1-Cm Dilated : What Does It Indicate?

1-Centimeter Dilated – What Does It Indicate?

As you progress in your pregnancy and reach in the final stage of your third trimester, you may want to know the signs and symptoms that you are in labor and ready to deliver! Well, your doctor can start examining your cervix somewhere close to 37 weeks of pregnancy to check for dilation and effacement. Read the following article to understand what does 1-centimetre dilation or size of a cheerio dilation during pregnancy mean and indicates!

What Is 1 Cm Dilation?

Dilation of the cervix happens to assist the baby to move from the uterus through the vaginal canal. If your cervix is 1 Cm dilated, this means it has started thinning and ready to open for your baby’s movement through the birth canal. However, this cannot be taken as an indication of your baby’s birth but can be taken as one of the signs that your body is preparing for birth. Some women may dilate for up to 4 cm until they enter the active stage of labor or deliver their baby. Every woman may experience labor differently and where some can be 3 cm dilated and 70 per cent effaced and still may not go in labor for weeks and then may suddenly go into labor, on the other hand, some may not dilate until they are into active labor.

When Does Labor Start After Getting 1 Cm Dilated?

If you are wondering that you are 1 cm dilated at 37 weeks, how much longer for labor? Well, the actual time that you may take from being 1 cm dilated to actually entering active labor may vary from one woman to another. Women who have given birth before may sometimes dilate days or weeks before actual labor begins. However, for the women who are first-time mommies, dilation may happen just before they are ready to deliver. Therefore, dilation in isolation cannot be considered as a sign of labor until it is accompanied by other signs or symptoms of labor.

However, if you are 1 cm dilated at 38 weeks and want to know how to speed up labor, you can ask the doctor for tips!

What Are The Other Signs Of Labor?

Here are some other signs of labor that you should look out for:

1. Contractions

Contractions are the tightening and releasing of the muscles around your uterus. It is common for pregnant women to experience such contractions or even Braxton Hicks throughout their pregnancy. The time between two contractions is key in determining labor.

2. Loss of Mucus Plug

The mucus plug seals the cervical opening when pregnancy begins. This plug will break and fall out as dilation progresses. This plug may look like discharge and indicates that the woman is days or weeks away from giving birth.

3. Water Breaking

When labor is about to begin, the membrane around the baby breaks and falls out. It can result in a sudden gush of liquids or just a slight trickle. If this is followed by cramps or contractions, you may be going to labor.

4. Lightening

Lightening is when the body shifts the baby closer to the cervix to prepare for labor. This can occur anytime before labor.

What Does 1 Cm Dilated and 50 Effaced Mean?

As you transcend in your final trimester and closer to delivery, your uterus will get lower and lower, this will make your cervix becomes shorter and thinner, or in other words, your cervix will become effaced. Effacement is measured in per cent by your doctor, where 0 per cent means not all effaced and 50 per cent means halfway. 100 means you are ready for delivering your baby. As you keep getting effaced, the cervix will disappear and will blend with the uterus, also known as ripening or thinning.

If you are 1 cm dilated or are 50 per cent effaced, this means that your body has started getting ready for labor and delivery. At this stage, your cervix not only starts opening up but also thinning, so that the baby can move easily from the uterus through the birth canal.

1 Cm Dilation in Early Pregnancy

In a healthy or normal pregnancy, the cervix remains tightly closed until you enter the later stage of the third trimester. As this happens, your baby drops in your pelvis, and your cervix starts opening and preparing for labor. However, in some cases dilation may occur early in pregnancy (sometimes around 20 weeks of pregnancy), this may happen due to a condition known as an incompetent cervix. This condition can occur due to a number of reasons, such as congenital abnormalities, damage during earlier births, abortion, etc. If your doctor suspects any such condition, your doctor may advise certain measures such as cerclage (cervix is stitched) to prevent premature labor or for preventing abortion or pregnancy loss.

However, this is a very rare occurrence and is seen in around 1 to 2 per cent of cases only. But if you are 1 cm dilated at 36 weeks or before and experiencing signs of labor, you should get in touch with your doctor.

Should You Call a Doctor at 1 Cm Dilation?

Well, in most cases there is no need to call your doctor if you are only 1 cm dilated, until or unless you experience any of the following:

  • If there is any fluid leaking
  • If you experience any kind of bleeding
  • If you experience any kind of pressure in your pelvic region, frequent contractions, or other such signs (before 36 weeks of pregnancy)
  • If you have any signs of bloody discharge or you lose your mucus plug (post 37 weeks of pregnancy)
  • If you experience contractions that are 3 to 4 minutes apart


1. What Happens When You Are Dilated by 2, 3 and 6 cm?

At 2 cm of dilation, you may go into labor in hours or stay at 2 cm dilation for days. It does not indicate active labor. At 3 cm of dilation, you are just entering active labour. This is the longest part of labour as your cervix needs to reach 6 cm of dilation. It can take anywhere from 8-12 hours for this to happen. Once you reach about 6 cm of dilation, you are considered to be in active labor. Your contractions will become more regular, more painful, and will last longer. 

2. What Does 60, 70 and 80 Percent Effaced Mean?

Effacement is when your cervix becomes shorter, softer, and thinner in preparation for your baby’s birth. The percentage of effacement indicates that your cervix is that per cent effaced. It also indicates how close you are to being able to start pushing. 

If you are 1 cm dilated, this means your body is prepping up for your munchkin’s arrival! However, you may not know when will you actually go into labor. You should stay calm, be in touch with the doctor, and keep a tab on your symptoms.

Also Read:

Cervix Dilation During Child Birth
Importance of Cervical Length While Pregnant
Guide to Speed up Labour

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