What pregnancy week is your doctor supposed to start checking for effacement or dialation?

(June 26, 2010)

Pregnancy Dialation And Effacement

During the final trimester, the cervix in most women will start to efface or stretch and open or dilate; this basically indicates that the body is preparing itself for labor. Some women may dilate only when they are in active labor. During the pregnancy the cervix has been tightly sealed by a mucous plug which drops as the pregnancy progresses and the cervix thins. This phenomenon of the mucus plug dropping is also known as a bloody show at times as there may be some traces of blood in the mucous. Once the cervix starts to efface it will also slowly start opening up or dilating .When the cervix has dilated to 10 cms then the pregnant woman is ready to deliver the baby. Typically the doctor will start checking a pregnant woman for effacement and dilation during the final weeks of pregnancy to check on how the labor is progressing. To be more precise the mid wife or the doctor will ideally start checking for effacement or dilation in week 37 of pregnancy.

Most women feel some amount of abdominal discomfort similar to menstrual cramps once the cervix starts dilating. Pregnant women need to go in for regular checkups because the doctor can check and state if the cervix has dilated too early- in the second trimester itself which is an indication of preterm labor. Once the cervix is fully effaced and dilated the pregnant woman is said to be ripe. During the early weeks of pregnancy the cervix is usually thick with no effacement, however as the pregnancy progresses it starts thinning out enabling the baby to move downwards thereby reducing the pressure on the ribs of the mother. At this stage most mothers have reported that they are able to breathe easier as the lungs do not push into the uterus when expanded fully. However with the baby moving downwards there is more pressure on the bladder which tends to result in frequent urination.
Regular medical checkups and pelvic exams during pregnancy are extremely important to check on the status of the cervix and the progress of the dilation and effacement. Moreover, via regular checkups the doctor is able to evaluate early on if the mother or child is affected by any infection or medical disorder and thus take immediate action so that the problem may be resolved before it progresses further which would otherwise endanger them.

Submitted by P T on June 26, 2010 at 08:19

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