been out of work for 3 weeks now!

Lacy, I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to go back to work, but I do think it’s a great idea to go home once your doctor thinks it is safe to do so. Stay home and take it easy until you’re actually in active labor–could be a couple days or many weeks. Only time will tell if you just have an active uterus or if labor will start once you go off the meds that are stopping your labor. I don’t know what your doc will do about breaking your water. Please note that it is not a good idea to break the water until the baby is well engaged into the pelvis to avoid cord prolapse. And frankly, AROM is a procedure that is best not done under most circumstances anyway. ~blessings, Guinever

172. Elisa - November 16, 2007

Well the truth is, my doctor really su**s!!! We don’t like asking him questions. I have no clue about effacement. he checks me every time. Just asks me how I’m feeling, tells me it is all normal, I’m also assuming my baby is head down. Cause he says everything is great if the baby doesn’t arrive by the 22nd, they will schedule me to be induced the next week. I would always ask questions at the beginning but he answers us with real smart a** remarks. I guess cause he thinks I’m old enough to know everything. Well I’m not, especially if this is my first pregnancy. So I really couldn’t tell you if I’m softening, or my percentage of effacement.

It’s probably a little late to be switching doctors (although I think it’s never too late to switch; it’s a matter of finding another doctor or midwife who will take you this close to delivery), but you do not have to stand for being treated like this. You are the consumer and you have choices and could go to a doctor who treats you with respect. Your doctor should gladly answer your questions or refer you to childbirth educations classes and books for information. When you say he checks you every time, are you saying that he has done vaginal exams every month since the beginning of your pregnancy or just in the past few weeks? ~blessings, guinever

173. Lacy - November 15, 2007


Thank you so much for your quick response..I think the amnio is a good idea, I had just always assumed that was a procedure done to detect primarily down syndrome for those women older in age and preferably done earlier in pregnancy. I am only 22 years old and I dont know if my doctor would agree but I will discuss this with her in the morning, so thank you. one more quick question and i promise i wont ask anymore…, not sure if it has a definite answer, but i was curious, after losing a mucous plug, what is the longest period of time someone can go before going into active or real labor? is it possible, and if so how likely is it, for someone to lose their plug at 33 weeks but then remain pregnant until 39/40 weeks?

Lacy, when you lose the mucous plug, all that means is that your cervix has opened far enough for it to break loose and come out. Most women don’t even notice a big plug, per se, just increased mucous as it breaks away slowly over days. Losing the plug is not a definite sign that labor is about to start (sometimes it is). Women can walk around several centimeters dilated for weeks. So there is no answer to your question except to say you could have your baby today or you could go another 4-5 weeks and it has nothing to do with losing your plug a couple days ago.

Also, just some info that you didn’t really ask for, but it is possible for the cervix to close a little if there is decreased pressure on it or if your contractions stop. Also, some women’s water breaks pre-maturely and if it is a small break up high, the sac can heal itself (I know this hasn’t happened with you but I’m just trying to illustrate the miraculous ways our bodies can heal). Also, it’s possible to make another plug too.

As far as the amnio goes, I don’t know if it’s something that would be done in your case, but of course you can always ask. Usually, it’s done for the health of the mother. If the mom is sick, injured, has very high blood pressure, or pre-eclampsia and it is a danger to the mother to continue the pregnancy, an amnio is done to make sure the baby is ready before doing a cesarean.

You are obviously not in active labor right now (because you can read my website and type out questions). I don’t know if you’re having a really long prodromal labor or if you just have a hyper uterus that wants to contract. Have you been having painful contractions this whole time or can they only be seen on the monitor? I know they were painful when you went in, but has that changed? Were you under stress or really active when you had those 12 contractions in an hour? Were you dehydrated or hungry? All these things can cause contractions.

hang in there! Guinever

174. Lacy - November 15, 2007


I am 33 weeks and 4 days pregnant. At 30 weeks and 3 days I went in for a regular appt, and my obgyn found that i was 2 cm dilated and 60% effaced. She admitted me, put me on the monitor and sure enough found that i was having pretty strong contractions every 3 to 4 minutes. She gave me the shot to mature the baby’s lungs and another shot that made me feel really shaky and then nifedapine every 6 hours. I stayed in the hospital for one week and was allowed to go home on bed rest with nifedapine, since i hadn’t progressed any. Now i am 33 weeks and back in the hospital. I had 12 contractions in one hour on Sun, 11/11, they were pretty painful so i went to the hospital, and was checked measuring 4 cm dilated. I was put back on the monitor and was having strong contractions every 2 min- 3 mins. So they admitted me again. Ive been here four days, and they continue trying to stop labor by giving me the nifedapine, and last night since 20mg every 4 hours, didnt stop the contractions, they gave me another shot of the Terbutaline which makes me real shaky, combined with ambien. I am tired of this. I lost my mucous plug which was tinged with blood on tues and wed. The doctor wont check me to see how dilated i am because they say each time they check me it opens me up a little more and they don’t want to risk making things happen any faster than they already are. I guess my question is, when are they going to stop doing this to me…continuing to pump me full of medication every time i get regular contractions? What if i’m like 6 cm dilated and going into labor and they continue to do this. wont that cause distress to the baby, being in labor and going through contractions for that long? my ultrasound showed that the baby weighs approx 4.5 lbs today and they said the baby’s head is way down, in position and ready to go. How far dilated is the average you have to be in order for your water to break, because if my water broke , I know they couldn’t stop labor at that point due to increased risk of infection. It seems like I’m going to go through this forever, and what i don’t understand is if i already got the cortasteriods or whatever they are called to mature the baby’s lungs, then the baby, other then the weight, should be fine.. and if my body continues to contract like this every day, isn’t that a sign of my body telling me naturally, that this baby is ready to come out? I’m not one who is too fond of taking medication in the 1st place, i probably won’t opt for an epidural, even, so its really bothering me that i have to take all this medication in the hopes it will stop labor, when apparently, even the nifedapine isn’t working, this baby just wants to come out! and i don’t like the concept of “prolonging labor”.. and having to go through contractions every day! Is there a way to check how dilated you are on your own? and in your experience have you seen anyone dilated to 4 cm at my 33week gestation and end up carrying to 40 weeks, and what is the likelihood?? any help would be appreciated, its amazing how you answer so many pregnant women’s questions, I wish this website existed with my 1st pregnancy. Anyway, I’m sorry its so long. you don’t have to answer all my questions, I know theres a lot. any help would be appreciated though. I wish i had a doula!

Lacy, wow, you sure are in the middle of quite an ordeal right now. I’m surprised you were able to type out all these questions if you’re on the drugs to stop labor. I think you should have a serious talk with the pediatrician (not your OB, but the baby’s doctor.) Tell him you’d like to stop trying to stop the labor but you don’t want to put the baby at risk. Ask him if the baby is ready to born. I don’t necessarily recommend the procedure, but amnio can determine if the lungs are developed enough for breathing. Lacy, I know being in the hospital is a drag right now, but this early in pregnancy, every day counts in the womb and helps your baby get ready for life outside the womb. Even just getting to 34 weeks is better than having the baby today. Even if your baby’s lungs are ok because of the steriods, you baby will most likely have feeding problems because the suck reflex probably isn’t developed yet. My guess is that the baby needs at least 2 more weeks. That will be in your womb or in the NICU. So you can be on bedrest and try to make the best of a very bad situation, knowing that you’re doing the best for your baby, helping him to grow, keeping him close inside you or you can birth your baby now and then he’ll go to an isolette under a warmer for 2, 3, 4 weeks.

To answer a couple of your other questions, it is possible to dilate early in pregnancy and then go on to have a full term baby. I don’t know if that can and will happen in your case. Water breaking occurs at different times for each woman; some babies are even born in with the sac still intact.

I wish you all the best for a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby with no more complications. Let me know how it goes. ~blessings, Guinever

175. Elisa - November 15, 2007

I am 39 weeks. Went into my Dr. apt yesterday and was still not dilated. What can I do to help me dilate quicker? This is my first baby, and I was told that I could go past my due date which is Nov. 22. Any advice!!!

Elisa, walking, eating spicy foods, having sex are all things that encourage dilation. You didn’t say anything about effacement or softening. At this point, that’s more important than dilation and it will have to happen before you start to dilate. ~Guinever

176. Brandi - November 14, 2007

I was wondering if it is possible to put yourself into labor if your body is not ready. I’m not planning on doing these things, but its just a question. Like if someone did nipple stimulation or had sex or any of the other things that doctors tell you to do towards the end of your pregnancy to put you into labor. If someone started doing these things too early in pregnancy, would they go into labor? And if you start getting BH on a more regular basis, like more often and stronger ones, does this mean the real ones are close by? I get any where from 10-15 in an hour somedays-and not every hour. some are very strong and some are weaker, i just wondered if this meant i might be closer to going into labor than my dr. thinks. I’m currently 31 weeks (3rd child) and i feel i might be further along-maybe 2-3 weeks farther. I feel this way because my last period was not normal for me, very light and only about 2 days. Sorry for all the questions, just concerned and curious!!! one more question…is it normal for your vagina to hurt while pregnant? like when i pee, it hurts, not a burning sensation, but like something is coming out other than urine!! Thank you!

Brandi, if having sex during pregnancy caused premature labor then every doctor and midwife would be advising their patients to abstain throughout the pregnancy. It’s fine unless your doctor says no. For women with a history of several miscarriages or pre-term labor, it is advisable to hold off, but this doesn’t sound like the case for you. I have no idea if it’s safe to use a v. during pregnancy. That’s a question to ask your doctor. Also ask him/her about the burning sensation. Could be a urinary tract infection. Drink lots of water and cranberry juice.

It’s normal for you to experience contractions this early because its your 3rd pregnancy, but they might be a signal for you to slow down. Not drinking enough water can cause them so make sure you are drinking enough. Are you on your feet too much, are you carrying your other kids? If you’re having a lot of bh and are concerned, it might be a good idea to have a cervical check to make sure you’re not progressing yet. If you are starting to dilate significantly, a little bedrest (not necessary complete) is definitely in order for a few days. ~Guinever

177. Stephanie - November 12, 2007

i am 38 weeks. at my appointment last week i was told i have effaced and should lose my mucous plug soon. she said most preg. women dont even notice the loss of their mucous plug. i havent noticed it yet, but my discharge has been getting thicker-eww gross! but thats suppose to happen. im not sure if i have dilated any yet, and would like to know how i can tell if i have?

Stephanie, you can’t really tell if you’ve started to dilate unless you have a cervical exam. If you’re having lots of braxton hicks contractions or feel lots of downward pressure, you can assume that you’re starting to dilate.~Guinever

178. Rhonda - November 4, 2007

I am 38 weeks pregnant, and on my 10th pregnancy, had 2 way pre-term babies (one didnt make it) and one at 28 weeks (who is 14 now) and fine, this has been the roughest pregnancy ever! since 31 weeks I have had contractions every day, been back and forth to the hospital several times thinking I was in labor. I am 3cm dilated and 80%, have been this way for 3 weeks, and though I am ever so grateful this baby has made it this far, I am SO ready for this to be OVER!!!! I can’t stand the contractions anymore, they are killing me and my back! also when I do go into labor, the longest I have lasted was 2 and a half hours, so I am nervous about when this is going to happen, as I live an hour and a half from the hospital! I was wondering if you knew how far you have to be dilated for your water to break, and if you think mine will break first being this is my 10th pregnancy. Thanks so much

Rhonda, when a woman’s water breaks varies and is dependent on several different things. If your baby is posterior and is putting a lot of pressure on your cervix, but isn’t in the optimum position for birth, chances are it may break before the onset of labor. With some women, the water doesn’t break into labor is very well established. To ease your back pain, get on all fours, lean on an exercise ball, chair or couch. Have your husband (or one of your kids) do counter pressure on the center of your lower back. I wish you well and hope you have your baby soon. ~birthing blessings, Guinever

179. Brandi - November 3, 2007

Hello! I am currently 30 weeks pregnant with my third child and having lots of BH and pressure and everyone says my belly has dropped. I feel that my EDD is off and I will be sooner. Is this possible even if the ultrasound I had at 20 weeks says different? When I get the BH I can hardly move at times. I guess my main question is: Is it possible for the U/S date to be off and could I possibly be farther along that what they are thinking??

Brandi, ultrasound is not accurate for dating pregnancies past the first trimester. However, with that said, 30 weeks is still a bit early to be going into labor (baby is not ready!) even if the ultrasound were 2-3 weeks off (I don’t think it could be more). I wouldn’t worry about the due date.

What you’re experiencing is totally normal for a third pregnancy–dropping early, pressure down low, braxton hicks. If the BH started when your baby dropped, it’s your body just getting used to the baby’s new position for a couple days and they should stop. It helps to get down on your knees and plop down on a bunch of pillows to get comfortable with your butt up in the air. This will take the pressure of your cervix for awhile. Do this several times a day. You don’t say how many braxton hicks you are having–“lots” is a relative term. Drink plenty of water. Being dehydrated is a common cause of early contractions. ~blessings, Guinever

180. Elena - November 2, 2007

Hi Guinever,

It’s Elena again – I have another question on a different topic.

At my 37 week prenatal visit my doctor referred me for an ultrasound to check the baby’s weight. According to her, it’s a routine procedure for women who are larger than average (I’m 5’8 and now at 250 having gained 45 pounds throughout the pregnancy). My entire family are tall, larger framed, and so is my husband Now, there hasn’t been any concern until now – the baby checked to be of normal size through measurements and prior ultrasounds throughout my pregnancy.

My doctor explained that this is for “information only”, as she may suggest cesarean if the baby is over 11 pounds. My concern is that by the time ultrasound is performed and reported back to her, I’ll be only a few days away from my due date. Isn’t that cutting it too close? Wouldn’t it have made sense to do this earlier? Is this in fact just a routine procedure?

Thank you again!

Dear Elena, I have never heard of this protocol before. I do not think that it is widely practiced by obstetricians. It’s probably something that your doctor likes to do for some reason, but I do not think that it can be backed up by research. Please realize that you can say no to the ultrasound if you want to. Ask your doctor for the research that shows you having an ultrasound is a good idea. Ultrasound is not accurate for determining the weight of the baby. And if your baby really were eleven pounds, there’s no reason you couldn’t try a vaginal birth. You wouldn’t know if you could do it until you tried. Have you read my article, can my baby be too big for my pelvis?

Read what this CNM has to say about big babies. blessings, Guinever

181. Elena - November 2, 2007

Hello Guinever,

I am 38 weeks now, and have not had any cervical examinations during my now weekly prenatal exams. Can I expect one at my next visit, and if I do not receive one should I request it? Does the practice of checking or not checking vary from doctor to doctor?

I guess my main anxiety here, and I am sure it’s shared by many women at this stage, is that could I be already dilating, and having painless contractions? If it is possible to be in labor without painful contractions, how would I know when to go to the hospital? I have been having Braxton-Hocks for about 4 weeks now.

Thank you! Elena

Elena, rare is the woman who doesn’t realized she is in labor. Trust me, you’ll know! Contractions will be intense. If you want to have a natural birth, it’s best to stay home as long as possible.

Many docs start asking if you want to be checked at 36 weeks and then do weekly exams. This isn’t always the best thing. There’s always the risk of breaking your water or introducing infection. Relax, it’s fine that you haven’t been checked yet. ~Guinever

182. Desiree - October 30, 2007

Hey, i figured i would add more info in since i have the time. I went to the doctors yesterday and i was 1cm, she also stripped my membranes. I have had some bleeding today…well more like mucusy stuff with blood in it. I have some cramping this morning as well. I have only dialated 1cm since last week….i have been walking and having sex….is there anything else? And would they strip my membranes if they thought i was going to go soon….or only if they thought i was progressing enough…?? Thanks again

Desiree, stripping the membranes is an intervention that should have been explained to you more fully before you consented to do it. By placing the fingers between the bags of water and cervix and then “sweeping,” hormones are released that can start contractions. Usually, a woman has several days of persistent, yet light contractions before real labor starts. ~Guinever

183. leanne - October 29, 2007

hello nice site..i’m a bit worried that my baby decreased his movements ,he’s not that active anymore i’m a bit worried i’m 37 weeks and 4days..pls help me

Leanne, if you’re worried about your baby, please go into your doctor’s office. During your last month of pregnancy, as the baby grows, there is less room in your womb to move around. The kind of movements that you feel will be a little different than you’re used to. ~Guinever

184. Desiree - October 29, 2007

Hey, its me again…I have feel in love with your site, so i come back often. Its great to find a place where you can ask a question that is all about your symptoms and not only part, trying to find answers through others questions. Last night after having sex(to speed things along..lol) i started having contractions, from about 9pm to about 4am, nothing that hurt to bad, just uncomfortable. Now today i have cramping, it feels like i have my period…sometimes getting pretty bad, does this mean anything? I was not dialated at all last monday (the 22nd) so i feel like i have a while to go, maybe im wrong! My friend said that she had bad cramps the day of having her baby and so did my mom. Do cramps mean baby?? Sorry, i just didnt feel this with my son and i feel clueless….thanks again

Dear Desiree, cramps could mean you’re in early labor, but it could also be more pre-labor. You are definitely getting closer to having your baby in your arms. ~Guinever

185. Maggie - October 26, 2007

i am 36 weeks and 6 days i went to the doctors on thursday (yesterday) and i was told iam 2 centmeters dialted and the babys head is engaged. how much longer do you think ill be pregnant, and after the appointment i’ve been getting blood stains in my underwear but it looks brown? is that ok.. and almost 6 times an hour for the last few days ive been getting SHARP pains in my pelvic area and sometimes between my legs where i cant move it hurts so badly is that normal and what is it??

