"We think in pictures and we should be painting accurate pictures. The cervix nor the vagina bloom. The cervix is not a zip lock bag. The purpose of labor is NOT the creation of an opening or a hole... The purpose of labor contractions and retractions is to BUILD the fundus, which will, when it is ready, EJECT the baby, like a piston. Without a nice thick fundus there is no power to get baby out....the cervix does not dilate out....it dilates UP as a result of the effort to pull muscles up into the uterus to push muscles up to the fundus. The cervical dilation is secondary to that. The cervix is pulled up as a result of the building of the fundus. Assigning a number to cervical dilation is of little consequence and we make a huge mistake by interpreting progress or predicting time of birth to that number. Any experienced midwife or OB can tell you that the cervix can be manipulated and that a woman whose cervix is at 7 could have the baby in a few minutes or a few hours.
If more providers and educators knew the truth about birth physiology, we could make a huge difference for mothers. What is important is to keep her well supported for the purpose of the appropriate chemistry, to keep her well hydrated and nourished for muscle strength, and to believe in her. We should be supporting her so that her physiology and that of her baby are unhindered, so they can finish what they started.
We should not be measuring, poking, or interpreting her labor. THIS CHANGE in teaching about labor could make such a difference for women who are imagining what is happening in their bodies during labor. How much more strength might they have if they have an accurate picture?" -Carla Hartley
NOVA Birth Services