How to tell at home if your cervix is dilating?

By Amanda Williams

The moments leading up to the birth of your child are both exciting and nerve-racking. As your labour progresses, your cervix dilates up to 10cm so the baby can comfortably pass through the birth canal. If you are interested in the progress of your delivery, and you can't wait to arrive at the hospital for a nurse or doctor to check you out, you can preform a self-check to determine how dilated your cervix is.

Wash your hands with hot water and soap or use hand sanitiser, then put on latex gloves. If you desire, apply a small amount of lubrication to your gloves. Gloves will help prevent the spread of bacteria from your hands to your vaginal canal and cervix.

Position yourself on a chair or on the corner of a bed. Lift up one leg to your side and keep your other leg down with your foot flat on the ground. This position allows you to reach deeper into the vaginal canal. When professionals check your cervix, they usually have you lay on your back, but for a self-check, this position works best.

Use one or two fingers, preferably your index and middle fingers, to reach into your vagina, toward your back to touch the cervix. You can tell it's your cervix because it feels like your pressing your fingers into closed, puckered lips, especially during the early stages of labour.

Press as many fingers as you can, gently, into the cervix. If you can only fit one, that means your cervix is only 1cm dilated. If you can fit two fingers, that means your cervix is 2cm dilated. The more fingers you can comfortably fit or the wider you can stretch the cervix, the more dilated you are.

Slowly remove your fingers. Remove the gloves and wash your hands or apply hand sanitiser.

Tip

When you poke the cervix, you may feel sacs of water, or membranes, surrounding your baby, or you may feel the baby's head if your water has already broke.

Warning

If you feel any discomfort, stop. Even if you wear gloves and wash your hands, you still may push bacteria into the cervix each time you check it. Consult with a nurse or doctor each time you want to check because too much bacteria may be harmful to your baby and your cervix.

About the Author

Amanda Williams has been writing since 2009 on various writing websites and blogging since 2003. She enjoys writing about health, medicine, education and home and garden topics. Williams earned a Bachelor of Science in biology at East Stroudsburg University in May 2013. Williams is also a certified emergency medical technician.