Pregnancy and Delivery: What Your Cervix Looks Like During Labour Stages

Afi Tugbewofia Dotse

The cervix is the opening of the womb into the vagina. It opens slightly to permit the entry of sperm for fertilisation of the egg. Once fertilisation has occurred and it’s implanted in the womb, the cervix is closed to prevent the miscarriage of the fetus.

During pregnancy the cervix (mouth of the womb) is closed tightly. It will remain closed until the fetus is due for delivery. During the few weeks prior to delivery, it begins to shorten in length and this begin the process of it opening once labour sets in.

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When a woman is due, it undergoes changes to open up. Once labour starts it will begin to open. It must open fully to 10cm diameter to allow birthing. In most women, it opens 1cm per hour but this is faster after multiple deliveries.

There are two stages of labour (for purposes of our discussion). In first time moms, it can take several hours or even days to go through the first stage of labour. Once the second phase is entered i.e after the cervix dilates to 4cm, cervix will dilate at a rate of 1cm/hour but this can be faster for women with multiple deliveries.

cervical dilation

This is a pictorial view of the cervical changes during labour. If a woman forces herself to push before a full dilatation, chances are that the cervix may be torn and cause her to bleed heavily until it is repaired.

READ ALSO:PREGNANCY: The Benefits of Antenatal Care

The cervix must undergo a full dilatation of 10cm to allow the delivery of the fetus. If a woman pushes before full dilatation, a common complication is the tear of the cervix which is a difficult organ to repair. Women can bleed heavily from cervical tears.


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