To Check or Not To Check (Your Cervix)
Communication is the foundation of any healthy relationship and that includes the relationship you have with your doctor. Part of ensuring you have a safe and healthy pregnancy is all about over-communicating your wants, needs, fears and goals while being explicit about what you are and are not comfortable doing. This is so you can avoid any last-minute decisions when it comes down to the special time.
There are some things your doctor may recommend to you such as cervical checks leading up to your delivery. While some women appreciate the information, others may not need or want to know. Dilation can vary widely depending on the person and does not correlate to a definitive labor stage or timeline. There are instances of women who dilate up to 5cm and do not go into labor for another week while you may find another who is dilated 2cm and going into labor very rapidly.
Know that you may choose to opt-out and save yourself the added stress that sometimes comes with these checks if you don’t feel you want the data point. If it feels invasive then don’t do it. An expecting mother benefits from a calm mental state to prepare her mind and body for the amazing experience. Your body will go into labor without the additional prodding or checking.
Something you may be much more interested in knowing is the position your baby is in the womb. Your baby’s position is crucial to an easy birth. At around 32 weeks many babies are in a longitudinal lie (most head-down, some breech (bottom down)) in the mother’s womb. Closer to the special day the baby will have ideally moved into the optimal position with their head towards the cervix and their back on your left side.
A Midwife is a crucial figure in any natural childbirth. At that 32 week mark, they will begin palpating the mother’s belly to determine what position the baby is in and will guide the mother in exercises that can help ease the baby into the optimal position for labor including maternal postures, manual rotation/flexion of the baby’s head, nutritional support and will often recommend acupuncture. A baby’s position, which can only be determined by palpating the mother’s stomach, is much more vital information than your dilation status. As stated, you can dilate all you want but if your baby is not in the correct position it can cause problems that can be easily avoided.
The most important thing is to create your dream birthing team with whom you can be totally honest and transparent with as you go through such a significant chapter in your life. You want to be supported by the best of the best. You deserve it.