Maggie, the staining you’re having is fine–it’s from the exam; must’ve been pretty rough. What you are describing does not sound like contractions, but they could be if you just have a different way of describing them. Do the sharp pains come and go every few minutes and are they preceded by a building of pressure then a second or two of “sharp” pain? That would be a contraction. You should probably be checked out by your doc again. ~Guinever

186. Anna - October 24, 2007

I’m 21 weeks and 5 days pregnant. I haven’t had any bleeding or spotting at all during my entire pregnancy, not even after a pap smear or exams or intercourse. Today, I noticed that my CM is brown tinged. Not streaky, not thick, just the normal stuff I’ve had the whole time, only it’s light brown now. It reminds me of the light brown discharge at the very end of my periods. Is this normal? Should I call my doctor or just wait it out and see if it stops?

Anna, what you are experiencing is a normal part of pregnancy for some women, but it could also be the first sign of a problem or pre-term labor. Only time will tell. If you would feel more comfortable going to your doctor to get checked out, then do it. A little brown discharge is ok, but if you start having contractions, feeling crampy, if you have a persistent back ache (this early in pregnancy) or if you start bleeding, you need to definitely call your doctor. ~Guinever

187. SUSAN - October 23, 2007


Susan, I have no idea how much longer you’ll be pregnant. Could be any day in the next 6 weeks. Getting in a hands and knees position will help alleviate your back pain. Check out the spinning babies website for tips on how to make your baby turn so he’s not sunny side up anymore. ~blessings, Guinever

188. Desiree - October 23, 2007

Thank you Guinever…and how long should i wait to go to the hospital if my contractions don’t start on their own? Sorry i’m full of questions. Thanks again

Answering this question is tricky. What does your doctor want you to do? What do you want to do? What kind of birth are you hoping to have? If you go to the hospital without any contractions, they’ll induce you. Is that what you want for you and your baby? Usually, they want you to deliver or be close to delivering 24 hours after your water breaks because of the increased risk of infection as time elapses. But some studies show that the risk of infection starts when you go to the hospital and start having vaginal exams… ~Guinever

189. Desiree - October 23, 2007

I have a question, i am over 37 weeks prego and i have been having braxton hicks contractions for about 2 weeks, where for about 2 hours they will come anywhere from 8-19 min apart. I have went to the doctor and he said i was not dilated, can my water break with no dilation???…my water broke with my son…and i know its rare i hope i go that way again. Thanks and good luck to everyone and the bumps 🙂

Desiree, yes, it is possible for your water to break without any dilation, but if it does, you need to be extra patient or be induced if contractions don’t start on their own. ~Guinever

190. Kristie - October 18, 2007

Hello Guinever,

My due date is November 5th and my husband and I went to the doctor yesterday, I was told that my cervix is still long and there is no dilatation. I also keep feeling on and off nausea, pains, and cramping. I was just wondering if this is normal?
This is my first child, so any advice you can give will be much appreciated. Thank you so much. take care.

Kristie, everything sounds normal to me! Enjoy the rest of your pregnancy. ~blessings, Guinever

191. Dani - October 17, 2007

Hi Guinever,

It’s me again. I just had my 38 week check-up and still no cervical changes. I am using 2300 mg of EPO a day and am getting plenty of prostoglandins. Is there anything else I can do to help things along? I know everyone says that the due date is only an estimate, but since I am a surrogate – I know exactly when I became pregnant. We transferred 3 day embryos – so it’s not like I am estimating when my last period was, etc. My OB has scheduled an induction for 10/25 (which I want) but he says if I have no cervical changes at our 10/23 appointment, then the induction will be canceled. I know you said to be patient and I am being as patient as I can be, but remember, I know exactly when I became pregnant – there is no guessing game here.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Dear Dani, The thing about the length of gestation is that it varies from woman to woman, from pregnancy to pregnancy. If pregnancy were exactly 280 days long for every woman, then you would know the day that you would be having your baby since you know you were implanted on a certain day. But human gestation isn’t that exact. I really like how Dr. Bradley, author of Husband Coached Childbirth, compares the length of pregnancy to the time it takes apples to ripen on a tree. Just like most pregnancies last about 40 weeks, most apples are ripe at the same time. But you have some apples that are ready early and will fall off the tree. You’ll have some babies who are ready for life outside the womb at 34-38 weeks and are fine. Just like some apples hang on and on the tree for days and weeks after the rest of the apples have been picked and eaten, so some babies need to stay in the womb longer. If you pick an apple to early, its not good to eat. If you induce a baby too early, you’ll probably have a cesarean because the body wasn’t ready to give birth and the baby may have some breathing or feeding problems (or worse).

Hope this helps a little bit more to clarify, Guinever

192. Jeni - October 13, 2007

I am 40 weeks, 1 day and at my last appointment (last Tuesday) I was 1 cm dilated and 80% effaced. Will I be able to feel the dilation or the last 20% effacement? Also, I am constantly feeling shocks on my pelvic floor, is this the baby’s head?
Thank you, Jeni.

Jeni, you’ll be able to feel contractions when you have as they get harder and labor starts. You’re probably feeling the baby’s head. ~Guinever

193. Dani - October 10, 2007


I am 37 weeks with my 5th pregnancy and I have not started to dialate or efface. Still high, tight, and closed. Is there anything I can do to get things moving? I am taking 3 capsules of EPO orally and 2 capsules vaginally per day, drinking red raspberry leaf tea, walking, and having sex. I was having contractions every 10-20 minutes last Friday (10/5) for close to 10 hours, but at my last appointment this past Monday (10/8), no effacement and no dialation. I also lost some of my mucus plug Sunday night (10/7) and still no effacement or dialation. The OB said that baby is as low as she can go without being in the birth canal, but it is common for babies to “float” until labor begins. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I am a Gestational Surrogate and the baby’s parents are so ready to see their little girl….as am I! This is the most active baby I have ever carried and I am ready to not be pregnant anymore. Thanks for your help!

Dani, I think you’re doing everything possible help you and your baby get ready to birth. Remember your due date is only an estimation. Plus, you’re only 37 weeks. Patience, my friend, patience. ~Guinever

194. Jacque Blackburn - October 10, 2007

My siser-in-law is 31 weeks pregnant. This is her third pregnancy, the two other babies were born at 28 and 29 weeks. Her gyn/ob had her take progesterone shots weekly for this pregnancy, will the progesterone have any affects on the cervix not thinning properly? She is now in the hospital having contractions but the cervix isn’t dilating. They gave her breathine last night which slowed the contractions down.

It is good that your SIL is not dilating this early in pregnancy. Very good. The progesterone taken early in pregnancy shouldn’t have any effect on dilation. Your SIL still has 10-12 weeks until she’s full-term which is plenty of time to start thinning and dilating. ~Guinever

195. Elena - October 9, 2007

Hello Guinever,

I have a quick question regarding my EDD. My EDD was established to be November 17th based on the first day of my period (Feb 10th)and ultrasound. The problem is that prior to getting pregnant I hadn’t had a period for 4 months and ‘the period’ that was used for estimation was more like 2 days of light spotting.

I am have, however, absolutely certain as to the date of implantation. I was undergoing testing at a fertility clinic and on Feb 21st tested negative for pregnancy. On Feb 27th I started provera treatment to bring on my period to do further testing. The only time we had an intercourse in between was on Feb 25th. Considering I was not pregnant prior to that date, and that I started taking provera two days later, I believe that this was the implantation date. If that is in fact true, then my EDD is now November 10th, and not 17th.

Considering the irregularity of my periods, and my certainty as to the implantation date, can I base my EDD on the implantation date? Would you then agree that my EDD should be November 10th?

Thank you for your response and I hope this makes sense!


Dear Elena, your question kinda confused me a little until I realized that you might be talking about conception rather than implantation. First, let me define a few terms. Ovulation is when your egg is released. Conception occurs when the sperm fertilizes your egg and makes a baby. Implantation occurs about a week (not a definite time) after conception. What I think you are meaning to say (and I could be wrong here) is that you are positive that you conceived (rather than implanted) on February 25 since that’s the day you had sex and a pregnancy test prior to this date was negative. Am I correct in this assumption?

If you were sure about your ovulation date, I would more likely go with an EDD based on that but not on implantation or when you had sex.

To answer your question, do I think your EDD should be on a different date than what your docs are telling you based on your ultrasound. The answer is no. I think you should just stick with your EDD date of November 17. Early ultrasound done in the first trimester is accurate for pregnancy dating. That’s what you had so I would just go with it.

I would like to further explain why I would just trust the ultrasound even though you’re sure you conceived (you said implanted) on a certain date. There is a small window of time where you can conceive and that is about 24 hours after your ovulate. Sperm can stay alive for many days. So you might have had sex on one day and not conceived until several days later. Therefore, the day you have sex does not always equal the day you conceive. Also, you could have been pregnant when you took that pregnancy test at the clinic even though it came up negative. You may have been too early for it to yield a positive result.

I wouldn’t worry about the edd. Just be patient and you’ll go into labor when the baby is ready to be born. Healthy babies are born anywhere between 37 and 42 weeks gestation (and some earlier,some later). ~birthing blessings, Guinever

196. Casey - October 7, 2007

Hello I have hopefully a really simple question to answer. I am 33 wks today and for the last 4-5 days have been experiencing some very uncomfortable feelings I am gonna try to explain the best I can. What could they possibly be? Should I be concerned and call my OB?
Here is some info on the situation and the feelings hope you can understand.

1. The baby is in head down position and has been since 27wks.
2. When the baby is stretching I think that is what she is doing her head pushes down on my cervix I believe that is what it is.
3. When she pushes down it is very painful.
4. It feels like a cramping/ pinching inside my vagina where I would assume my cervix is.
5. It also feels like she is gonna fall out or something along those lines.
6. With that feeling I find myself holding myself to keep everything in where it is supposed to be if that makes sense and it is subconscious.

Any advice would be great thank you very much.

Dear Casey, I think what you’re describing might warrant a call to your doctor just to make sure everything is ok. Feeling downward pressure internally is normal as the baby grows and presses on your cervix. Even though it’s probably nothing to worry about, you should probably go get checked out. Having the feeling like the baby is going to fall out and you have to hold her in is unusual–be sure to tell your doctor this is what it feels like for you. ~Guinever

197. Heather - October 4, 2007

I’m 38wks and I am to the point where if i walk too much that my ankles swell and everytime i stand up i get another contraction. I haven’ lost my mucus plug yet but i’m dilated 2-3 cm on the outside, and not yet effacing on the inside. Is there anything you can suggest that i do to try helping my cervix to efface? Or at least try to help start the process? I’m so uncomfortable and i’m in so much pain anymore. I would like nothing more than to see my little girl.. SOON. Thank you!

Have patience. You will have your daughter in your arms soon. The last few days/ weeks of pregnancy are often miserable for some women. I’m not really sure what you mean by dilated on the outside/ not effaced yet on the inside. Your cervix inside does the dilating and effacing. First, it has to efface before it can begin to dilate. Having sex helps to soften the cervix. ~Guinever

198. Karen - October 4, 2007


I’ll be 40 weeks on Sunday and I’m pretty sure I lost my mucous plug today. However, yesterday my doctor swept my membranes and last night I had sex. Prior to intercourse I was having VERY strong contractions that felt like menstrual cramps and VERY sharp pain in my lower back. I had them all throughout the night and today as well. They have been irregular though and then I lost my mucous plug. I’m scheduled to be induced Tuesday, but would like to go into labor on my own. I’ve been taking Evening Primrose oil for three weeks, for the first two I was inserting one vaginally every night. Is there anything else I can do to get things going by Tuesday? Thanks!

Dear Karen, it sounds like you are doing the things known to soften the cervix-using the E.P. and having sex. Now all you need to do is have patience. If you really want to go into labor on your own, why don’t you? If you’re not in labor by Monday night, cancel your induction for Tuesday. Seriously. You can do this. You can take charge of your birth. As long as you are ok and your baby is ok, it is better to wait for labor to start on its own than to risk a chemical induction. 50% of all inductions in first time moms lead to birth by surgery. Let me know how it goes, Guinever

199. Heather - October 4, 2007

my sister is 39 weeks pregnant and this is her second baby her first was a c-section because the doctor was in a rush, is what it seemed like and he broke her water then she had to have a c-section, but this one she wants to have vaginally but she has a different doctor now and this one says that she will more then likely have to have another c-section if her cervix doesn’t do more dialating, her due date is oct. 6th. also she is only dialated to a 1 and 50% effaced. and she is having contractions. is there anything she should do.

She should wait until she’s in a really good labor pattern before going to the hospital. It sounds like the doc is ready to just do another c-section without letting her have a trial of labor. ~Guinever

200. louise bullock - October 3, 2007

Thanks so much for your advice guinever. Your site is fantastic and extremely helpful. I am nervous about friday (going into hospital to be induced at 8am!). I honestly dont know what they are going to do to induce me. They gave me an advice sheet regarding prostaglandin induction, but my community m/w seems to think that they will just rupture my membranes to get labour going rather than giving me prostaglandins as she said my cervix is soft, at -1 and 2cms dilated on monday. She told me that all it needs now is for the babys head to go a bit deeper and that will start things off.Ive been getting very strong tightenings which i can feel in the whole of my abdomen and my back also, but nothing regular. I cant understand why my labour hasnt started already, as ive been quite active during this pregnancy. Ive noticed that when i walk around a lot, i can feel pressure in my pelvis, as though the head is pressing down and its quite uncomfortable. I just hope the head has engaged now or it does soon so that labour may begin. Thanks again.

Louise, thanks for your encouraging words about my website. I wish you all the best in your upcoming birth. Hopefully, you will start labor before Friday morning! ~Guinever

201. Anna - October 3, 2007


I have a quick question. I am pregnant with my fourth child. I am at 38 weeks, dilated to a 4 and 80% effaced. I have had to been induced with two of my children because they said I was running low on water in my placenta. I did have an ultrasound when I was around 12 weeks and it said that I was almost a week further along then what my due date showed according to my last day of period. I had another ultra sound a month ago and the water was fine but the baby was showing it to be 2 1/2 weeks farther along. Then last week I had another sonogram to check water and still the baby showed to be 2 1/2 weeks farther along and the water was okay. I started having contractions today and my lower back is really hurting. It just doesn’t seem to be kicking in-or I am really impatient. I know you really can’t go by sonograms but could I be farther along then I think? I feel like I am going into labor but they are just still too far apart-would you say it’s going to happen really soon?

Early ultrasound performed during the first trimester is the most accurate when it comes to dating pregnancies. I wouldn’t worry about an actual due date. The baby will come when he is ready. It is normal to have several rounds of pre-labor. Some women have several weeks of contractions before “real” labor kicks in. ~Guinever

202. louise bullock - October 2, 2007

Hi guinever,
Just to update you. I went to see the midwife yesterday (monday) and she performed another membrane sweep (3rd one!) to try to get labour started, as i am due to be induced on friday morning (which i am not looking forward to at all!). She said that i am 2cms dilated and cervix is -1 but head is not fully engaged yet and needs to push down. She told me that they will probably rupture my waters when i go to hospital friday. I have been walking loads, squatting down low and bouncing like crazy on my gym ball. Do you have any other suggestions i could try to start myself off on my own without induction? I’m scared to death and would dearly love labour to start naturally and gradually and to remain as active as possible.

I strongly caution you on getting your membranes ruptured before the head is engaged. If the head isn’t engaged in your pelvis, the cord can slip out first when they break your water. This is called prolapsed cord and an immediate c-section is in order. If the cord comes out first, then the head can compress the cord. Not what you want!

Also, don’t squat until the head is engaged. The effect of squatting opens the outlet (good for pushing your baby out during 2nd stage labor ) of the pelvis but at the same time, it lessens the inlet of the pelvis. You want the inlet as wide as possible so the head can come down in it. Walking is good for this because your pelvis moves, and its easier for the baby to negotiate his way down. Stair walking can also be beneficial in a situation like yours.

Skim through the Q and A section on this article and see lots of tips of helping labor to start on its own. ~birthing blessings, Guinever

203. Tanya - October 2, 2007

This is not her first baby she has a 3 yr old. He was a problem pregnancy as well She was on bed rest from 23 weeks with him.
She has contractions all the time sometimes doubling her over but when she lays down they go away…which i told her was a good thing. However her husband is in the service and she’s not too close to home so there’s no one there all the time to help her so she can lay down often. She’s on weekly doctor visits and she’s calmed a little since I last posted.

