Your cervix is the lower portion of your uterus that is the neck between your uterus and vagina. The opening of the cervix is called the os, which closes during pregnancy to keep the baby safely tucked within the uterus. Once contractions begin, your cervix begins to dilate and efface to allow for the delivery of the baby.
Methods of Self Dilation Include:
1. Breast massage or Pumping.
Stimulation to your nipples releases oxytocin which is the main hormone that causes contractions.
2. Stimulation of the cervix.
This can be done it two ways. One way, is through sexual intercourse. Sex helps to ripen the cervix due to semen. Semen has prostaglandin that stimulate effacement and dilation. This is perhaps, the funnest way to get labor started. It is a more natural way to get labor started and enjoy the time waiting for your babies arrical. Afterall, what is a better labor inducer? An IV or a significant other? In fact, I have even heard stories of woman going into labor or breaking their water during intercourse. Now that’s a story for the baby book (or not)!
A Word of Caution: Although intercourse may be a fun way to jump start labor, remember that the cervix is their to protect the baby. If you begin to dilate when the baby is not ready, it may lead to unwanted bacteria and infection entering the uterus.
Another way to stimulate your cervix is to use your fingers. However, this is not recommended by doctors. In fact, many doctors will be happy to strip your membranes themselves if you ask, and of course they will know the safe way to do so. In order to stimulate your cervix with your fingers, you must first find it.
How to Find Your Cervix:
1. First make sure you hands are clean and you are wearing latex gloves.
2. Next sit in a position where you are able to lift one leg upward in order to insert your fingers deeply into your vagina. Once your fingers are inserted go up and toward your back. You will know it is your cervix because it feels like two puckered lips with ripples. It will be closed, or very slightly opened during pregnancy. Many doctors check their patients for dilation when they are laying down. If you are comfortable, you may ask your significant other to check your cervix.
Moreover, if your cervix is slightly open, you may have begun dilation.Therefore, in order to self dilate, you may gently use your fingers to massage and stretch your cervix. Once again, I do not recommend this and it is better left to an expert.
Please try to remember that your baby will come when he or she is ready. I know this is a hard thing to understand when you body aches and you can no longer sleep…but as we know, it is always, certainly worth the wait.