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Thread: Checking how dialated you are?

  1. #1

    Default Checking how dialated you are?

    Is it possible to check yourself during early labour (say with the use of a mirror) to see how dialated you are?


  2. #2

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    not sure never heard of any one attempting it sorry i couldn't be more useful

  3. #3

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    At the recent antenatal classes we went to the midwife said they check by inserting two fingers into the cervix. If they can get two fingers in then you are three cms, then as they spread them apart they somehow seem to know how many cms that is.

    I'm not sure if you can see the cervix with a mirror unless you have a speculum? Maybe Alan our resident midwife knows?

  4. #4

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    You cannot see your cervix with a mirror, it is too far up your vagina.
    If you have ever had a Papmear you will remember the doctor/nurse doing it would have used a speculum to find your cervix.
    I urge women to gentle check out their own anatomy. See if you can find your cervix.
    To do a VE and examine dilatation during labour requires a 2 fingers to be put up into your vagina.

    Why would you need to check in early labour....would it change your plan? I mean would you go into hospital sooner or stay home longer based on what you find...and how will you know if you are right? The first few VE's i ever did as a student midwife felt just like mush to me, I had no idea for a while what I was meant to be finding.
    It makes more sense to base the progress of normal labour on strength, regularity of conractions. Trust your instincts.

  5. #5
    Rainbows_ Guest

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    Oh this is very interesting i would love to go through labout WITHOUT internal examinations. Is this possible? i would really love to know how to check myself as those instuments they use hurt so much!!!

  6. #6

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    Do some doctors use instruments to determine dilation when you are in labour? My MD and the delivery nurses would check me once or twice during both of my labours so far with their hand - sterile glove on, lubricant, and a quick check with the fingers to feel how far dilated I was. Never hurt a bit, and I was always thrilled to hear when I was making progress that could be measured with numbers. But I have heard of others who find internals uncomfortable.
    I believe you can check to see if you are dilated at home if you CAREFULLY clean your hand, and insert a couple of fingers to see if you can feel how far "open" the cervix is. I think you would feel kind of a ring with a dip in the middle. The dip is the opening. If it is big enough for a finger tip, you are about 1cm, two full fingers, 2-3 cm, etc. (It's been a long time since I checked my textbooks on that, but I think that's how it went. I'm sure someone more experienced could set me straight.)
    As the PP mentioned, I wouldn't use that alone to determine how well your labour has progressed, or when to go to the hospital. Things can change pretty quickly, and how you feel with your contractions is a better indication, but I understand the desire to know if things are progressing "down there" or not. I certainly was curious, but I didn't know I could check myself.
    And I believe you can refuse an internal in the hospital if you so desire, but I think they can provide helpful information to your care giver about the progress of your labour, the descent of baby's head, etc. Do your research and make an informed decision.
    All the best!

  7. #7
    Rainbows_ Guest

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    I would have been very greatful if people had of used their fingers thats for sure!! I had at least 20 internals maybe more with a metal thing, which felt like it was opening me up to the whole world it was so big!! I was heavily bleading so this may have contributed to it but mostly when they tried to pop my waters they couldnt get up there so they tried every hour with the silver thing and i screamed so much they had to stop and come back later.

    I would love to do these myself or get my hubby to do them as i feel very uncomfortable after last time i dont want anyone to touch me down there now, i simply refuse so this question about checking yourself is a thread i am going to follow closely!!

  8. #8

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    With second babies I dont think it matters as much how far along you are. I had my first internal @4-5cm, and it was depressing - I thought I was doing better than that!! Then about 5minutes later I was having the pushing urge in the shower.
    Second time mums are apparently harder to get good results from with internals as it might not mean that much. Apparently......

  9. #9

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    [QUOTE=BirthConnection;561820]You cannot see your cervix with a mirror, it is too far up your vagina.
    If you have ever had a Papmear you will remember the doctor/nurse doing it would have used a speculum to find your cervix.
    I urge women to gentle check out their own anatomy. See if you can find your cervix.
    To do a VE and examine dilatation during labour requires a 2 fingers to be put up into your vagina.