Thanks for the update. ~Guinever

204. Kiara - October 2, 2007

Hi, I am 38 weeks pregnant and I was told that my cervix was starting to thin out, but was still hard. Are there any exercises, or anything I can do help my cervix efface?


Dear Kiara, there aren’t any exercises to thin your cervix, but having sex helps. The prostaglandins in semen soften the cervix. Walking is also helpful because you’ll have braxton hicks contractions. ~Guinever

205. Angela - October 1, 2007

Hi my name is Angela, I was wondering I am 31 weeks pregnant on wed,Oct 3rd and my baby keeps kicking me in the cervix is this normal for this time. I don’t know if it is pushing me to a early delivery or not. But I have a scheduled c-section at 39 weeks. I didn’t experience this with my two other pregnancies, They were both c-sections to. could you maybe give me some insight in this.

Thanks Angela

Dear Angela, I don’t think your baby kicking you in the cervix will lead to an early delivery. If you’re concerned, why don’t you call your doctor’s office. ~Guinever

206. Amanda - September 30, 2007

what are the other ways besides a epidural I’m scared about getting one. I don’t want one but I don’t think I can go w/out one. I want to know other ways instead of the spinal tap.. I am very movey I cannot stay still.


Dear Amanda, if you don’t want to have an epidural, then you’re going to have to prepare yourself for laboring without one. Please read my article, top 10 things you should do to have a natural birth. Laboring in water is a good way to ease the pain during labor. Being free to move around and changing positions when you want to also helps. Some women get drugs (stadol, nubain, or demerol ) in their IVs, but the drugs given don’t take the pain away. ~Guinever

207. louise bullock - September 30, 2007

Hi there,
I am now 40 wks & 4 days. I had 2 membrane sweeps (monday & thursday) last week, which made me bleed a little and have irregular contractions for a while after, but then they just disappeared. After the doc did the sweep last thursday, she said i was 50% effaced, cervix was closed and soft and she thought i would go into labour naturally following the sweep. I have been having lots of very strong tightenings across my bump and also backache on and off for a few days. I am so eager to have my baby now, i’m so huge, scan estimated my baby to be very long and approx. 9lbs! I am due to be induced on friday (i will be 41 wks and 2 days). Does it sound to you that labour may be round the corner. I do not really want to be induced and am so hoping that baby will make an appearance very soon. The BH contractions are very strong at times and occur most often when i am walking a lot, but no real pain as yet.
This is my 3rd baby, I have 2 children aged 12yrs and 9yrs and they were both uneventful vaginal deliveries.

Louise, It sounds like you might have your baby soon.~Guinever

208. Amanda - September 28, 2007

can i take a duo-neb treatments while pregnant im 39 weeks. its a breathing treatment

Dear Amanda, this is something to discuss with your doctor. As with any medicine or procedure (while you’re pregnant or not), weigh the benefits and the risks and see if there are any alternatives. Consider what would happen if you didn’t do this right/take it now. In this case, if your breathing is compromised, so is the baby’s.

209. Erica - September 26, 2007

Well… They checked me for an UTI and said everything is fine. However, now I am a fingertip dilated and 40% effaced. How long can one go in pre-term labor with the effacement process having already began? ~Erica

Erica, I really don’t know how to answer your question. You could go either way. You could just be one of those women who starts effacing really early in pregnancy but can still go full-term. OR you might be looking at pre-term labor in the next month or so. I’m sorry that I can’t give you a more definitive answer. If it were me, I would avoid things that can encourage labor to start; I wouldn’t do complete bedrest, but I would definitely take it easy, drink lots of water, not eat anything real spicy, and definitely not have sex or breastfeed. ~blessings, Guinever

210. Eve - September 26, 2007

Hey, I love your site! I am 39 weeks (due 10/01) and since Sunday 9/23 I have had off and on contractions, lower back pain/pressure, some loose bowel movements and my mucous plug has come out over the last couple of days. My first baby was born at 36 weeks after my water breaking spontaneously, the administering of pitocin (I was only 1cm with no contractions whatsoever), and pushing for about 30 minutes. I am in uncharted territory for me right now so I was wondering if you think I will go into labor soon or not. I feel really good, not too uncomfortable except for the lower back pain/pressure and pressure in my bottom off and on. Also, could he be “sunnyside up” considering the back pain/pressure, and if so what are the chances of delivering a “sunnyside up” baby vaginally? Thanks for your help.

Dear Eve, it sounds like you might be having your baby soon. It’s possible your baby is posterior. If that’s the case, you’ll probably go into labor quickly once he moves to the more favorable anterior position. OR if you go into labor while he’s still “sunnyside up” as you call it, the labor will be longer because it just takes longer for baby to come down in that position and/or it takes time for him to turn. Some babies are born facing up, and some turn on the perineum at the last contraction. So there are several different scenarios that could happen for you. Also, not all back pain is caused by a posterior baby. As you have contractions, the uterus pulls forward, and it can make your back sore where it’s attached. ~blessings, Guinever

211. crystal - September 25, 2007

hi, i’m going to be 37 weeks thursday and i’m going to have a c section the 15th of oct, i went to the doc and she told me my cervix was starting to softening i had my 1st child by cesarean section because of breech. This one she told me has dropped even more since last appt. I have been feeling lots of pain down there like sharp pains is this my cervix softening more or the baby’s head hitting my cervix?

Dear Crystal, Are you scheduled for surgery just because you had surgery before because you/and or your doctor don’t want to do a VBAC? Do the pains feel like contractions? If not, maybe you should ask your doctor about them. ~Guinever

212. Amanda - September 25, 2007

Hey. i am 38 weeks, and for two weeks i was dilated to a 2 almost three, now i am closed. and they did tell me that my cervix was high. Could that make me dilate and undilate? i have also passed my mucus plug, and have been having brown-tinged mucus discharge for weeks now. is this a sign of labor starting? and also a really strong pain in my pelvis area.. what is this? thanks.

Dear Amanda, It is possible to experience “backwards dilation” if the baby isn’t putting pressure on your cervix anymore. If a different doctor is checking you, that could account for the difference too. If the “really strong pain” in your pelvis lasts for about 30-60 seconds at a time, then you get a break, then it comes back a few minutes later, then the pain would be contractions. But if its a pain that is always there and doesn’t come and go, then this would be cause for concern and you should call your doctor. Brown-tinged mucus is normal and fine. ~Guinever

213. Mya - September 24, 2007

I am trying (and am committed) to having a natural birth. My husband and I have taken a Bradley birthing class and have done a lot of preparation for a natural birth.

I am 38 weeks along and have been almost fully effaced for 2 weeks. At my weekly appointment this week, my OB tried to manually dialate my cervix without prior consent. Also, she is encouraging me to have this baby sooner rather than later (I am having a very normal and healthy pregnancy). I’ve tried researching this and have found little to no information…

My questions are:
– why would my OB be motivated to have me deliver early, especially when I have discussed my birthing plan with her and she knows that I want to have a spontaneous start to labor? Also isn’t it true that it is common for first time moms to deliver after their due date?
– would I be completely off my rocker to switch to a midwife and deliver at a birthing center this late into pregnancy? I don’t think I can trust my doctor now and would like for someone to deliver my baby who understands the timing of mother nature and who doesn’t have their own timetable in mind.

Dear Mya, it is never too late to switch care providers during your pregnancy, and under the circumstances, I think it would be a very good idea if you did. I applaud your courage and encourage you to do it. Call the birth center right away or the midwifery practice and explain your situation and see if they’ll take you. But please know that midwives do inductions too.

I don’t know how brief I can be in the answer to your first question. Robbie Davis-Floyd has written an entire book on the subject: Birth as an American Rite of Passage.Some OB/GYNS are in the business of managing birth. They tell you what they think you want to hear. They’ll go along with whatever you say you want during your birth, knowing that they’ll take over in the last month of pregnancy. Pregnant women (because of labor hormones) are vulnerable and of course they want to do what’s best for the baby and go along with whatever the MD says to do. Afterall, the doc is the expert and will save them from all the things that could go wrong during labor. MD’s push induction because this way they can control the timing of labor. They’ll have you deliver when it’s convenient for them. If they induce all their ladies, and break the waters at the right time and keep upping the pitocin, they can just go from room to room, catching babies and then be home by supper. They can’t have someone like you messing up the assembly line. If you don’t take their drugs, they can’t control your labor. If a mom’s labor is taking longer than they want it to take, then its off to the OR. Not all docs are like this…and there’s so much more that can be said on the subject, but I’m stepping down from my soapbox for now.

Please let me know whether you switch. If you do leave your current OB practice, tell them why you are going. It’s important that these docs know that there are thinking women in the world who won’t be bullied into unnecessary procedures and interventions. Birth is business afterall, and there are choices and you can choose to take your business somewhere else. ~blessings, Guinever

214. Erica - September 23, 2007

Thanks Guinever. My diet couldn’t be better. Just about all I eat vegetables and fruit along with lean meats and plenty of whole grains. I also drink only juice, water, or milk. They tested for dehydration all 3 nights I went to triage and I have been on bedrest. I guess this is why I’m so confused. But the doctor said some women just go early for no reason, I’m just hoping not to be one of them. With my cervix a fingertip dilated, how long could this last and stay that way with contractions?

Dear Erica, it’s good to hear that your diet is great. Some women can have contractions throughout their pregnancy without ever going into labor until they’re full term… I hope that you are one of them!! No one knows the cause of pre-term labor (except for obvious things like drug use, which I know isn’t the case for you) It sounds like you’re doing everything you can do to sustain a healthy pregnancy. I forgot to ask you last time–did they check you for a UTI (urinary tract infection)? That’s a common cause of contractions as well. ~blessings, Guinever

215. Erica - September 23, 2007

I am currently 27 weeks and 2 days. I started having contractions 4 days ago along with lower back pain and heavy period-like cramping. I went to the LDR that night and they gave me a shot of Brethiene and sent me home on it. The next day I was still having contractions, more frequently. At the LDR they were not too intense but they were every 1.5- 4 minutes apart after they had given me a double dose of Procardia. The nurse came in shortly after and gave me another shot of Brethene. That calmed things down a bit. I manged to get through the next day, however, still having 4-6 contractions in an hour. That night, I passed a 4-in long, what appeared to look like a yellowish glob of snot, very thick. The next night I went to the hospital after having 13 contractions in and hour and they did a fetal fibronectin test which thankfully came back negative. At the beginning of the night in LDR, a dr checked my cervix and said it was high and thick. Two hours later, a nurse checked and said she could fit her fingertip in there. Today I lost another thick snot-looking glob while laying down on bedrest which I have been since 26 weeks, 5 days. Is it possible that was mucus plug and I’m not going to end this pre-term process? I haven’t stopped having contractions since the first day while on medicine to stop them. I am really scared that this baby doesn’t want to wait out till December.

Dear Erica, It sounds like you’ve probably passed a mucous plug (or two), but that doesn’t mean that you will definitely have your baby soon. It is still possible to carry your baby much longer. However, there is an equal chance of you going early. I’m sorry I can’t have more encouraging news for you. Read what the March of Dimes has to say about the fibronectin test. Your negative result usually means that you will not give birth in the next 2 weeks. Are you eating and drinking adequately? Being dehydrated causes contractions. Also being really active can cause contractions. My advice to you would be to take it easy, and get plenty to eat and drink. ~Guinever

216. Tanya - September 21, 2007

My friend is 31 weeks not dilated at all but 70% effaced is that a sign of problems to come? She’s worried and I don’t know what to tell her. Please give me some insight so I can help calm her.

Dear Tanya, being effaced this early in pregnancy is not necessarily a bad thing. However, because you didn’t give me much information, I hesitate to say that she has nothing to worry about. I wonder why she got checked this early in pregnancy. Was she having strong contractions and so the doctor checked to make sure she was not dilating? Is this her first baby? ~Guinever

217. Amy - September 20, 2007

Around 3:00 this morning I woke up with contractions that were coming on between 8 to 12 minutes and about 60 seconds long. I could not get any rest because even between the contractions my stomach was so hard and I was having menstrual cramps. I did everything from changing positions, drinking water, walking around, etc. and none of these things seemed to settle them down. It was about 6:00 that I decided to stop timing them and try to get some rest. I did dose off for about 20 minutes and woke up again with the cramping, stomach hardness, and contractions. Then around 9 they settled down a little. My stomach is still so hard. Is this OK or should I call the doctor? This is my second baby. My first came 16 days early due to my water breaking. I am now 37 weeks and 4 days.

Dear Amy, you say that your stomach is hard. Is that from contractions or could it be the baby has shifted positions and is pushing outward in a way that you have not felt before? Continuous pain is not normal. Contractions come and go and you shouldn’t be feeling pain in between the contractions. If you are concerned, you should probably call your doctor. ~blessings, Guinever

218. Elizabeth - September 20, 2007

I am 3 days past due with no dilation at all, and the baby’s head is still floating. I have had no contractions, and no signs whatsoever of impending labor. Is it unusual for a baby’s head not to be engaged at this point for a first baby?

I am wondering why I have made so little progress. We know that our dates are exact so it isn’t because the due date is off. I would feel better about waiting if it at least felt like I was getting closer to having the baby.

Dear Elizabeth, is your cervix softenend at all? Are you doing things that encourage effacement and dilation? (walking and having sex are a couple things) As far as your due date is concerned, remember it is an estimation of when the baby might come. Every mom and baby get ready for birth in their own time. Being 3 days past due, though, the clock is ticking. Let me know if you have any other questions, Guinever

219. Thanh - September 19, 2007

Thanks Guinever, Do you know how long it takes to process from pre-labor to early labor stage?

Labor varies from woman to woman. A woman can have several weeks of pre-labor or none at all. All five of my children were a little bit different.~Guinever

220. Thanh - September 19, 2007

Thanh – Sep 29, 2007

I had steady contractions last night starting from 10 PM. The interval is about 15 to 20 min each and the duration about 45 to 90 seconds. It kinks of painful when I had it but It’s not really really pain. The contractions reduced this morning and I haven’t has once for the past 3 hours? I have some pinky discharge last night and this morning. Baby movement is OK. Am I in early labor stage. I’m due next Tuesday.

Dear Thanh, what you are describing sounds like pre-labor (I don’t like the term, false labor). You aren’t in early labor yet. ~Guinever

221. Scout - September 18, 2007

Thanks! I did labor with an epidural before, and I am trying to go natural this time. It’s so different with every baby, as you well know. Thanks for the reassurance.

Scout, remember to take just one contraction at a time. You can labor without an epidural. It is hard work, and you can do it. Surround yourself with people who believe that birth is a wonderful, natural process. When you start to get overwhelmed and doubt yourself, you’re probably in transition and it will be over soon. Giving birth without pain meds is so much better for baby and can be so rewarding! birthing blessings, Guinever

222. Scout - September 17, 2007

I am 38 weeks pregnant with my third child. I have been dilated to 4 cm, 60-70% effaced for the last two and a half weeks. I have been having an hour or more at a time of good, steady contractions for the last few weeks. They tend to peter out, though, and then come back sporadically throughout the day. I am starting to worry that my body is not going to figure this out on it’s own: with my first, my water broke and then I still had pitocin to get labor started (GBS+). With my second, I was induced. I would really like this baby to come on its own, but I am getting very tired and frustrated, and I also question whether or not I will even know if I am in real labor when it happens. Once I get the pitocin, I tend to labor fairly fast (the last was 3.5hrs start to finish), and I am afraid that I will not make it to the hospital when it really starts, because I will still be watching to see if labor stalls again. Is there any way to know when it’s real, besides the “counting contractions” method which isn’t working for me?

Scout, I think that when your labor is “real,” it will be much more intense. Instead of petering out, your contractions will be much, stronger. You won’t be able to miss it. Did you labor before with an epidural? Hang in there! blessings, Guinever

223. Priscilla - September 15, 2007

I am fast approaching my 32nd week of pregnancy. For the past little while I have been experiencing period like pains, lower back pain, nausea, a heavy feeling in my chest and arms. I have tried to do research on the internet but so far it hasn’t explained why I am feeling this. My doctor has told me that this is normal. I also feel the baby pushing against my cervix. At times it makes me jump. My last ultrasound has told me that the baby weighs 4lbs, 5oz and that I am measuring at 33 weeks instead. I know that ultrasounds are not always accurate. I am wondering if what I am experiencing is braxton hicks or signs of early labour? I definitely do not want this baby coming this early. Please let me know, so I can stop wondering about all the things that I am feeling. This is my 2nd baby, my first one was 41 weeks. Thank you.

