If you’re about to give birth for the first time, you might be worried about how it will all go down on the day? You might even feel like you don’t know what you’re doing.
The good news is that while giving birth is new territory for you, your body knows exactly what it’s doing – it was made for this. But it doesn’t hurt to be able to visualise exactly what’s going to happen.
A viral Tik Tok video by certified nurse-midwife, Sarah Pringle (@midwifemama) used a model to give a visual demonstration of what the cervix looks like in labour.
The video shows how the cervix changes during labour in preparation for baby to enter the vagina.
And it’s safe to say that after watching this video, many people were in awe of how amazing the female body is.
One commenter wrote: “How can it stretch that much gawd leee”
Another added: “I thought that was a nipple so when it turned into a hole a genuinely gasped out loud.”
While the cervix opening doesn’t look like much fun to some, one woman said “it’s not that bad”.
“It’s literally not that bad. I would 100% rather go through labour again than deal with period cramps every period,” she said.
Once your baby and body are ready for birth, your cervix will start to open slowly. Pregnancy Birth & Baby says, “You may see a clear, pink, or slightly bloody discharge (sometimes referred to as the ‘show’). This is the release of the mucus plug, that sits over the cervical canal during pregnancy.” This is also known as the first stage of labour.
When your cervix is open more than 3cm, it’s called ‘established’ labour or the ‘active phase’. This continues until the cervix is around 7 cm dilated.
Next comes the ‘transition phase’, when the cervix continues to fully open.
The first stage of labour is complete when the cervix is open. The baby will start to move through the pelvis and mum can start pushing.
Pregnancy Birth & Baby says “the time it takes for the cervix to open (or dilate) will vary from woman to woman and can range from several hours to days or even weeks.”
But don’t let this dishearten you – if it feels like things are moving slowly, it doesn’t mean they are – there’s still significant work going on in your cervix.
Speaking to TMB TV, Midwife Tylah says, “To explain dilatation a little bit, everyone thinks it’s about the centimetres – one to ten and that’s it. They get very disheartened if they go to the hospital and hear they’re only two centimetres – that ruins their whole mindset.”
Before labour, the cervix is around 3.5 cm to 4 cm long. Once labour starts, the cervix softens and shortens.
“You might stay one centimetre the whole time, but you’ve shortened your cervix,” says Tylah.
“And then all it has to do is sort of open and things go quite quickly from there.
“It’s realising that no work that your body is doing is a wasted effort. It all is part of the plan.”
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