    Why would you need to check in early labour....would it change your plan? I mean would you go into hospital sooner or stay home longer based on what you find...and how will you know if you are right? The first few VE's i ever did as a student midwife felt just like mush to me, I had no idea for a while what I was meant to be finding.
    It makes more sense to base the progress of normal labour on strength, regularity of conractions. Trust your instincts.[/QUOTE

    Thanks for your reply,

    No NEED to check really ... wouldn't change my plan at all. However, I am expecting my 5th child. My babies tend to come pretty quickly without too many intense contractions. (However I kinda go into a 'zone' which im sure helps me cope).

    I have always wondered how Midwives measure the cm of dialation when they cant see it. For example try closing your eyes several times and trying to guess 10cm using your thumb and index finger. Compare each guess on an accurate ruler and you'll see that its pretty hard to be consistant - when you can't see.

    During labour when I arrive at the hospital my midwife usually only have one chance to check to see how dialated I am. The last two births I have been about 4-5cm dialated with irregular contractions. However, as soon as I get the shower running on my back - less than 20 minutes later my baby will arrive. Kinda makes me nervous that I could be one of the moms that has a baby at the supermarket.

  10. #10

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    It is little difficult to check your own dilation due to the size of your tummy however some people are able to. Your cervix is normally about 5 cm long and would have the consistency similar to the tip of your nose. If this is your first pregnancy your cervix is closed. If this is not your first pregnancy then your cervix will be open a little. It may feel like a small doughnut. In early labour or sometimes just before the start of labour your cervix softens and starts to get shorter. It will now feel a little like your ear lobe. As labour progresses your cervix gets shorter and thinner. This is also the time that the cervix moves from the back where it normally is, towards the front. Personally I usually do not check the dilation or perform an internal examination. By spending time with a woman in labour I can usually estimate the dilation. And as long as things are progressing well I prefer to let nature take itís course. Your body will know when itís time to push.

  11. #11
    Rainbows_ Guest

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    What is the average amount of hours it takes for the cervix to fully dilate? When would you be worried about a women not progressing (in terms of hours and dilation) ???

  12. #12
    melissa.r Guest

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    When in hospital, there are limits placed on how many hours a woman can labour for before intervening. Not sure what this is though. I think it is easy to get caught up in how many cms you are, but a good midwife/OB doesn't need to physically check, they can tell by what noises a woman is making , how a woman looks, what she is saying, how long a contraction is and how far about they are etc etc. How many cms you are also does not neccessarily determine how close you are to giving birth. One woman can dilate very fast and others take a long time to dialate. I had one internal with my DD1 and it was very painful and decided not to have an internal with my DD2 (my homebirth babe). This decision was respected by my midwives. You need to trust that your body will birth your baby in its own time. You do not have to have any interventions you are uncomfortable with...

  13. #13

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    Rainbows
    I donít think about hours. I have seen women dilate from 5cm to fully in less than an hour. I have also seen this take more than 6 hours. When a woman is in labour she gives off little signals which can indicate the progression of labour. As long as these signals keep coming and telling me that all is going well then I am happy to let mother nature take itís course, no matter how slow she may be.

  14. #14

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    I think checking dilation is pretty hard. At our birth the other day we were told we were at 9cm after a VE. After 1.5 hours of no pushing urge and even worse contractions, a more experienced midwife checked and said we were 4-5cm! The cervix was very thin so hard to actually detect. Someone else had this that I spoke to as well.

  15. #15

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    jja
    Your cervix can and usually does become as thin as a sheet of paper. Try this. Put a sheet of paper flat on the desk and then slide your finger over the edge. Now try to imagine how difficult it would be to be able to feel that amongst all the other skin folds inside the vagina.

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