Dear Priscilla, everything that you describe sounds normal and not a cause for concern except one thing–the heavy feeling in your chest and arms and possibly your nausea (unless you’ve been having it all along and you know its just morning sickness.) I would definitely explore that more with your doctor if your symptoms don’t subside. ~Guinever

224. Kristen Ramos - September 14, 2007

I am 38 weeks pregnant today and I woke up with menstrual cramps and I have been feeling nausea. I went to the doctor yesterday and she told me I was 3 cm dialated. I have been feeling alot of pelvic pressure and contractions but they are not strong….What does all this mean?

Dear Kristen, you could be in early labor, but you didn’t tell me how often you’re feeling the pressure and contractions. ~Guinever

225. Susan - September 13, 2007

I am 35 weeks Pregnant now and am over 2cm dilated and 50% effaced. I have been 2cm dilated for over a week and am feeling uncomfortable. A friend told me to take castor oil. I took 3 tbsp after lunch and just now started feeling some cramping, how long should the effects take to work if they are going to? Did having something in my tummy at the time I took it cause it to take longer to work?
Just curious

Susan, Castor oil does not induce labor every time it is taken. Its purpose is to stimulate the bowels which can in turn stimulate the uterus. It only works if you and your baby are ready for labor. You are only 35 weeks along which is way too early to even think about inducing labor. Thirty-five weeks is when girls’ lungs are developed, but boys’ lungs aren’t fully developed until 36 weeks. If your estimated due date is off, you might even be earlier. Don’t risk bringing your baby on too soon before he/she is ready for life outside the womb. ~Guinever

226. Krissy Tapocik - September 11, 2007

I am 36 weeks along. Went to the dr’s today, 1.5 cm dilated and my cervix is at 80%. What does this mean? Could my baby possibly come sooner? What happens when my cervix is at 100%?

Dear Krissy, please read my articles on dilation; you will find the answers to your questions. Being a little dilated and effaced now does not mean that you will have your baby early. But you could have your baby early and there is just as much of a chance that you will go past your due date. Your cervix can’t dilate past 4-5 centimeters until it is fully effaced so when you reach 100% effacement, the neck of the cervix will be gone and you’ll be able to dilate more. ~Guinever

227. maryjo - September 9, 2007

i am 2 cm dialated, in early labor, having very intense cramping in my lower pelvic area and abdominal pressure like gas pains. went to the hospital tuesday, 9/4 and got discharged with contractions 4-6 minutes apart cause they weren’t close enough. went again today, 9/9 and got discharged again cause i felt like i was trickling fluid but was told it wasn’t my membranes that’s ruptured just discharge. baby’s moving alot less but okay. do any of these symptoms mean i will deliver at least some time this week? i have been 2 cm now for 2 weeks and my contractions are very irregular but cramping is so intense sometimes i can’t even walk.

Dear Maryjo, I think that you may have your baby this week sometime. I would say you’re in pre-labor though, not early labor. When your contractions are really intense and you’re moaning through them, then you’ll be in active labor. ~Guinever

228. Amber - September 9, 2007

Well, I am back. I am having severe back pain that radiates from tailbone to hips and then around to pelvis, and as I walk It feels like the baby is right there. When I am walking the contractions do not ease and it hurts to walk. My contractions have started to intensify and are more frequent, but not as close as they need to be. I am filled with anxiety and the frustration of not knowing when it will come. Does all this pain mean that I am near delivery, and if I was 2 cm dilated Friday and 50% effaced, I know that has had to change. After having two pre-term babies I get nervous about everything being alright. Any advice to ease my worries would be great. I will be 35 weeks Monday. Thanks again for this website.

Dear Amber, do the contractions stop when you change activities? Do they stop when you lie down or take a bath? “False” labor will stop if you change activities. If yours continue no matter what you do, this might be the real thing. Drink plenty of water. Dehydration can cause contractions. Eat something if you can. Since walking encourages labor to start and shortens it, causing the contractions to be more intense, try to take it easy. ~blessings, Guinever

229. Elena - September 8, 2007

Hi! I’m 30 weeks pregnant and was initially carrying very high. I have noticed a definite drop in my bump in the last week or so and more pressure lower in my abdomen, It has also become easier to breath and the heartburn isn’t as bad.

Am I dropping? Does this mean I will be going into labour early? Do I need to take any precautions?

Also, my doctor has only measured my stomach for the first time at 28 weeks, as such, I don’t know what she would use as reference to determine whether I have dropped. She has not performed any internal exams either. Is this normal? The only things she measures is blood pressure, urine and fetal heartbeat.

Thank you!


Dear Elena, What has gone on during your appointments is totally normal. There’s no reason to do an internal exam unless there is a problem. It is standard procedure for docs to not start checking the cervix until you’re 36 weeks. You can always refuse the exam if you want to. What does it tell you? If you’ve been having braxton hicks contractions, you’ll probably be softened a little. If you haven’t been having any, then the exam will show a closed and hard cervix. No surprises. I think it’s too early to do exams. They can be uncomfortable and there’s a slight risk of breaking the water. If that happens, it doesn’t happen immediately so it might not be associated with the exam.

Based on your description, it sounds like your baby has definitely shifted position. Whether you’ve dropped a little or are totally engaged can be determined by your doctor. I wouldn’t worry about pre-term labor unless you start having several contractions an hour–rather than occasional Braxton Hicks during activity. ~Guinever

230. brietta - September 7, 2007


I feel like I am hounding you, but the more I read on your site, the more I like your approach to L&D and so I am anxious for your input!

I have continued to have almost constant cramping, only now I have at least 1 round of contractions each day in addition– and they are progressively more intense each day. Today I could also swear I felt my membranes bulging against my cervix, though I’ve never felt that
before except when in good labor. My guess is that when I have an appointment next week, I could find out that I am significantly more dilated (like 4cm or so).

My question is whether or not you think I should ask my doctor to sweep my membranes. While I have never been a fan of any intervention (this last appointment was the 1st time in 4 pregnancies that I have asked my doctor to do a vaginal exam even), I have had the most miserable week of my life. Offhand, I tend to feel that there is very little chance of any harm done with sweeping and there may be a chance that it could give my body the “nudge” it needs to progress further. It seems that sweeping of membranes works if the body is ready and doesn’t if it’s not, and I feel that the longer I go in such a state of discomfort, the more exhausted and drained I am becoming, which is not a great way to head into L&D.

What do you think?

Thank you so much.

Dear Brietta, you’re not hounding me at all! I’m not a big fan of sweeping the membranes. Some people love it and get it done with every pregnancy. But usually, the result is a very long exhausting early labor. The contractions aren’t intense but it just drags on and on. The end result is that you’re very tired before real labor kicks in. Just something to consider. You’re right, it could be just the nudge you need and maybe 12 hours of early labor wouldn’t be that big of a deal, but I have seen in several people 24-48 hours of persistent contractions that keep a gal up at night. Hope this helps with your decision.

231. Roxanne - September 7, 2007

Hi I am 28 weeks and have a history of premature labor. My daughter and son were both 28 weeks and my cervix are shortening the doctor put me on bed rest if it is normal for your cervix to shorten or thin out why did they put me on bedrest?

Dear Roxanne, With your history of pre-term labor, I think it’s wise that you’re on bedrest for awhile since your cervix is already changing. It is a bit early for your cervix to start thinning out. Hope you make it at least another 6 weeks. Activity can cause contractions and put pressure on the cervix–that’s why you’ve been instructed to go on bedrest. Just take it easy. ~blessings, Guinever

232. Jessica - September 7, 2007

My labor started and I got to 2 cm before my labor stopped. My doctor opted to let me go home to try and get things started again. I had a lot of bloody show yesterday, some today and have been passing mucus. I don’t have a labor ball, do you have any other suggestions for trying to get my labor started again? I’ve been trying to stay upright as much as possible and walk around as much as possible. Oh,and is it possible for me to go backwards in dilation if nothing happens to get my labor going again? I am 41 weeks pregnant and was in the hospital for a day and a half with strong, productive contractions. I hadn’t dilated much at all until my labor started, but got to 2 cm and 75% effaced.

Dear Jessica, Backwards dilation is always a possibility, but don’t worry, once the contractions start again or the baby puts pressure on your cervix, you quickly stretch back to where you were. If you were only 2 centimeters dilated, your contractions weren’t very strong compared to how they will become. Be prepared for a lot more intensity when active labor kicks in! A few things to help labor start are eating spicy foods, walking, and having sex. ~blessings, Guinever

233. donna - September 7, 2007

Guinever, ( Sorry if this is too long )

I was due on sept.3 and nothing, i am only 2cm dilated and she stripped my membranes and still nothing, so the dr. scheduled me for induction on the 10th. I told her that i didn’t want that done i wanted to try it natural so she is having me do an ultrasound and a non-stress test. And if still nothing then i will be induced on the 13th. Well she called me and told me that they can’t do it on the 13th cause they have 2 inductions and a c-section and the next day they are busy, so she said i will have to wait till the following week which is the 17th i will only be 42 weeks. And she said that i should consider being induced on the 10th instead of the tests done, but i don’t want to and i told her all she said was that i have to watch out that the baby isn’t too big cause then i would need a c-section. My husband will be gone the week of the 10th and i want him to be there and he agrees. I was thinking that after the stress test that i would go and get the black/blue cohosh and see if that does anything. This is really stressing me out i want to go natural but i don’t want to wait and put my baby in harms way. I tried the nipple stimulation and all i got was tightening for like 5 seconds and then it would go away, i did it for like a couple of hours and nothing strong so i don’t know if those were contractions. I also have to watch out to cause i also am positive for the Group B Strep. My husband is mad and says that i should go to another hospital to deliver but i told him that i just can’t walk into a hospital and not be in labor and ask for an induction, but he thinks i should try it. I just want to do this without being induced but am i being selfish for not going for induction? I am getting different responses from my friends and family and this is driving me crazy. Anything will help my hectic mind. Thank-You.

Dear Donna, First of all, don’t let the idea of a big baby scare you! The baby’s head can mold to fit your pelvis and the ligaments in your pelvis are softening and you CAN birth a “big” baby. As an example, locally, we just had homebirther have a baby over 13 pounds so it can be done. Now a 13 pounder is very unusual, but I know many women who have 10 and 11 pound babies with no problem. You can do it. The size of your baby is not a reason to have a cesarean!!!

Your husband is going out of town. You want him there for the birth and he wants to be there for the birth. I’m not a fan of induction and neither are you. BUT, if you want to guarantee that your hubby will be there, maybe you should be induced on the tenth. It sounds like your body is ready (2 cm dilated) and it would work. Maybe you could try what you suggested before your appointment on the tenth–try to have this baby…just so your hubby can be there. And why on earth is he scheduled to be out of town so close to your due date? ~hope you have your baby soon! Guinever

234. Grandma to be - September 6, 2007


The doctor just broke my daughters mucus membrane, is there a time frame for going into labor from here. She and her boyfriend are not sexually active therefore will this delay labor as well?

Dear Grandma to be, I’ve never heard the term, “broke” the mucus membrane, but I’m assuming you’re talking about sweeping the membranes. Usually, one can expect a really long early labor–anywhere from 1 day to 3 days of persistent light contractions. Eventually, active labor will kick in after this. As far as your other question is concerned, she just won’t have the added benefit of semen softening the cervix. The membrane sweep will help with this. ~blessings, Guinever

235. brietta - September 6, 2007

Sorry to bug you!– here’s another question:

I have been taking 5-W capsules (per my nutritionist’s advice) since I reached 35 weeks. (http://www.healthy-sunshine.com/nspshopping/shopexd.asp?ID=92) Could it be contributing to the constant cramping I’m feeling? I’ve never taken it before and this is the first pregnancy I’ve felt the cramping like I’ve been having for the past week. Thank you for your time!

Dear Brietta, your supplement contains black cohosh which can cause cramping and contractions. ~Guinever

236. brietta - September 6, 2007


A big part of me is dying to get things ready and I have been feeling non-stop as though this baby is going to come any day (definitely not just wishful thinking), but another part of me tells myself that I always go late and that I’ll just get myself worn out and ready for nothing and that getting things ready will only get my hopes up and I shouldn’t bother.

I definitely have been feeling as though I have to have the baby– I’ve had insomnia, contractions, and cramps too much in the past week to not be overwhelmed by the idea of going through a whole month like this. But just because I feel like that doesn’t necessarily mean anything, does it?


Dear Brietta, I understand how you’re feeling. I had contractions for weeks with my 3rd, 4th and 5th pregnancies. (have you read my birth stories–you can find them on the sidebar or by going to my welcome page.) I walked around 5 cm dilated for over a week with my most recent pregnancy and went 12 days “overdue.” I had never reached my due date with my other 4 children. So every pregnancy and birth are different. Hang in there. You’re not quite 37 weeks. You may get a few days rest from contractions before starting them again. Or you could have your baby tonight. Time will tell. Also, the hormones that are released when your baby puts pressure on your cervix can really make a pregnant gal cranky! Please let me know how it goes, Guinever

237. Dawn LaRae - September 5, 2007

I am 34 weeks. To start I have been having horrible back pain, which I didn’t experience with my son, and I fear that my baby is posterior. Can I go to a chiropractor this late (and have them be able to do anything). Also, I know that you can not feel yourself dialating per se, however I have been feeling the surges of pain in my cervical area (if that makes sense) I am having contractions, but nothing is getting longer, stronger, or closer together. I am still working as a food server, though I am not lifting heavy objects I am on my feet and on the go constantly for roughly 4+ hours 5 days a week. Am I pushing myself into a pre-term labor? My son was a very fast labor (although at term) and I don’t want something to happen that I won;t be able to stop in time.
Also, considering my labor was as fast as it was (my water broke at 330pm, I felt my first contraction (but the nurses said I was having them) at 530pm and I started pushing at just before 10pm and he was born at 1153pm.) am I looking at a quicker labor than that, assuming she is not posterior????
Thank you before hand for all your advice!!

Your baby could be posterior since you are experiencing back pain. But the pain could also be because you’re on your feet all day and the baby is growing and putting a strain on your back. Doing pelvic rock/cat exercises several times a day can help ease the pain. It’s not too late to go to a chiropractor for help. Make sure, though, that the doctor is trained and has experience in working with pregnant ladies. Although your baby isn’t breech, I might check to see if the doc knows the Webster technique (helpful in turning a breech baby). If he does, then you know he’s used to working with pregnant women.

Usually, second labors are quicker than a first labor so your labor may not be as long as last time. But again, there are no guarantees to the time frame. You didn’t have a super fast labor last time. You still had lots of time to get to the hospital! ~blessings, Guinever

238. brietta - September 5, 2007

I am 36.5 weeks pregnant and at my appointment yesterday had an exam because I’ve been passing mucus (clear, though) and having contractions. My doctor told me I’m 1-2cm dilated, 80% effaced, and that baby is at 0 station. I’ve been having constant, dull cramps in my upper abdomen for the past couple days, too.

In my previous pregnancies, I’ve gone anywhere from 3-8 days overdue, so I haven’t even started getting things ready around the house for a new baby. I guess my question is if you think I should start preparing because there might be a chance I’ll not go 40+ weeks this time like I’ve been assuming.

Dear Brietta, I think that there is an equal chance of you going early or going past your due date. Women can have several weeks of contractions here and there that start the cervix thinning and dilating and bring the baby lower. You can walk around dilated for weeks before the birth of your baby. Think back to your other pregnancies. Was there a feeling the last day or two of your pregnancy that you just had to have the baby–that you just couldn’t be pregnant anymore? This is different than just wishing you weren’t pregnant anymore. To answer your question about preparing for baby: yes, go ahead and prepare. But I have a feeling that when the birth of your baby is very close, you’ll get a surge of energy and a pressing feeling that you HAVE to get all the stuff done, but now you’re just wondering if you should and you don’t have the nesting instinct yet which precedes labor. ~blessings, Guinever

239. Amber - September 5, 2007

The doctor says now that I am 2 centimeters dilated and my cervix is starting to thin. I am curious if you could tell me being that I am now 34 weeks along with a history of early babies, how long it may take once dilated to 2. I want to keep baby in as long as I can, but I am having a lot of pain in my tailbone area and pelvic pressure, the babies head is very low also. What should I do and what should I expect, am in sales and work on my feet all day. Please help

Dear Amber, Take it easy! Try to not be on your feet all day. Do pelvic rocks and get on all fours to ease the pain in your tailbone. Please read my other articles on dilation for the answer to your questions. With your history, you may have your baby tonight or it may not be for many weeks…. ~blessings, Guinever

240. shanea - September 5, 2007

i went to the doctor today and he said my cervix is at 70% and i was dilated to a tip and half -2 what does -2 mean?

Dear Shanea, the -2 refers to station. The station of the baby is where your baby is in your pelvis. Zero station is “engaged” in your pelvis and positive numbers would be lower into your pelvis past your ischial spines (the pointy bones in your pelvis used as the reference in determining baby’s station.) At negative 2, your baby has not “dropped.” Your baby is high and floating. ~blessings, Guinever

241. Alyssa - September 4, 2007


im 29 1/2 weeks pregnant and i went into emergency for a really bad headache and they said i was having contractions 15 minutes apart but i didn’t feel any of them, then when they checked to see if i was dilated they said i was 1/4 of a CM and they sent me home after a few hours. Today i went to my DR and she said i’m not dilated at all but my cervix is softening…this is my first child and i don’t understand how one day i’m dilated and the next i’m not????

