What Does 2 cm Dilation Mean: A Must Read for All Moms
Pregnancy is a fascinating and incredibly unique experience. However, the arrival of your baby isn't a one-day event as many people think. Actually, delivering is a process filled with mind-blowing cervical dilations. Despite that, the joy of holding your own baby is worth that sacrifice.
Often, when you go for a checkup, you'll hear your doctor use the term "dilates". To allow your baby to easily find its way outside, your body undergoes a series of changes, including cervical dilation.
About a week or so before delivery, your cervix will dilate 2 centimeters wide and increase up to a maximum of 10 cm as the delivery date approaches. According to the American Pregnancy Association, 2 cm dilated might indicate an early labor phase.
What Is Cervical Dilation?
"Dilates” simply means cervical opening. The cervix is a gateway between your vagina and uterus that prevents bacteria from entering the womb. When you become expectant, your body produces hormones that trigger the formation of a thick mucus plug in your cervical opening. Typically, all through your pregnancy period, your cervix remains tightly closed. However, as your due date approaches, your cervix dilates/opens up to allow your baby to smoothly move through.
For most pregnant women, during the first stages of labor, their cervix will become 2cm dilated and stretch up to a maximum of 10 cm as the baby gets ready to step into the world. According to a medical report made by Debra Rose Wilson, your dilation time will majorly depend on if you're a 1st-time mom or not. If you are, your cervix may remain closed up until the actual delivery day. However, for mothers who've had a kid before, their cervix will dilate a week or so before the day they give birth.
Does 2 cm Dilation Means Immediate Labor
When your cervix becomes 2 cm dilated, you may think that you'll be delivering anytime soon. In most cases, 2 cm dilation isn't always a sign of immediate labor. Actually, it may still take you a couple of weeks for active labor to kick-start, especially if you're a 1st-time mom. However, the latent phase for mothers who had previous kids may just indicate the onset of active labor. During this phase, the contractions aren't strong and regular as they should be yet. Essentially, your cervix softens and shortens in preparation for the main game.
To put this in context, picture your uterus like a balloon and the cervix as the balloon's neck. As you push air inside the balloon, pressure increases, making the neck open up and shorten, just like the cervix does.
Best Methods to Help You Dilate Your Cervix
Although experts insist on natural cervical dilation, there are a number of other methods you can use to enhance dilation. Before you try any of the methods listed below, it's important to first seek professional advice.
1. Warm shower
During labor, most of your abdominal muscles are tense. Taking a warm shower helps them to relax and releases the tension, thus allowing a faster dilation. Consider soaking yourself for a while in warm water to allow the warmth to sink deeper.
However, when taking your shower, you should make sure that there's someone besides you. Your husband would make a perfect showering partner.
2. Gentle massage
Massages are incredibly relaxing, aren't they? During labor, a gentle massage around your lower abdomen would just work miracles. Just like a warm shower, massages will help your muscles to relax, thus enhancing cervical dilation. Simply lie down comfortably and ask your partner to massage you.
3. Positive visualization
Positive visualization is an important therapeutic tool to encourage cervical dilation. It helps you to calm down, thus allowing the contractions to pick rhythm. Say to yourself that everything will go just fine; visualize your cervix opening wide and your pelvis being flexible enough to allow your baby to smoothly go through.
So if your cervix becomes 2 cm dilated, it doesn't always mean that you're going to give birth immediately. It's because your body is different from the others. You can still consider taking a shower, having an abdominal massage and positive visualization to encourage your cervix to dilate.