For a vaginal birth, cervical dilation and erasure are important, but it doesn’t always happen the way it should. In this article, let us find out why cervical ripening is so important for childbirth and other related concerns.
What Is Cervix Ripening?
Throughout the whole pregnancy, the cervix is closed. Your cervix undergoes changes when you reach your due date, and starts to relax and become thinner to prepare for childbirth. This is referred to as cervical ripening.
Medical intervention may be needed for the procedure in cases where this process does not happen naturally. If the doctor thinks that it is in the best interest of the baby and the mother, this can happen. This normally occurs when you or your baby have some health problems, or you are overdue by more than a week.
It will not only help you get into natural labor (without medical induction) when the procedure is performed to soften the cervix, but it may even shorten the period of labor often.
How to Soften the Cervix at Home
Want to stimulate the opening of your cervix at home? Emphasis on making the tissues softer. The easiest way to do this is to help the infant to get into the right position, which is head-down, facing your back, and rubbing against the cervix. Prostaglandins are released by pressure from the head of the infant, which signals to your body that it is time to go and start contractions.’ These prostaglandins often soften and open up the cervix.
Here are some ways to encourage cervical ripening at home:
1. Work on Alignment
It may also be good to put some balance into your own body. Try standing over your ankles with your hips (instead of pushing your belly out and while sitting, don’t slouch.
2. Parallel Your Feet
Naturally, several pregnant women stand with splayed feet in a broad stance. But the sitz bones, which opens the pelvis and coaxes your baby into the correct position, can be separated by bringing the toes parallel.
3. Try a Birthing Ball
The pelvis often opens by rocking, bouncing, and spinning the hips on a birthing ball, and it may accelerate cervical dilation.
4. Walk Around
Don’t underestimate gravity’s power! Your baby will press against the cervix while walking, which can help it erase and dilate.
5. Have Sex
The premise is that prostaglandins are found in semen, which encourages a soft cervix, and experiencing an orgasm will spur uterine contractions. Scientific findings are mixed on whether sex actually helps induce labor, so it may not help to test the hypothesis if you have a low-risk pregnancy. First, talk to your doctor.
There are several normal forms of labor to ripen the cervix. It’s a good idea, however, to get in touch with a doctor before attempting any of these techniques!
Cervical Ripening in the Hospital
Your doctor may decide to induce labor to avoid delivery complications if you have passed your due date without a sign of cervical ripening. Here are some methods which are common:
1. Cervical Ripening Medication
Your doctor will use cervical ripening medicines for softening and dilating the cervix. These medicines may be administered either by mouth or directly into the cervix. These medicines may make you dilate 2 to 3 cm and women may also go into labor in some cases. Typically, medicines for softening the cervix are considered a healthy choice and are well accepted by most women.
2. Mechanical Ripening of Cervix
Mechanical Ripening implies a heavy maturation of the cervix. This treatment requires the insertion of a very small balloon Foley catheter. In the cervix, the Foley is filled with the balloon and the ball is progressively enlarged. This opens up the cervix. In a procedure called membrane removal, the cervix is often broken down with the finger. The membrane attached to the wall of the womb is fingered off. It works in most cases although it can be a painful procedure.
3. Combination Method
The doctor may often feel the need to use both methods for cervical ripening at the same time. According to some reports, it is also considered safe to use both the above approaches.
Tips For Prepare for Hospital Procedure
The procedure is normally performed in an OPD. It can lead to labor, however often and it is always a good idea to load your bag with your necessary overnight items.
You should have a light breakfast during the day of the operation, including toast, juice or cereals. A sandwich, soup or salad can be served for lunch. But after returning home, you can have your daily meals.
Risks Associated with Cervical Ripening Procedure?
Cervical ripening, which often doesn’t lead to risks, is very common. However, contractions often occur too rapidly after cervical maturation is induced. Fetal distress could become a big threat in certain unlikely situations, in which the contractions last 90 seconds or longer. In this case, an immediate cesarean delivery might be advised by the doctor.
When To Call the Doctor?
Some conditions require urgent medical attention and must therefore be informed to the doctor as soon as possible:
- If the amniotic bag or water breaks
- If you have more than 90 seconds of contractions
- When your baby’s activity increases or decreases excessively
- If you have vaginal bleeding of some sort
- If 3 or more contractions occur in 10 minutes
Cervical ripening is a natural process that may start a few weeks before the actual date of ripening. However, once you are at work, it is very common for the uterus to remain closed. In certain cases, a cervical ripening procedure may be appropriate for a physician. If you have any questions about your cervical ripening, it is a good idea to speak with your doctor.
Also Read: What is Labor Induction and How is it done?