Dear Alyssa, I think that 1/4 of a centimeter dilated could be considered not dilated by another doctor. Usually, dilation is measured in full centimeters, not fractions. To be only a quarter of a centimeter dilated might be described by another doctor as merely softened. Put your mind at ease. Take it easy and enjoy your pregnant during your last trimester. ~blessings, Guinever

242. stephanie - September 4, 2007

i am 41 weeks pregnant i am 2 to 3 centimeters dilated and 50% effaced and my baby is at 0 stage what does this mean and can i take castor oil to make me go into labor?

Dear Stephanie, Please read my article what does 2 centimeters dilated mean? for the answer to your questions. Did you ask your doctor about taking castor oil? It will work if your body is ready for labor. ~Guinever

243. Emily - September 1, 2007

I am 39 wks and 3 days, and I went to the doctor the doctor last week, because I thought I had a bladder infection. Everything was fine. I had to see a different doctor, and the doctor that checked me said I was 2 centimeters dilated. I had an appointment later in the week with yet a different doctor, and he said I wasn’t dilated at all. I went to the doctor a few days ago, because I was having a lot of pain. The doctor I saw said I still wasn’t dilated. I had my regular appointment yesterday, and the doctor who checked me said I was 3cm dilated. I am having contractions, so I am very confused about this. Is it normal for different doctors to have a different idea of how much the cervix is dilated?

Dear Emily, it is normal to experience backwards dilation. If the baby is putting pressure on your cervix and you’ve been having contractions you could be a 3, and then if the pressure lets up, you could close up a bit. Although it is normal for different doctors to come up with a different number when checking your cervix, what you’re describing does sound a little bit out of the ordinary–no dilation versus a 3. ~blessings, Guinever

244. Amber - August 31, 2007

I am 33 1/2 weeks pregnant and my EDD is October 16th, This is my third baby. My first came at 36 weeks my second came really early between 33 and 34 weeks. I had some very strong pains this week and when I went for my OB appt she checked me and said I was 1 centimeter dilated. However, I am not yet effacing. Since then I have had more BH with more pain and tons of pressure in my lower pelvis and back. I am not wanting to have another preemie, my second only wieghed 4lb. 4oz but lungs were fully developed and did not have to stay in the NICU. What should I do, I also work full time and am on my feet all day in sales. Any ideas would be helpful. I know the baby has dropped because a couple weeks ago I was measuring larger then gestational age and now I am measuring smaller and my belly has gone from higher to lower. HELP ME.

Dear Amber, I think you should consider getting off your feet which means stop working for the rest of your pregnancy. Have you discussed this with your doctor? I would take it easy. Not complete bedrest or anything–but working sales full-time is probably not a good idea for you with pre-term laor history and what you have been experiencing recently. Let me know how it goes. ~blessings, Guinever

245. kat - August 29, 2007

Hi Guinever:
I am 36 weeks pregnant with my first child and just had my exam this morning. I have not had any contractions, just some round ligament pain and pressure bearing down. After my internal exam, the midwife said that I was 2 cm dilated already and she recommended that I take it easy this week.
However, is this normal? Should I worry about going into labor soon?

Dear Kat, I think you should relax and follow your midwife’s advice and take it easy. The pressure bearing down feeling has probably been contractions. You might go into labor soon or it may not be for another 5 weeks. It is totally normal to dilate a little then walk around 2 cm or more for several weeks. ~blessings, Guinever

246. Michelle - August 28, 2007

I met with a different doctor in my doc’s practice today as I have to meet them all throughout my pregnancy. She was very nice, but I have a couple of concerns. I had been having and have posted about brown discharge on my pantyliners after I have been up and around walking, moving, etc. quite a bit. I’ve been to the doctors twice about this. Both times they told me to take it easy – my placenta was low lying at first. Today, I went in and met with the doctor and not the nurse practitioner and she told me that discharge that sits until the end of the day will turn brown and there is nothing to worry about. She also told me that my placenta is not lying low over my cervix anymore. She did check me internally anyway to be sure and make me feel more comfortable. She found no blood, only normal pregnancy discharge, etc. She then felt my cervix and said that part of it felt just a tad bit soft, but everything else felt completely firm and as it should be. She told me she didn’t see any reason to worry. She then asked if DH and I had been having intercourse and I said no because we’ve been worried. She said, “Well, you might not want to either just to be safe.” So, at first was so relieved b/c she said everything was normal, h/b was good, no bleeding, just normal discharge, etc. But, now that I’m home and analyzing it of course, I have started to worry about the cervix thing and the no sex thing. I am only b/w 21-22 weeks (21 according to me, and 22 according to them), so I am nervous. I also had a missed m/c with my last/first pregnancy. Please be honest – am I just overreacting? Do you think all is well? I know your cervix does start to soften a bit as you get closer to labor, but how early is that? I still have a ways to go…

Sorry so long – please help!


Dear Michelle, it is normal for some women to have discharge during their entire pregnancy. But with that said, I don’t think you are over-reacting. I’m not sure that they can tell where your placenta is just by doing an internal exam; I think they need to verify it with an ultrasound. But if you do have placenta previa, that doctor’s exam probably would have caused some bleeding. You are a bit early for your cervix to be softening. Follow your doctor’s advice and take it easy. ~blessings, Guinever

247. Regina Pifer - August 28, 2007

hi I am 33wks and 3 days with twins. At my appointment today i was 90 effaced and 0 diliated. i am also five foot one. do you think i will have them soon

Dear Regina, like I tell everyone, I can’t predict when you will go into labor. Your cervix has begun effacing because your babies are getting bigger and adding pressure to make it soften. Hopefully, you’ll be pregnant for a few more weeks so your babies will have optimal lung development. ~blessings, Guinever

248. Paula - August 26, 2007

Thank you so much, and yes u have helped to put my mind at ease. I am trying to sit around on my labour ball, and remain upright as much as I can to assist her in dropping down. With my first one, I was induced, and waters were broken it was a HUGE nightmare ending in emergency c-section, that’s why I have so many concerns. I have done a lot more research since my first….I am not a fan of induction by drug myself. I even switched hospitals and doctors after my first child. They didn’t offer a membrane sweep or anything for my first. And I was 2 cm dilated….they just went straight to pitocin. With my others a membrane strip was done and labour commenced within 48 hours. We did try it with this one, but no luck this time. Although he said my cervix was high, and it may not have been a full sweep. She’ll come I know she will…lol. I will let you know! Thanks so much for your positive feedback.

Paula, hope you can get lots of rest before your little one comes. I wish for you a nice, gentle birth. ~birthing blessings, Guinever

249. Amanda - August 26, 2007

Hi, I will be 34 weeks tomorrow. This morning I woke up to very intense pain on the upper right side of my abdomen. The pain has decreased and is not constant, but it come back off and on. I would also like to add that the area were the pain is– is very tender to touch!

Amanda, this does not sound like contractions and definitely warrants a call to your doctor’s office especially if you are having bleeding (which you didn’t mention, I know, but I thought I would in case it starts.) ~Guinever

250. Paula - August 25, 2007

My doctor has never used the term stations in regards to my baby. But is it possible for the baby to be resting on the cervix even if the cervix is still a little high? All I know is that I am dilated to 4cm, very soft, cervix is still high, and that my bag of waters is pressed right up to the cervix. The only reason i am concerned is because of induction occurring if she doesn’t come on her own in the next week, and I worry if she’s high up that her cord may prolapse as did happen with my first daughter.

If your baby is dropped or engaged, then cord prolapse will not happen. The head is wedged in your pelvis and the cord could not slip out past the head. If your baby is still high and floating, there’s a slim chance that the cord could come out with the water (I know this isn’t a slim chance to you since you’ve already experienced it). What was the circumstance of your cord prolapse? Did it happen on its own or did the docs break your water? Cord prolapse usually happens in women who have had several children and their abdominal muscles are very lax and the baby is sideways or floating and the water breaks and out comes the cord. OR it happens when doctors break the water, knowing full-well that it could happen because the baby is too high.

I hope I can put your mind at ease here. At 4 cm dilated, active labor can and will start any day. And yes, your cervix can be high with the baby up next to it. I suspect that your baby is right there with the bags of water–usually if the bag is “pressing” against the cervix, the head is right there doing the pressing. Does that make sense? But for your peace of mind, why don’t you tell your doc of your fear of cord prolapse and ask him/her the likelihood of that happening this time.

Paula, I want to let you know that I will have limited access to the computer for a couple weeks, but I will definitely answer any additional questions that you have as soon as I can. Please let me know how your birth goes. ~blessings, Guinever

251. Nancy - August 25, 2007

Hi Guinever,

I just lost my mucous plug last night and I have read one of its functions is to prevent infections. I have tested positive for Strep B. Should I go to the hospital now?

Dear Nancy, there is no reason to go to the hospital until you are having contractions and in active labor. If your water has not broken, then your bags of water are still protecting the baby from infection. ~hope this helps, Guinever

252. Dannielle - August 24, 2007

Is it safe to have a VBAC ten-eleven months after having a c-section (low, horizontal incision)? I am 35 and a half weeks and dilated 3, and I can’t feel my contractions because I have back labor. My dr. was planning on a repeat c-section for this one, but told me if I’m dilated over 6 I will have an attempted VBAC. I would LOVE to have this baby naturally but am wondering if my short time between births increases my risk of complications with a VBAC.

Dear Dannielle, Please go to the International Cesarean Awareness Network website. They have lots of information there. I do know that for optimal healing after a cesarean, you should wait 2 years before getting pregnant and obviously you didn’t do that. I think it is great that your doctor is going to give you a trial of labor instead of automatically scheduling a cesarean. One thing to note is that pitocin (or any other drug or herb that induces contractions) would not be advisable for you. Pitocin has been known to cause uterine rupture even in those who have never had uterine surgery. I think intermittent monitoring during active labor would be a good idea for you just to keep a close eye on the baby. Also, they can check the thickness of your scar with ultrasound to make sure there aren’t any thin spots that would be more likely to tear or rupture. blessings, Guinever

253. jessica cerullo - August 23, 2007

how do you speed up labor? i am 2cm. and 40 weeks heeeeeelp

Dear Jessica, be patient… Are you in the summer heat? Try to stay cool and relax. Walk when you can. Eat spicy food. Have sex. These are a few things that encourage labor to start. ~blessings, Guinever

254. Kelly - August 23, 2007

Hi I am 30 weeks pregnant on my fourth child. I lost my mucus plug 4 days ago I now have a lot of pressure down below. I have already had two children at 35 weeks. Does this mean i will go early?

Dear Kelly, you may go early but losing your plug and having pressure is no guarantee that you will go early. Have you talked with your medical care provider yet? I think that would be a good idea since you’re only 30 weeks along. ~Guinever

255. Paula - August 23, 2007


I have a question to ask of you about the kohoshes…I have here a bottle of the black kohosh, I am wondering if it is necessary to use both black and blue, I couldnt seem to find the blue unless i need to look for it under its homeopathic name of course. Would it be of any danger to only use the black?

Dear Paula, it won’t be any danger to only use one of the cohoshes. My midwife told me that the blue and black work in harmony together. They each serve a different function: one gets the contractions going and the other keeps them going, so they’re both necessary. FYI, the tinctures didn’t work for me, but the homeopathics did. The liquids do work for many women…hope this helps, Guinever

256. Melissa - August 23, 2007


I am 34 1/2 weeks pregnant with my first child. I have been put on complete bedrest for two weeks because I am 100 % effaced, and 2cm dilated. Does this mean that I will have the baby sooner than my due date which is 9/30? I go for non-stress tests every week, and according the the test I am having contractions, but I do not feel anything. One day I felt like I was going to start my period, but that was 5 days ago, and I haven’t felt like that since. They also did an internal ultrasound because the baby’s head is so far down that they couldn’t measure it on a regular ultrasound. Would the baby be mature enough if delivered now?

Dear Melissa, just because you’re just beginning to dilate now does not guarantee that you will have your baby early. You could have your baby soon or you may even go past your due date. By thirty-six weeks, lung development is usually good (girls are sometimes ok at 35 weeks). The last month of pregnancy, the baby puts on fat and weight. Take it easy for a couple weeks like your doctor advised and then you’ll be good to go. ~blessings, Guinever

257. Amy - August 21, 2007

I am 38 weeks pregnant with my second child. I just went to the hospital thinking I was in labor only to find out I had a UTI. I have been on med’s for 4 days and my back still hurts and I’m still having painful contractions. They are not as close as they were but I am still worried I thought the med’s would help by now. I’m 1 cm dilated and at 0 station. Do I need to call my doctor?

If you are worried, calling your doctor might be a good idea. The meds are for the UTI, right–not to stop contractions. You’re far enough along in your pregnancy where having the baby now would be ok, and it sounds like you’re having some rounds of pre-labor. ~blessings, Guinever

258. Donna - August 20, 2007

I didn’t know where to post this question. Anyways i need to ask this to ease my boyfriends mind. I am 38 weeks, i am due sept.3 if baby don’t come by that date then i will be induced on the 10th and i tested positive for the Group B Strep, so i have started to walk and my boyfriend gets so mad at me saying that if i go into labor or my water breaks and he doesn’t get there in time and misses this birth then he will be very upset. He lives like an hour away from me. I told him that even if my water breaks or i start to have contractions that the baby isn’t gonna slide right out. I could only be 2 or 4 cm dilated. Plus from what i was told that when i go into labor they have to start me on the antibiotics for the Group B Strep, so does that mean right when i start to have contractions or when the contractions are like 5-10 mins apart? With my 2nd child i was induced at 8:00am, water broke at 3:30pm, had her at 11:30pm, so he seems to think that this one will be alot faster.

Dear Donna, it is unlikely that your boyfriend will miss the birth if you call him once you’re in labor and he can leave right away. Possible, but unlikely. As far as knowing when to go to the hospital for your antibiotics, the timing can be tricky! On the one hand, you want to labor at home as long as possible, and on the other hand, you want to get there long enough before the birth to get in your 2 rounds of antibiotics or they’ll do it after the birth which means you and the baby being separated. I would just wait until I was sure I was in labor. You can ask your doctor for clarification and see when he wants you to go to the hospital. ~Guinever

259. Myrna - August 20, 2007

I am pregnant with my third child and am 2 days away from my estimated delivery date (8/22). I have had really bad contractions for the last 4 days, but they only come on from 1:30am to about 6:00am. On sunday I had then all morning until about 2:00pm. They were about 5 minutes apart and suddenly they went away. It started again this morning, but nothing else has happened. My question is if I go past the 22nd how soon after is it safe to induce. Is there anything I can do to try and get the show on the way?

Dear Myrna, “being safe to induce” as you put it is not contingent on a certain date but rather of your readiness for birth. Some women are ready at 36 weeks, some not until 41 or 42 weeks. It all depends on your cervix and baby’s position. ~birthing blessings, Guinever

260. Paula - August 20, 2007


I have a question in regards to your fifth baby delivery…u mentioned that around 5:30 or so early labour started, was it just out of the blue, or did u have any signs earlier in the day? Im 4 plus dilated, and duedate is today. I have been feeling crampy and my pelvic area is constant aches….just curious as to how u felt earlier in the day before u knew labour had commenced for sure.

Dear Paula, I woke up with a backache. I took it easy all day. I was trying to get in the mindset of having a baby. I listened to music, took a long, relaxing bath. At 5:30 I starting taking cimicifuga and caulophyllum which are the homeopathic forms of black and blue cohoshes. ~blessings, Guinever

261. Sarah - August 20, 2007

Due September 2nd, still dilated 1 cm, by my Dr.’s finger. Last night, for a couple hours, I had lots of irregular contractions…some lasting over a minute and some not. They seemed much different than regular BH contractions. My belly was REALLY “peaked” and the pressure was pretty intense. Baby was very active throughout, and head was a whole lot lower than ever before! Discomfort was bad. Only position, comfortable was just standing. I squatted with each contraction. I got pretty tired after a couple hours of this…so I laid down and ended up going to sleep. Woke up a lot to pee, and I slept through some more contractions. Now this morning. baby is higher again! UGGGG….What now? I’m just tired and frustrated and want my baby in my arms instead of knocking at my “door”!

Dear Sarah, Hang in there. Your pregnancy is almost over and you will have your baby in your arms very soon. Don’t be discouraged about baby’s position. ~birthing blessings, Guinever

262. shanea - August 17, 2007

I had an ultrasound done to make sure everything is going ok. After that i saw the doctor and he said that the ultrasound showed that my cervix was thinning so he did a vaginal exam and told me that it 60%. All he told me to stay off my feet as much as i can and he will see me in 3 weeks.

