Labor is not something that should ever have time limits and/or a cutoff as long as your baby is tolerating it well and no other risks are noted. Many people would be surprised to know that labor progress in several ways, and decisions to change its course should never be based solely on how many centimeters dilated you are. The following are all occurring, many of them at the same time to achieve the ultimate goal of birthing your baby.
- Cervical position- before labor begins your cervix is points posterior or toward your backside. During labor your cervix will change position to line up with the vaginal opening
- Cervical ripening or softening– this then allows cervix to start to open or dilate
- Cervical effacement- thinning of the cervix
- Cervical dilation- opening of the cervix (10cm is full dilation)
- Fetal station- the location of the baby as he/she descends into the pelvis
- Fetal rotation- we want baby to rotate to allow a more effective fit as he/she descends or goes down in the pelvis