On the 10th day of Christmas Calm Mama gave to me …. 10cm of dilation! 

On day 4 we talked about the significance of being 4cm dilated and today we are talking about the other big dilation milestone, being 10cm dilated or fully dilated as it is also known. 

This is the point where the cervix has dilated to its full capacity and labour moves into the 2nd stage, the stage of delivering your baby!

So how will you know you are fully dilated? Well there are a couple of signs, for starters if you are accepting vaginal examination, this will of course tell you, but if you are not there are a few other signs. One is going through ‘transition’ this is a point of labour where the body ramps up its energy ready to deliver this baby but unfortunately this leaves the birthing person feeling panicked and restless and often will have a ‘I can’t do this moment’, this is very often as sign that they are almost fully dilated. 

Another sign is a purple line that appears between the buttocks of the birth person, when 10cm dilated this line reaches all the up to the top of the crevice between the buttocks. 

Finally, and most importantly, is that the birthing person will begin to feel ‘pushy’. (disclaimer, the intensity and the ability of the birthing person to be tell this is happening is reduced by an epidermal so a person who has had an epidural will not always feel this urge to push). This urge to push comes as the uterine muscles have finished pulling up with each contraction to dilate the cervix and will then naturally begin to push down to start the process of moving the baby down the birth canal. This muscular change means that if the birthing person is allowed to birth instinctively and in the way her body tells her, this bearing down of the muscle will be a completely involuntary bodily function and they will not need to actively, consciously push but just go with the sensations in their body and follow what their body is telling them to do. This is known as the fetal ejection reflex and is a wondrous bodily function, as natural and uncontrollable as sneezing.