263. Simi - August 17, 2007

Thx for your response. I don’t have gestational diabetes or diabetes of any kind. If the baby gets to 9-10lbs at 39 wks, would you advise doing an elective c section? Are there any serious risks involved in doing that?

Dear Simi, I NEVER ADVISE ELECTIVE c-sections. Cesarean is major abdominal surgery and should never be done electively. Having a cesarean puts you at much greater risks for having problems during future pregnancies. Recovery is longer and much more painful than a vaginal birth. It’s a lot harder to take care of your baby because you are healing from surgery. There better be a damn good medical reason for your doctors to cut you open.

Please explore my website, read my births stories and other birth stores. Be inspired. Have confidence. You can birth your baby no matter how big he is. And nine or ten pounds, although bigger than “average” is not too big. I even know women who have birthed 11 and 12 pound babies. Please read this article about a woman’s ability to give birth. ~blessings, Guinever

264. Donna - August 17, 2007

I went to the drs. the other day and she said i was about 1 cm dialated. But she also told me that i came back positive for the Group B Strep and that i would need antibiotics when i am in labor. Well now i am kinda scared cause my last 2 i was negative on that test and my boyfriend thinks that i went out and cheated on him cause i have that and he doesn’t want to catch anything but i told him he can’t and that i never slept with anyone that some woman carry this bacteria but he don’t believe me. Any suggestions to tell him? And she scheduled an induction for Sept. 10th if i haven’t had him yet. But now i have to go out of town for a gathering and what if i go into labor then? Would i have to tell them about the Group B? And i know that no hospital can refuse someone, i don’t think if i was in active labor that would tell me to drive to my own hospital. In a way i kinda want to deliver out of town, they seem to have better hospital i heard–LOL.

Donna, first of all, group B strep is not a sexually transmitted disease. All your boyfriend has to do is look it up for himself on the internet or ask your doctor if he doesn’t believe you. It is never too late to switch doctors during your pregnancy if you don’t like the care you’re getting. Instead of hoping that you’ll go into labor when you’re in a different town, why don’t you plan to do deliver in the hospital of your choice. With that said, I’m assuming you’re pretty advanced in your pregnancy since your doctor has said she wants to induce you on September 10. If you go into labor and have to go to a different hospital, they will probably get your records from your doctor’s office. Why don’t you want to tell them about the group B strep? It is a question that they will definitely ask you because it is normal obstetrical practice that all women be tested. Ask yourself why you would want to keep it from the hospital. Have you done your own research and determined that this would be in the best interest for you and your baby? ~blessings, Guinever

265. Simi - August 16, 2007

Hi Guinever,

Am 36 weeks and 5 days. My doc told me am -3 station, no dilation and 30% effaced. The issue is that the baby is already 8pds 5 oz (based on ultrasound). Am concerned about going full term because the baby could get to 10 or 11pds. My question is – is there anything i can do to slow down my baby’s growth? Also, how seriously should I look into early inductions. Am really nervous about the baby getting so baby. Does such a large weight lead to obesity later in life?

Dear Simi, ultrasound is not accurate when it comes to ascertaining the weight of the baby. I am not in favor of early inductions. The baby will come when he and you are ready. Has your doctor said an induction would be in your best interest? Do you have diabetes (not gestational)? A mother’s diabetes can affect the baby’s weight and usually an induction is done because the baby can get too big. (again this would be if you had Type I or II diabetes, not gestational diabetes) Do not try to slow down your baby’s growth. You need to be eating healthy for both you and your baby. The baby’s weight at birth has nothing to do with adult weight. ~Guinever

266. shanea - August 16, 2007


I’m 30 weeks pregnant and my cervix is 60% softened? Is this normal? what should i do about this and if i go in to early labor will the baby be alright? thank you

Shanea, what did your doctor say about it being softened? Was he concerned? If you were to have your baby now, your baby would need to be in the NICU for several weeks. Ask yourself why did you have a vaginal exam done in the first place at this point in your pregnancy? A softened cervix does not equal labor or pre-term labor. ~Guinever

267. Lauren - August 15, 2007


I wanted to let you know that I went into labor on Tuesday, August 7, and delivered our son on August 8! The process was approximately 15 hours long, and involved no pain medication of any kind. The experience exceeded our expectations. Our precious boy is healthy and happy. Thanks again for your help in figuring things out during my prodromal labor process.

Dear Lauren, Congratulations on the birth of your baby boy and letting me know how things went. ~blessings, Guinever

268. Sarah - August 15, 2007

I’m due Sept 2nd…It’s my second pregnancy. I’ve been 1 cm dilated for 3 weeks. With my first, I lost my mucus plug and 2 days later my water broke. Is it typical to have less mucus loss with second pregnancies. Or will loss of mucus NOT be a benchmark I can depend on?

Dear Sarah, I would agree with your last statement. The amount of mucous and the timing of its appearance has no bearing on when your labor will start. Additionally, each woman’s labor is unique. ~Guinever

269. Stephanie - August 14, 2007

Guinever~ I had my appt. today I am pregnant with twins in my 34th week and they said my cervix is soft. What does that mean to have a soft cervix?

Stephanie, softening is the first thing the cervix will do before it starts to efface or dilate. Normally, the cervix is hard. As pregnancy progresses, it softens.

270. Jolene - August 14, 2007

Hi there,just thought I’d give you an update. I went into labour on friday morning. I started having contractions at 6am. At 8 I went to the hospital and was 6-7cms dilated by then. It was a long day as I had strong contractions throughout until 6:10 when I became fully dilated and had a little girl at 7:10. I wrote out a birth plan and as per your advice I asked them to ask my consent for anything. They obliged although they thought it ver y strange as people here do not do those sort of things. I did end up having 2 sedatives as my contractions were 4 mins apart approx for a long time and although they didnt make the pain less they did help me relax in between. I also had a very small episiotomy as I was having difficulty pushing the baby’s head out but that may have been because I was pushing incorrectly for a while. I am glad its all over to be honest…but I am also glad that I was informed before I went. A birth plan is an excellent to guide those around you to what you would like. Thanks for all your help and this room was a great source. Lastly, my episiotomy – I tried looking at my stitches (using a mirror) but I couldn’t see any. Also how long is the healing process where I can sit normally again?

Dear Jolene, Congratulations on the birth of your baby girl. How wonderful!

Your stitches will dissolve and you should be feeling better every day. Hot baths help. ~blessings, Guinever

271. ry'smommy - August 13, 2007

Hi~ I am 30 weeks and have been on weekly progesterone shots for 8 weeks because I had preterm labor at 33.8 weeks which ultimately resulted in a preterm delivery at 36.8 weeks due to SROM with my last baby. I went in last week for my checkup and mentioned the contractions I had been having over the weekend. My dr. did an exam (no effacing or dilation). She said she wanted to examine me when I received my next shot which was today. When she examined me, she said my cervix was 50% effaced and it felt like my cervix was closed, but wanted to examine me again next week when I get my weekly shot. Also, I have to start taking albuterol to keep the contractions at bay for now. My question is…how concerned should I be that I am 50% effaced and experiencing contractions considering my previous preterm labor and preterm delivery history?

I think you should just take the wait and see approach and try to put your mind at ease and not do anything that might encourage labor. Ask your doctor lots of questions at your next appointment. There’s just really no way to know at this point if you will have your baby early again. Just because you went pre-term previously does not mean you will do it again. Of course, it’s possible, but it sounds like you’re working with your doctor to try and avoid it this time. ~blessings, Guinever

272. amanda - August 12, 2007

ok I forgot to tell u im 42 weeks does that matter I have a doctors app tomorrow morning do you think she will give me anything to soften my cervix being i’m getting induced on tuesday morning

Dear Amanda, I didn’t realize that you were so far along in your pregnancy. I just went and re-read your past comments. On July 27th, you told me that you were 1cm dilated and starting to thin out. This is different than your previous comment this evening when you said you were being induced because you weren’t dilated at all. I also see that this is your 2nd baby and your first labor was only 4 1/2 hours. I have a feeling that your induction that your will be successful afterall. I have no idea what your doctor will do. Having sex will help to soften the cervix. ~Guinever

273. amanda - August 12, 2007

hey I know I haven’t written in a little bit. On Tuesday, they are inducing me because I’m not dialated at all. I’m going into the hospital at 7:30 in the morning. About how long can it take?

Dear Amanda, If you’re not dilated at all like you say, it can take a very long time–at least 24 hours. Usually, they would have you come in the night before and you give you a suppository to help soften the cervix. Then in the morning, they would start pitocin to get your contractions going after your cervix is soft. They keep upping the dosage and it can be hard for you and/or the baby to tolerate it. Have you read my other articles on dilation? You can find the links on my sidebar or at the bottom of the above article. Reading those will give you an idea of how long labor might take.

I personally don’t like inductions unless the health of the mother or baby would be in jeopardy should the pregnancy continue. (for example, if the mother has high blood pressure or pre-eclampsia) Please realize that 50% of inductions on first time mothers lead to cesarean. This is because they are just done before the baby is ready to be born and the doctors don’t give you enough time to dilate.

Take this little quiz to see if your induction will be successful. If the quiz results show that the induction will not work, why don’t you consider asking your doctor if you can wait. Also ask your doctor what would happen if you waited for labor to begin on its own. ~blessings, Guinever

274. Deborah De - August 12, 2007

I am 25 weeks pregnant with my fourth child. I went to the Dr because I was feeling a lot of pressure in my vagina. She said my cervix was soft and I was a finger tip dialated. I had an internal ultrasound that said my cervix was 3.5, which compares to 3.7 2 1/2 weeks ago. I am on bed rest and scared. The Dr said that shortening of the cervix is normal as pregnancy continues. But at .1 per week? At that rate I would be at 2.2 by 36 weeks. Does this sound right? I didn’t mention that my 3rd child was born at 36.5 weeks when she kicked and broke my water.

Dear Deborah De, I really don’t know the specifics of cervical length measurements. I would definitely follow your doctor’s advice and do bed rest, and take it easy for awhile. To relieve the pressure that you’re experiencing, it helps to get on your knees while resting your head on a pillow. You want to get your head down low and your butt up high to get the weight of the baby off your cervix. This position also helps with back pain. ~blessings, Guinever

275. Sarah - August 11, 2007

I’m 33 weeks 4 days with my 2nd son and today have been having watery leakage. It smells like salt water. I have also had some pretty bad cervical pain all day although it comes and goes. . .should I go in or not? I had watery leakage like this last week and it hasn’t gone away but when I went in last week they said it was probably just normal vaginal secretions. But also last week it had no smell and now it smells salty. What should I do? My last baby came 6 weeks early and I only had 10 weeks between his birth and this pregnancy so my dr. says I’m at higher risk for preterm birth this time. I just don’t want to go to the hospital and be told it’s nothing and be made to feel like an idiot but don’t want to put my baby at risk, either.

Dear Sarah, yes, call your doctor or go to the hospital. You are early and if at all possible, you shouldn’t give birth now because your baby’s lungs are not fully developed. They’ll probably want to give you steroids to help the baby’s lungs. Occasionally, the bags of water can repair itself and you can continue with the pregnancy, but with your cervical pain, you may either be in labor or possibly have an infection if your water has been broken this whole time. Are you running a fever? That would be a sign of infection. Like I said before, call your doctor. I think you need to do it right away because you’re only 33 1/2 weeks along. ~blessings, Guinever

276. summer - August 10, 2007

i am 36 weeks and 5 days i have lost my plug am 1cm dilated have been having contractions 7 minutes apart for 4 days i have went to the hospital on 2 occasions last one being yesterday they made me walk around for 1 hour the pain was unbearable while walking but i had no change in dilation….so they sent me home and told me to walk and come back when contractions where 4 to 5 minutes apart for 2 hours and they had to be as painful as when i was walking all the time…i have been having pre term labor since march i have also spent 2 days in the hospital 3 weeks ago for pre term….they say they will not stop it this time but it does not seem to be going anywhere….what can i do i am in so much pain my whole stomach my pelvis and in my lower back. i have been walking….was thinking about the castor oil….any help would be appreciated.

Dear Summer, It sounds like you’re pretty miserable. You’re still several weeks away from your estimated due date. I think maybe you should rest for a day or two. Forget about walking and trying to induce labor in other ways. Take some nice long, warm, baths. Maybe go swimming. Watch a movie. Do some other things that you enjoy. When you are feeling good, then you can start the walking again. I’m sorry you’re in so much pain. You might try other positions during your contractions to ease the pain besides walking. Try getting on your hand and knees, on your knees leaning over the couch or chair, lying on your side. ~blessings, Guinever

277. Amy - August 10, 2007

Hi, you mentioned walking and having sex to get labor going and to have the cervix start dialating. Are these the only methods to get the cervix to dialate or are there others? I would of course, check with my OB first before trying, but she and I discussed trying it in the next few weeks maybe and I was just curious what it would involve. I am pg with twins. Thanks!

Dear Amy, Your doctor may have been referring to chemical inductions in the hospital. This would include ripening the cervix if the cervix isn’t ready and then using pitocin. Here are a few natural ways to induce labor. ~blessings, Guinever

278. Donna - August 9, 2007

Hi, i have just turned 36 weeks and my EDD is Sept.3. I went to the dr. today and she said that i am not even dilated, or effacement hasn’t even started either. This is my third child, my 1st child came 2 weeks late-long labor she weighed 7lbs 6oz, my 2nd one was 1 week late and i had to be induced-water broke at 3:30pm had her at 11:40pm that nite so 8 hrs isn’t bad she was
8lbs 2oz. I did alot of walking in the beginning of this pregnancy but now its a little bit harder to walk, my back starts to hurt. I have seen articles that talk about having a lot of sex to start the labor, would that also help me? Is there any way to get the effacement and dialation going? I don’t want to be induced with this baby and i’m afraid that i might so i want to try anything to make it go naturally. I don’t feel any contractions either but the baby is in the face down position. I heard that since this is my 3rd baby that labor might be less than the 2nd one, i hope so kinda. This will be my 1st boy too and the dr said that everything seems fine, my husband seems to think that since my 2nd was 8lbs that he will be bigger-but i hope not that big. I just want this baby out soon and i want to speed things up a little, some of the questions on here the women are already dilated. And i don’t even know how to check to see if i am dilated let alone know how to find the cervix. So any advice would be helpful. Thank-you

Dear Donna, Relax. Relax. Relax. Put your mind at ease.You are fine! You are only 36 weeks along and your pregnancies in the past have been 41 and 42 weeks. Your babies weren’t big, either. Some women’s natural gestation is longer than 40 weeks. I really like what Dr. Bradley says about estimated due dates. He gives the example of an apple tree. Most apples are ready and ripe at the same time. There are a few that are ready to be picked earlier than most and a few apples hang on the tree much longer than the others. If you were to pick these late ripening apples too soon, they wouldn’t be good to eat. Likewise, most women’s babies are ready at 40 weeks gestation, some are ready 36-38 weeks and others just aren’t ready until 41, 42, even 44 weeks.

Do not worry. Don’t think you have to check yourself. Most women don’t. Frankly, I don’t know anyone personally who does except a couple nurses…Again, just relax and enjoy the rest of your pregnancy. You’re right, walking, having sex are beneficial and will help to efface and dilate the cervix. ~Blessings, Guinever

279. caroline - August 9, 2007

Hi, i just spent 2 days in hospital and finally discharged myself cause i was getting fed up. I went in with what felt like contractions about 10 mins apart. They examined me and said i was 1 cm dialated and -3 station. They didn’t say anything about effaced. Then i had a few stronger more painful contraction feelings and they examined me again and i am still only 1cm dialated but baby is now -2 station and midwife wrote past or post effaced (i think thats what it says). This is my second child but first one was c section and i never went into labour at all as she was breech. I am still getting tightenings and pain but not as regular as they were. Please can you give me any answers or any insight as to when you think i will go established labour… Thankyou.

Dear Caroline, I really don’t know when you will go into labor. Reading my article, how long does it take the cervix to dilate 5 centimeters? might give you a little clarification. It is common and normal to experience several bouts of pre-labor like you just experienced before “real” labor establishes itself. Your baby descending is progress so do not be discouraged. Blessings, Guinever

280. LISA - August 8, 2007

My early sonogram said my EDD is Sept 9- My 19 week sonogram said Sept 20th- Which is considered more accurate -the earlier or later one?

I am 35 weeks (according to the earlier estimate) and having brown tinged bloody show- Does this mean I will be going into labor soon? I am feeling more naseaus the past two days and have had slight headaches similar to how I felt in my first trimester. Is this a sign of impending labor I wonder?

And an inquiry about taking a castor oil cocktail at 37 weeks….what if my EDD is off by 2 weeks? Won’t my body just reject the castor oil affect if it’s not ready for labor or do I put my baby in jeopardy by possibly going earlier? Not really sure I am brave enough to go this route- what are your thoughts?

