Effaced Or Effacement: How To Measure Cervical Effacement?

Effaced or Effacement

Effaced or Effacement

The process of cervix preparing itself for delivery is called effacement. Effaced or effacement occurs when your pregnancy gets near to delivery.

During this process, an effaced cervix tends to get shorter, softer and thinner. It is also known as cervical ripening.

Cervix is usually about 4 centimeters in length before effacement. Mucus present inside the cervix held it tightly closed.

During pregnancy when effacement occurs this mucus is discharged off through vagina it is also known as “bloody show”.

The more effaced cervix gets, the more prepared it is for labor and delivery. Effacement normally begins from the third trimester of pregnancy.

Terms for effacement are used such as ripening or cervical thinning.

50 Effaced Meaning:

As mentioned above effacement is related to your cervix getting ready for labor. There are various degrees of effacement.

Usually, the degree of effacement is measured in percentage. 50 effaced or 50% effaced means that you are halfway down to get fully prepared for labor and delivery.

A 100% effaced cervix is termed as a paper thin cervix. It is the ideal position of the cervix for labor and delivery.

As you come near to delivery and Labor your doctor will timely check for the degree of effacement.

Cervical dilation is also coupled with cervical effacement during the process. A 100% effaced and 10 cm in length cervix is ideal for vaginal delivery.

Effaced But Not Dilated:

In the first place, effacement should not be confused with dilation. These both are two different phenomena but are together a part of a process.

Effacement refers to the thinning and softening of the cervix, where dilation refers to the opening up of the cervix.

Effaced but not dilated is a common condition among women who are pregnant for the first time. As their cervix wall thins & gets soft easily but the cervix does not open up easily until labor begins.

The contractions felt by a woman during labor are the signs of dilation. When the fetus comes in birth Canal the cervix gets thin which is part of effacement.

When the cervix effacement begins or is done then the cervix dilation begins.

 Cervical Effacement Symptoms:

Cervical effacement is a process during which the cervix softens, shortens, and thins out. Though cervical effacement does not have any proper and specific symptoms, it is part of a process.

Sensations such as lightning can be felt by the women as the baby moves down towards the pelvis. This sensation lightning gets its name because of it’s Taser shot sensation during the final weeks of your third trimester.

Discharge of the plunged mucus which is also known as bloody show. It is the sign of your cervix getting dilated as well as getting effaced.

This mucus discharge should not be confused with the beginning of labor. These are the two major symptoms & part of the process of effacement as well as dilation.

Dilation Effacement Station Chart:

During the process of pregnancy, your doctor will associate different terms to your pregnancy one of this is “baby’s station”.

Fetal or baby station determines the extent of descending of the fetus in the pelvis. It is done by measuring the dilation and the length of the cervix.

A vaginal examination is conducted by the doctor to check the extent of dilation and effacement. The grades assigned in the dilation and effacement station chart are as follows-:

  1. Start from -5 to 0-: this is the situation where the baby is above the ischial spine and the cervix is least dilated.
  2. Zero station-:  it is the situation where the baby’s head comes in the birth canal. It is also known as being engaged.
  3.  0 to 5-: when the baby starts to descend from the birth canal and ischial spine. Grades from 0 to 5 are given. 5 is the point for labor and delivery.
How To Measure Cervical Effacement:

Many times after knowing that the effacement process has begun, women want to know how to measure cervical effacement.

Though here must not confuse effacement with dilation. Finger check method of measuring effacement seems to give quite inaccurate results.

Is here the factor becomes the length and size of the examiner’s finger. Where the degree of effacement varies from zero to hundred percent, the grades of dilation vary up to 10 cm.

To personally examine the degree of effacement, you must first clean your hands and trim your nails. Choose the position which is comfortable and allows you full vaginal access.

If on inserting you get access to the second Knuckle then there has been effacement. It is recommended to ask a doctor to check for effacement rather than doing it personally for better results.

Station Of Cervix:

Station of the cervix means the measurement of the level of dilation and effacement. When the baby is at the ischial spine it is zero station of the cervix.

Zero station is when your baby’s head is in the birth canal. Stations vary from the degree of -5 to 5. Where -5 is the lowest level of effacement and 5 is the perfect level of effacement.

For the purpose of using the degree of effacement Bishop score calculator or pelvis, score calculator is used.

It also indicates the time estimated for a woman to go in her labor as per her level of effacement and dilation.

A score on The Bishop’s score calculator above 8 signifies a good estimated vaginal delivery.

A score of 6 or less shows less likelihood of vaginal delivery. It shows the cervix to be unripe.


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