A pregnancy is expected to last for an average of 40 weeks or about 9 ½ months. The half month is counted because the pregnancy is actually counted from the date of the first day of the last menstrual period at which time the woman is, of course, not yet pregnant. Often, the woman becomes pregnant at around 2 weeks or ½ month after the beginning of the menstrual period.
Only about 20% of pregnancies end on the 40th week. The rest of pregnancies will end at around 10 days before or after the scheduled period.
Stages Of Labor And Dilation
The stages of labor are as follows:
- Early Labor. It is unpredictable how long early labor will last. For first time mothers, it can actually occur for several days while the rest have it easier with only about several hours of labor. More subsequent deliveries often make labor much easier and faster.
- Active Labor. This is the time when the cervix has fully effaced or dilated to about 10 cm. When this happens, the body is programmed to increase the contractions so that the child will move out of the birth canal.
- Birth. Contractions and physical exertion can help push the baby out into the world.
Ways To Increase Cervical Dilation
- Active labor will only start and be successful if the cervix is fully or almost fully dilated. This is the reason why some women would want to dilate quickly to get the birth over with as soon as possible.
- Still, if the doctor deems it necessary to induce labor, then dilation will be increased. This is often the case when the woman is past her due yet still not showing any signs of labor.
- To increase dilation and induce labor, the following can be done:
- Prostaglandin gels will be placed on the cervix to soften it.
- Artificial rupturing of the amniotic sac is done by the doctor.
- Intravenous hormone oxytocin in the form of Pitocin is administered.
- Symptoms During Pregnancy