Dear Lisa, A first trimester (you didn’t say if yours was 13 weeks and under) sonogram can be considered accurate for dating the pregnancy. My understanding of castor oil is that it will not work if you and the baby aren’t ready, but I think that 35 weeks and 37 weeks along are both a little early for trying to bring the baby on. Relax. Enjoy the rest of your pregnancy! A little bit of bloody show is not necessarily a sign of impending labor. Yes, its a sign that you are starting to dilate, but the beginnings of effacement and dilation can take weeks for some women. Thanks so much for your encouraging words you wrote on my about me page.~Blessings, Guinever

281. Morgan - August 8, 2007

I’m 38 weeks and just had a doctors appt the other day. She told me that I was 1 cm dilated. This is my first child, is it normal to be dilated this early. How will I know when I lost my mucus plug? Oh and where I live isn’t where I’m having my baby. Its about an hour and a half away to 4 hours (depending on traffic), I was wondering if you think you know when I should go and stay there…like in a hotel? Thanks!

Dear Morgan, It is not only normal to be dilated at 38 weeks, it’s very desirable. I wouldn’t worry too much about losing the mucous plug. It’s not an indicator that you’re in labor or that it’s going to start right away. Most women aren’t even aware that they’ve lost it because it comes out gradually as just some extra discharge at the end of pregnancy. When it comes out whole, it usually just come out while you’re on the toilet. As far as when to go to the hotel during labor, how about when you are sure you are in labor and aren’t comfortable staying at home. Going to a hotel close to the hospital is a very good idea. ~Blessings, Guinever

282. Jenn - August 7, 2007

I went to the doctor today im 39 1/2 weeks, and 1 cm dialated. i don’t think i passed the plug and havent had a contraction my due date is in 4 days and im so miserable. i dont sleep, can’t hardley walk at times and always in some sort of pain. What can i do to help get things going here? i’m very small and scared my baby will get to big for me to push out and they’ll force a c section on me. any advise?

Dear Jenn, please read the article, “can my baby be too big for my pelvis?” Please don’t let anyone “force” a c-section on you. Have confidence in your ability to give birth. Your body has nurtured this baby for nine months, and you can birth your baby! Be patient. It sounds like you’re doing well. I know that the last days of pregnancy are extremely uncomfortable especially in August! Even though you aren’t feeling any contractions, obviously something is happening since you’re already one centimeter. ~Blessings, Guinever

283. Christina - August 7, 2007

Just an update,
I went to the doctor today, I am 38 weeks and 3 days. I am 3 cm dilated and 70% effaced. My cervix is still posterior, but the baby is head down and -2. My blood pressure has been slightly elevated the last 2 weeks and the doctor thinks the baby weighs around 7 pounds. He is also concerned that I could need a c-section because I have a small pelvis. All this in account we are inducing labor Thurs morning. Do you think it could be a long labor? Or could it be pretty quick given I am already 3 cm and this is my second child? Thanks for all of your help Christina

Dear Christina, I have answered your question in a new article, can my baby too big for my pelvis?
You never said if your first birth was vaginal. If it was, then you have what is called a “proven pelvis,” and your doctor shouldn’t be saying your pelvis might be too small.
Let me know how everything goes! Blessings, Guinever

284. Jolene - August 6, 2007

Apart from being dilated what else do I need to expect? Are the back pains significant? A nurse has told me, even though they want to admit me they will prob use Pitocin if I don’t feel contractions soon and they will also opt for an episiotomy as it is routine for first time pregnancies in the country I am living in (they are very dated with their ideologies of natural birth). I do not want to use any of these options if possible and therefore I need to stay at home as long as poss. As I have been dilating slowly does that mean that I could dilate all the way into transition stage without feeling big contractions? If so, how would I know when I should leave for the hosp (it is a 4 min drive away)? Thanks for all your help.

Dear Jolene, Anything is possible because all women feel contractions a little bit differently and cope with pain in different ways. BUT I really do doubt that you could get to transition without knowing or realizing it especially since this is your first baby. You didn’t tell me how often you are having these back pains. Yes, they’re probably contractions. Feeling them in your back means that either the baby is posterior or your cervix is posterior (pressing onto your back rather than downward). If these “back pains” are coming consistently from anywhere between 7 and 20 minutes apart, it is possible that you are in very early labor. IF you are in early labor now, when you are in active labor, there will be no mistaking it. Your contractions will be longer and stronger and closer together and you will probably start vocalizing. When you’re in active labor, your contractions will be very intense. You will be surprised at their strength. Give into your labor and don’t fight it. When you feel like you can’t handle labor any more at home and you would feel more comfortable in the hospital, then that’s the time to go.

I wouldn’t categorize a whole country as been dated for natural birth–it usually varies from one practitioner to another. Some doctors think it is necessary to do an episiotomy on all first-time moms, whereas, other doctors would evaluate each women’s situation as it arises and maybe only do the cut 5-10% of the time when they feel it is necessary. Please remember that you, the women, the patient, the consumer, the customer, can say no to any procedure or drug. But with saying that, I also encourage women to educate themselves, to understand procedures and interventions before refusing them because sometimes they’re necessary. Hope this makes sense. If you wait until you strong contractions before going to the hospital, you won’t be needing the pitocin. Let me know how it goes, Guinever

285. Jolene - August 6, 2007

I am 40 wks pregnant and on my last check-up 2 days ago I was 3cms dilated. 2 days previous to this I was 1.5cms dilated. On both occasions I was told I would deliver in 48hrs but I haven’t really had contractions that are very distinct or that I can time. I now have a sore back all the time and someone suggested it was back contractions. How long should it be before I fully dilate and what if I don’t feel the contractions they say I should be feeling?

Dear Jolene, I think that when active labor kicks in, you will know it and there will be no mistaking that you are in labor. In the meantime, just try to get as much rest as possible. Labor is coming soon. ~Birthing blessings, Guinever

286. cathy - August 5, 2007

I am full term and have been checking my cervix for a couple of weeks. It has been about 2cm dilated. This is my 7th child. I noticed today that my cervix feels flatter than usual. (no lip) what does this mean? I have been having lots of contractions, cramps, and diarreah for two days.

Dear Cathy, it sounds like your cervix is more effaced or thinned out than before. This is progress and a good thing. Hang in there. Sounds like you’ll be having your babe in your arms before too long. ~Birthing blessings, Guinever

287. Danielle - August 4, 2007

I’m going completely insane!! I will be 39 weeks on tuesday. Last Tuesday i went to the hospital because i was contracting every three minutes. The contractions dilated me to 3 and i was 80% effaced, then it all stopped. I have continued to have pains since then and nothing will put me into labor. I did castor oil, and I have been walking every night. I don’t know what else i can do? I was also wondering what the chances are that my doctor would induce me soon? I am not sleeping and I am in a lot of pain. I’m not really sure what to do with myself right now, help!

Dear Danielle, It sounds like you’re ready to have your baby. Soon, you will go into labor for real. I have no idea if your doctor will induce you. Did you ask? I’m not a big fan of inductions. Blessings, Guinever

288. Christina - August 4, 2007

I am 38 weeks pregnant and when I went to the doctor on Thursday I was 2 centimetes dilated, 50% effaced, and the baby was at a -2 station. The doctor asked if I was having any contractions, but I am unsure. From what I remember of my first baby, they ease on and ease off. This time it is just a minute or two of cramping and pressure really low in my pelvis. It doesn’t seem to start at the top of my uterus and radiate down. What does this mean? Also, I have been having a small amount of brownish discharge. Do you think I will make it to my next appt. on Tues? Or could it be sooner?

Dear Christina, Contractions can feel a lot of different ways. You can feel them up front or in your back or an internal downward pressure. Your pressure and cramping sound like contractions to me. I do not know exactly when you will have your baby, but it sounds like you are ready and could go into labor at anytime. ~Blessings, Guinever

289. NELL - August 4, 2007

I’m 38 weeks pregnant and 4 days. I wanted to know if you can feel your cervix dialating, because when I pee sometimes I see something that looks kinda like spit in the toilet…I’m guessing some of my mucas plug but I’m not sure. ..if there’s anything you can tell my that would be great because my doctors not helping me at all.

Dear Nell, it sounds like you are losing your mucous plug. You can’t really feel your cervix dilating, per se, but you can feel pressure and having Braxton hicks contractions certainly helps it to thin and dilate. hope this helps, Guinever

290. Lauren - August 3, 2007

Hi Guinever,

Just an update: I lost my mucus plug last night, and have been experiencing irregular contractions, loose stools, and lots of downward cervical pressure. You may remember from my earlier e-mail that the baby’s head had engaged. This morning my OB says that my cervix (which had already rotated into the proper position) has begun to ripen and I’m now in prodromal labor. He suspects I’ll be able to keep my Monday morning appointment with him, but says it’s all hard to say and the baby could be here this weekend. So things are very exciting! I’m in my 39th week. Thanks again for helping so many people!

Dear Lauren, Please try to get as much rest as possible. If your prodromal labor seems to drag on and on, don’t be discouraged. You’re going to have your baby soon. ~Blessings, Guinever

291. juby - August 2, 2007

I’m almost 38 weeks, 1 cm dilated and 80% effaced as my appt on Tuesday 7/31. Last Tuesday I was 1 cm and 50% effaced so the effacement has progressed some. I have a lot of lower abdominal cramping, like I’m going to start my period and back aches and I’m miserable. The doctor said he thinks I’ll make it to my next appt, 8/7, seeing me only lasting another week tops. My first child was 10 days early (due 7/14 had her 7/4). I’m due 8/18 with this one. Do I have a pretty good chance of going into labor soon? I’m also having a lot of thin discharge, cloudy white.

Dear Juby, I would say that yes, you have a pretty good chance of going into labor soon. Tonight, tomorrow, next week. No one can know for sure. ~birthing blessings, Guinever

292. summer nunn - August 2, 2007

I am 37 weeks and haven’t started to dialate. Is there anything i can do to move this process along?

Dear Summer, Walking, sex, and eating spicy food can all help to encourage labor. ~Guinever

293. Amanda - August 2, 2007

Well, I suppose I’ll just have to wait and see. I’m thinking it should be any day now!

294. Naomi - August 2, 2007


I’m almost 28 weeks pregnant and just checked my cervix (out of curiousity) and it’s very soft. I was tracking my temp and cervical changes prior to getting pregnant and I’ve never felt it this soft. I have been having a few BH’s a day (nothing abnormal) and otherwise feel great. I have a midwifery appt next week, but am wondering if I should call them before then or if there’s no cause for concern. Thanks.

Dear Naomi, if it would set your mind at ease to call your midwife and be checked out before your next scheduled appointment, you could do that. As I was working on the answer to your question, my reply became longer and longer, so I wrote a new article. Please refer to help! I’m having Braxton Hicks contractions: is this ok?~Guinever

295. Lauren - August 2, 2007

Hi Guinever,

Thank you for such a great web site. I am 38 weeks pregnant with my first child. My internal exam at 37.5 weeks revealed that the baby’s head is engaged and my cervix has rotated/tilted into the proper position for childbirth; no dilation yet. I’ve had a few labor-like contractions in the past week, some before the exam, and painless Braxton Hicks contractions for a long time before that. During the past two weeks, the baby’s head has occasionally felt like it’s about to come out of my cervix — a localized pressure that lasts about 10 minutes at a time and makes me walk funny! Last night I woke up with intense period-like cramps; this morning I had a stomach ache (but was still hungry — strange.) This morning I’ve had lots of brown-tinged mucusy discharge, but only on toilet tissue, not pantiliners. I’d love any feedback you might offer. We realize there’s no way to anticipate the timing with certainty, but this is all so new to us and your thoughts would be much appreciated. When I talked to my husband and mentioned the above, he wanted to come home from work immediately. I told him it still could be days or weeks! He was surprised to hear this — and like any soon-to-be-first-time-dad, remains a bit nervous about making sure he’s present for the real thing! Anyway, thanks in advance for your comments and please keep up the good and valuable work.

Dear Lauren, It sounds like you’re getting closer to having your baby. Brown tinged mucous is ok, but if it turns bright red, get checked out right away by your doctor or midwife. Also, I’m not sure what you mean by cramps. If you’re having constant pain, you should ask your care provider. But if its “intense cramps” that last about a minute and come and go, these are normal, desirable contractions and nothing to be concerned about. ~Blessings, Guinever

296. Amanda - August 2, 2007

Hi. I am supposedly 36 weeks, 5 days today. I say supposedly because this is exactly how far along I was with my first son when he was born. After he came, my midwife told me he was full-term. My husband and I just make small babies.

Anyway – yesterday I saw my midwife and asked her to check my cervix, as two nights before my baby dropped and I felt him hit my cervix a couple times. The next morning I had a little bloody show.

She checked me and said I was 4-5cm dilated, 80% effaced, and that the baby was at Station 0. This is exactly how things progressed with my first son 7.5 years ago. With one difference – when I was checked at this stage with my first son and she found I was 5cm dilated, she sent me in to the hospital. Nothing happened that night, so she broke my water the next morning at 10:30 and he was born at 3:30. This time, I was told to wait and see.

So, my question is: how long do you think it may be before this one enters the world? I can tell I’m having contractions, and they are not just BH, but they are so mild I can’t really time them. With my first son I didn’t even feel my contractions until after she broke my water.

I figure it won’t be too long now, but just wanted your opinion. Thanks.

Dear Amanda, it sounds like you could go into labor at anytime. Time will tell. Could be tonight or could be next week or not for another month. I don’t think you’ll have to wait a whole month, though. Sorry, I can’t be of more help to you. I just can’t predict when someone will go into labor. I hope it is soon. It sounds like you’re ready to have this baby. ~birthing blessings, Guinever

297. Bailey - August 1, 2007

hi I am 36 weeks pregnant with my 3rd child and I am 3 centimeters dialated. How long do you think it will take for labor to begin?

Dear Bailey, I really have no idea when your labor might start. It sounds like it could be any day in the next 5 weeks. Hope you have a great birth, Guinever

298. Christina - July 31, 2007

Can you still have sex if you have begun to dilate? 1 or 2 centimeters?

yes, just as long as your water is not broken. ~Guinever

299. jessica - July 31, 2007

hi im 7mths pregnant soon to be 8 next week and since i was 5 and a half months i was having lower back pains and couldnt hardly walk. i went to the doctor but he told me it was normal. but i feel its not. now that im 7 mnths i still have the pain when i walk and when im layin down i cant hardly get up at times. i get alot of pressure on my stomach and my stomach get very hard at times and i get very tired for no reason at all. what should i do should i see another doctor for a second opinion or is it normal for me to feel this way?

Dear Jessica, if you’re not comfortable with your doctor and you feel like he’s dismissing your concerns, find someone who will listen to you. With that said, there are many discomforts during pregnancy. You do have a reason to be tired–you’re pregnant! You might want to be checked out by a physical therapist who works with pregnant ladies about that back pain. Some pain is normal but not being able to get up or it hurts so bad that you can hardly walk–well, that’s not normal. You may have a back problem that has been compounded with the growing weight of the baby. I think you seeking another opinion is a good idea. You might also want to look into massage therapy–find someone who specializes in prenatal massage. I hope you get to feeling better soon, Guinever

300. Albina - July 31, 2007

My LPM was 0n 20th of December 2006 and my cycle is almost 28-30 days.By date 17th of July I measured 29weeks+of gestation.On 31 July I measured 30 weeks.Is this a problem?And my due date is 1 Oct 2007 but I’ll have a C-section so it will be on 17 th of September.
This is my second pregnancy, I have a daughter which is six year old and she’s born at 42 weeks by forceps.
But I cant stay on my feet because I feel too tired, it doesn’t happen all the days.Why does this happen?I also noticed that when i walk around for some hours i have a lot of vaginal discharges, and usually they become darker then normally. Is this a problem?
Does this mean that I should have extra rest?(I’m not having sex for a lot period of time 4months since my husband is not here, and no internal examinations).
Thank you Albina.

Dear Albina, It sounds like you might want to get more rest during the day. Try to lie down a few times each day. You should ask your doc about the changes in discharge the next time you go in. I’m not following you and your dates and measurements, but its usually ok to vary by a couple weeks because the amount of amniotic fluid and baby’s position can affectthe fundal height. ~Blessings, Guinever

301. megan - July 31, 2007

hi. i am 28 weeks pregnant with twins. at my ob appt yesterday i was dilated one centimeter. i am nervous. this is my third pregnancy and my doctor says she doesn’t think i am in preterm labor. she said to take it easy at home. i am having some braxton hix every now and then, nothing regular. is it normal to be dilated one already or does this mean i will probably deliver early? she said my cervix was still nice and long.

Dear Megan, It’s good that your cervix is still long. I would definitely follow your doc’s advice and take it easy. If you find yourself having lots of the braxton hicks, get lots of rest. Also, make sure you’re drinking plenty of water. Not drinking enough fluids can cause contractions. ~Guinever

302. amanda - July 30, 2007


Just tell your doctor everything at your appointment today. They can test to see if your water is broken with a special pH strip

303. amanda - July 30, 2007


Um yes, you can feel pain from dilating. Labor is VERY HARD work! Some people describe their contractions as “sharp pains” but a contraction should build gradually in strength, stay at the peak (most painful) for several seconds and then ease off. Contractions come and go. In other words, it hurts for a minute or so then you have time in between the contractions where there is no pain. If this isn’t the type of “pain” you’re experiencing, then you let your doctor know what is going on. Also, did your doc want you to call if your water broke?

