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First Time Pregnancy: Effacement and Dilation
6 Replies
Solange - February 18


This is my first pregnancy. I am 4 days passed by due date and was just told that I am not effaced nor dilated yet.

Does anyone know of the average amount of time this takes to occur? I am getting discouraged as I don't want to be medically induced.


Hasina - February 18

Dilation and effacement doesn't really mean much before you are in labor. Women are so different, and you could go in to labor tonight even.

In my country they don't even check dilation before you are admitted to the hospital and in labor. That's because women tend to look to much in to it, either thinking they are in their way (you can stay dilated and effaced for weeks on end), or worrying that labor is weeks away.
Don't be discouraged, it seriously doesn't mean much at all.

Good luck on your upcoming birth though! Your little one will be here before you know it.


Lisette - February 18

I agree. It doesn't mean anything in terms of when you'll go into labor or how long you'll be in labor for. In the UK they don't perform any internal exams until you're in labor.

I had no signs at all the the weeks leading up to my labor or even in the days before; no cramps, no losing mucus plug, no nausea/diarrhea. The day my labor started my BH contractions (which I'd had regularly since around 15 weeks of pregnancy) increased in intensity and frequency, accompanied by period-type backache over the course of a day until they became proper timetable contractions. I had a bloody show around midnight and that was it: the start of labor.

There really is no way of telling when or how it will happen but it will happen.


Zinnia - February 18

Nope, no way of knowing how long it will take YOU to efface and dilate. As it's your first pregnancy, the general rule is that during labor you will probably efface first, then start to dilate. The cervix looks like a turtleneck sweater when it's undilated and uneffaced--if you think of pulling that sweater over a head, it's fully effaced when it's pulled thin against the head--100% effaced is literally as thin as fabric! THEN the real dilation will start to happen (you might be 1-3 cm dilated and then not dilate anymore until your effacement is complete). I always remind moms that effacement is just as important as dilation--even if there is no change in dilation, a change in effacement means you are changing your cervix! laugh

As another general rule, with your first baby the majority of that change will start to happen when your contractions become regular and don't change during activity (or at least don't peter out if you change positions etc) but any contractions up until that point are working to make your cervix soft and ready for labor, which is important as well because a soft cervix is receptive to the hormones which are released when your waters break.... So even if you feel like it's "not doing anything," all labor, even early labor, is helping your body to get ready for birth.


Rohana - February 18

I had no symptoms before labor either and it was driving me nuts. But on the day of my planned induction (I had gestational diabetes) I woke up at six in the morning to a gush of fluid and my contractions started half an hour later. Hang in there Solange.


Ariane - April 13

Don't you want to take food supplements to help you with that. Just give it a try.


ghell - April 13

As your due date gets closer, your cervix will begin to stretch (efface) and open (dilate) to prepare for your baby's birth. In some women, particularly if this is their second or third pregnancy, the cervix may efface and dilate slowly over a period of weeks. A first-time mother often will not dilate until active labor begins.



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