304. amanda - July 30, 2007

heyy I talked to my mother andshe wanted me to ask you a question when I go pee for the last 2 days I have been passing mucus in the toliet and my mother thinks it can be my water leaking is that possible or can u tell me what that is from thanks

Dear Amanda,
When amniotic fluid leaks, you can’t control the flow like you can control the flow of urine. So if you’re only passing mucous when you’re in the bathroom, then it is unlikely that your fluid is leaking. If you have to wear pads or your clothes are getting wet, then it could be your fluid. Hope this helps, Guinever

305. BHA - July 30, 2007

Hi! I’m 37 weeks and was told at my last appointment that I am a good centimeter dilated and 75% effaced. She said the baby’s position was great as well. What is more important in terms of timing/predicting how long I have left to go…dilation or effacement? Thanks!

Dear Hilary, The dilation and effacement work together. First you have to efface a little, then you will start dilating. Normally, you can’t go past 5 cm dilated until you’re at least 50% effaced. Since you’re already past that, you’ll have a good jumpstart on continuing to dilate once your labor starts. Have you read my other two articles on dilation? The information might be helpful for you.
What does being 2 centimeters dilated mean?

How long does it take the cervix to dilate 5 centimeters?

306. Danielle - July 28, 2007

I have told you that i’m 2 centimeters dilated, but last night i started having a small amount of what appeared to be bloody show. It has a brownish tint to it, but there isn’t a lot so i know there isn’t a problem. i’m just not sure what exactly the brown tint is and what it means. (in the past 24 hours i have not have sex and i have not had an internal exam) can you help me out?

Dear Danielle, You’re right, “it’s bloody show.” The brown tint is perfectly normal and nothing to be alarmed about. It’s just part of your mucous plug letting go and coming out. Enjoy the rest of your pregnancy. You won’t be pregnant much longer by the sound of it! ~Blessings, Guinever

307. amanda - July 27, 2007

ok thanks sorry bout not describing my pain they r coming about every 8 mins n last 1 to 1 1/2 min and i also have another question to ask you to see if u can help me on this for the past 3 weeks when i go to sleep and during the day my arms and hands have been going numb and it is killing me the past week I have only been able to get like 2 – 3 hours of sleep a day nothing seems to be helping me I have tried hand braces and it does not work I have been drinking alot of cold water like 10 glasses a day but nothing seems to help me I just wish I can sleep do you have anything that might be able to help me

Dear Amanda, I think that the numbness you are experiencing will go away once you have your baby. If it doesn’t, definitely seek a doctor’s help. I don’t really know what to tell you except to just try different sleeping positions. Try not to put any weight on your hands and arms. you could try sleeping in an armchair with pillows under your arms if necessary for added support. ~Guinever

308. amanda - July 27, 2007

ok thanks but another question: today i passed clear mucus. i have been having pain all day whats going on?

Amanda, you didn’t describe your pain. If you have been having “pain” that lasts a few seconds at a time all day long, that sounds like early labor. As labor progresses the contractions get longer and stronger and closer together. When you are in active labor, you will definitely know that you are in labor. Just try to relax now and get some sleep. ~Birthing blessings, Guinever

309. Alli - July 27, 2007

Yes I did tell him about my stopping breathing and he just said that after the baby comes if it does not stop then I should go to a sleep clinic. The acid coming up in my mouth happens at a different time not when I stop breathing. I will be 39 weeks in 2 days and this is my fourth baby. The last two were overdue by 7 days and 10 days I was induced with them. I was hoping to go into labor on my own this time. My last baby was 9 lbs and now I am very afraid that this one is even larger. When I ask my doctor he is very vague he just says the baby is not to big for me. Anyway, I have been reading up on castor oil and it seems like it might be the ticket for me but I am concerned about how much to take and the association between meconium. Thanks.

Dear Alli, It makes sense and it’s logical that castor oil might stimulate baby’s bowels like it does for mom, but there isn’t any evidence or clinical studies to support that conclusion that I know of. Please read this midwife’s perspective on castor oil for another view point. (that castor oil does not cause mec in the baby)

I do not know of anyone who took castor oil whose baby passed meconium. But I have been at births where there was meconium and have also heard birth stories where meconium was passed. Meconium usually appears with a baby in distress like a mom with high blood pressure or baby not tolerating high doses of pitocin or a baby who has postdates, etc. Let me know how it goes! Blessings, Guinever

310. Danielle - July 27, 2007

I was told a few days ago by my doctor that I’m 2cm dilated. I haven’t lost my mucous plug (atleast that i’ve noticed) and I was just wondering how safe castor oil is to speed up the process? If its unsafe what can I do besides walking?

Danielle, please refer to this website for information regarding castor oil. ~Guinever

311. Christina - July 27, 2007

I am 37 weeks pregnant tomorrow, and today I went to the doctor. He said I am 1 and 1/2 centimeters dialated and “flattening out” What does this mean? This is my second child, the first I delivered at 33 weeks due to my water breaking. Also, he said the my cervix was posterior. I know you don’t have a crystal ball, but does any of this info give you some insight as to when I might deliver? I guess I have been having some contractions, although they don’t seem like the ones that I remember from my first pregnancy. They don’t ease on and ease off, it is more like a ton of pressure really low in my pelvis and then it just goes away. It reminds me more of his head pressing down. Any ideas?

Dear Christina, I have never heard the term, “flattening out” as it relates to the cervix, but I suspect he is referring to effacement or thinning which I have explained in this article. Your cervix being posterior is very normal and it will eventually come down. There really is no way to know for sure when you will go into labor. What you are experiencing is typical of the last few weeks of pregnancy. You could have your baby tonight or in another month or somewhere in between. ~Guinever

312. Alli - July 27, 2007

I had a doctor appt on Monday he said I was 2cm dialated and 50% effaced. After the visit I started having contractions and I lost my mucus plug over a couple of days. Well, since then I have been having lots of braxton hicks just like before but nothing is happening. I was wondering if the mucus plug meant I dialated further? Also, I was thinking of trying 2TBL of castor oil today to try and get things moving. I am having a horrible time sleeping, I stop breathing and wake up gasping for air. This really scares me. I also have been vomiting in my mouth at night when I am sleeping. Doctor is not worried about it at all but I feel like the stopping breathing affects my baby as she was kicking more than normal when this was going on. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Alli, Did you tell your doc about your “stop breathing” episodes? This seems alarming to me and a cause for concern. As your cervix opens, yes, you can sometimes lose your mucous plug as your cervix dilates. So yes, it is possible that you are dilated more than you were on Monday. I’m assuming that the vomiting and gasping for air are happening at the same time? Is it acidic? If yes, it’s probably heartburn or acid reflux. This can be caused by your hormones. The same hormones that soften and loosen your pelvis in preparation for birth also work on other parts of your body as well. So the spinchter that helps to keep acid where its supposed to can soften and not work properly and so the acid comes back up in your throat. This problem should fix itself after you have your baby. Sleep sitting up or mostly sitting up, propped up with lots of pillows. Hang in there. No one has ever been pregnant forever. You will meet your baby soon.
~Blessings, Guinever

313. amanda - July 27, 2007

im 39 weeks and 2 day whith my second baby i went to the doctor 2 days ago n they said in thinning out n im 1 cm dailated she also said with your second baby u dont walk around dailated for week with my son i was only 16 n was in labor for only 4 1/2 hours i was just woundering if you think my baby is going to come soon

Dear Amanda, It sounds like you will be having a baby sometime in the next couple weeks. Perhaps you misunderstood what your doctor told you. It is very common for pregnant women to walk around dilated for days and even weeks. ~Guinever

314. Kim - July 26, 2007

I am 40 weeks and this is my 3 child my others are all 5 years apart in age. My question is my cervix has not dropped down and is not dilateing. What is causing this to happen? I never had this with my other children.

Dear Kim, Please remember that your due date is only an approximation of when your baby will be born. Sometimes it takes longer than 40 weeks for you and your baby to be ready for labor and birth. One possibility is that your baby is not in the most optimal position for birth. If the baby is breech or posterior (head down but facing up), then the head doesn’t put as much pressure on the cervix as needed for dilation. Also, are you doing things to encourage contractions like walking and having sex? ~Guinever

315. Jen - July 25, 2007

I am 31 weeks 6 days dilated to 2 and 50% effaced. This is my 4th pregnancy, my 10 year old was 36 weeks, my 4 year old was 37 weeks, and my 2 year old was 34 weeks. I have not really had any contractions, I do not have incompetent cervix. Is this normal or a sign that I’m going to have trouble with this one too?

Dear Jen, Being 2cm dilated with a fourth baby at your point in pregnancy is not unusual and not normally a cause for concern, BUT with your past history of delivering early, it could indicate that you might be going early again. Have you sat down and talked with your care provider about the probable causes of your previous pre-term labors? Sometimes, a woman does everything right and is healthy and there really is no cause. But there are things such as an unhealthy diet, stress, smoking, drinking, environmental hazards and drug use that can contribute to pre-term labor.

Also, has your labor always started with your water breaking first? If yes, taking vitamin C every day and getting adequate protein (about 80 grams everyday) helps to build a strong amniotic sac that is less prone to premature rupture of membranes. ~Guinever

316. Carla Contreras - July 24, 2007

I don’t know when I conceived but now I’m 27 weeks and the baby is measuring at 33 weeks. I’m not due until October. I have only gained 5 pounds. Is the baby going to be born big and possibly induced or C-section. This is my second pregnancy, my first I was past due and induced plus he weighed 8lbs and 10ozs.
Is this normal and will I continue to have this problem if I decide to have another?

Dear Carla, There are a few reasons that could contribute to your measuring so off your due date. You say you don’t know when you conceived, but then you say you’re 27 weeks along. If you don’t know the first day of your last period plus you didn’t have a first trimester ultra-sound to date the pregnancy, it could be possible that your estimated due date is incorrect. Another reason you could be measuring big is because of lots of extra amniotic fluid. The baby’s position in your womb could also affect the fundal height measurement. Do you have diabetes–this can cause a bigger than normal baby. Did your doctor discuss with you this six week discrepancy in your measurement and your due date and the possible causes? If not, you should definitely talk with your doctor about it during your next appointment.

Are you eating healthy? A five pound weight gain would only be ok if you are getting all the nutrients that you need. Protein (meats and nuts, etc), vegetables–all kinds and colors, whole grains, fruits, and dairy should all be a part of your weekly diet.

I have no idea if you will be induced or have a c-section. That is between you and your medical caregiver. Please realize that your first baby at eight pounds, 10 ounces was NOT too big. Sounds very healthy. ~Guinever

317. Angela - July 19, 2007

I was told 3 days ago that I was 2 cm and 50% effaced and that the baby has engaged. I started having contractions about 20 min after my exam. They lasted for about 3 hours and were 3-4 min apart and lasting around a min to a min and a half each. Then all of a sudden they stopped. I have had a few more in the last few days but no sign of them becoming regular. I have had braxton hicks contractions for over a month and a half and these ones felt different. Just like the contractions I had when I was in labour with my daughter. I tried finding my cervix last night but everything just seemed so soft and mooshy in there and I couldn’t find it. I know it is a trained skill to be able to find it and understand it but generally how far up into the vaginal cavity is it?

Dear Angela, It’s pretty common to start having contractions after an exam because touching the cervix can result in hormones being released. To answer your question about how far up the cervix is, it varies. Sometimes, it could be just right there inside the opening, but usually you have to go hunting around for it. The cervix can be hard to find especially if you’ve never felt the cervix and don’t know what you’re feeling around for. The cervix can be posterior, meaning the opening is toward your back and is hard to reach even for your doctor, midwife, or nurse. Even when you’re not pregnant, the cervix migrates due to hormonal changes during the monthly cycle. So to answer your question, there isn’t a fixed place that the cervix can be found. ~Guinever

318. Emily - July 17, 2007

I am 31 weeks along with my second child, i went in to the hospital for back pains and lower cramps in my stomach, they determined it was a UTI, but checked me anyways and the nurse said i was one cm dilated already that was all she said and i was sent home does this mean i will deliver a bit earlier than thought or what?

Being one centimeter dilated now at 31 weeks along in your pregnancy does not indicate or guarantee that you will deliver early. Women can walk around dilated for many weeks. I’m glad you had an UTI that can be treated rather than premature labor. ~Guinever

319. Alli - July 14, 2007

I am 37 weeks along and have been having lots of cramps and contractions but nothing that lasts, so I have been researching on how to check my own cervix and when I did, it felt soft and squishy and pretty short. I could get a finger in but inside the squishy part it felt like there was a rubberband around the inside. Could you explain this to me?

Alli, Checking the cervix for dilation and effacement is a learned skill. As a doula and childbirth educator, I do not have any training and skills in this area. I suggest you ask your medical care provider. However, a midwife confirmed for me that the part of your cervix that feels like a rubberband is just part of your cervix that still has some thinning out to do. ~Guinever

320. Judy - July 13, 2007

Hi, I am 34 and 1/2 weeks pregnant, although my baby is measuring 6 days older. Does this usually mean the date is off? He weighed 4.9 pounds at 32 weeks and as I have read, that is bigger than usual for 32 weeks? Also, I was dialated 1 cm at 32 weeks and since then I have had yucky contractions off and on but they always stop after 4 or 5 hours. I have a lot of pressure in my pelvis, as the baby dropped a couple of weeks ago and my lower back always contracts with my stomach. Does this sound familiar because I am going nuts wondering when I could be delivering this baby?

Judy, Ultrasound does not measure accurately the baby’s weight. Ultrasound is good for dating pregnancies only in the first trimester and you are well past that. Please note that the due date is only an estimation and is based on the first day of your last period. If you didn’t have a regular, 28 day cycle for the month you conceived, your baby could be older or younger. Due dates give just a general idea of when a woman might be having a baby. As far as having pressure and contractions, these are all good things that are preparing your body to give birth in the coming weeks. You’re only 34 weeks along. Ideally, you won’t give birth for a few more weeks for the baby’s optimal growth and development. The back pain is a good indicator of your baby being in a posterior position. To help your baby move into the more optimal anterior position, I suggest you refer to the spinning babies website. ~Guinever

321. jemia - July 8, 2007

i am 33 weeks pregnant with twins and dialated 2 cent. my contractions are 1-3 min apart and i have lost my mucous plug. what can i do to speed thing up?

At only 33 weeks along, your babies would benefit from at least a couple more weeks in the womb. Please call your medical caregiver immediately and ask them what you should do. Normal procedure would be for you to have steroid shots to help develop the babys’ lungs. At this point, you probably shouldn’t be trying to speed your labor up. The goal now with your twins would be to stay pregnant as long as possible unless you have a medical problem that would be dangerous for you to remain pregnant as determined by your doctor. Optimal lung development hasn’t occurred yet at only 33 weeks gestation. If your babies were to be born today, they would not be healthy newborns who you could take home after the normal 2 days recovery time in the hospital (or 4 days for a cesarean) . Let me know how it goes. ~Guinever

322. Lynne - June 6, 2007

Why do they say you have to have contractions in order to start dialating. When I went to the hospital with my son by ambulance because of a separated placenta they said at 2am that I was 3cm dialated but I never experienced contractions until 3am. Can you have contractions but not feel them at all. I am 35 weeks pregnant with my 4th child and I’m sure that I’ve been dropped for almost 2weeks. I see my OB in 2 days, I’ve been getting really weird pains/tingly type in my vagina and I’m getting really anxious about everything, I’m even nesting right now cleaning my house top to bottom like I did with my first daughter(I only experienced this with her) and I was 3 weeks early with her. I go early with all my children. Any insight would be greatly appreciated. Sorry for being so long winded.

To answer your question, yes, some women have contractions and don’t feel them and aren’t aware that the uterus is contracting. This is perfectly normal. You obviously have experienced this. Even though women feel contractions differently, I’m not sure the tingly type pain you’re describing are contractions. I would definitely ask your OB about them since you sound a little worried. With the baby so low, you could be feeling the baby tickling you with a hand, foot, or elbow. Hope this helps, Guinever

323. sandra - April 28, 2007

I am 30 weeks pregnant and my cervix is starting to soften is this okay. This is also my fourth child. I have been having a lot of pressure and difficulty walking.

It’s not unusual that your cervix is starting to soften at this point especially since this is your fourth baby. To relieve the pressure, get in hands and knees position–lean on a birth ball, chair, or couch. To further relieve the pressure in the hands and knees position, put your head down on a pillow. With your head and shoulders down and butt up higher, this brings the weight of the baby off your cervix. You’ll probably want to get into these positions several times a day for a few minutes as you feel the need. ~Guinever

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