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How to Tell If You Are Dilating

By Tia Shamoon ; Updated July 27, 2017

Some women can identify symptoms directly related to dilation and others may not notice any sign or symptom at all. It is not uncommon for a woman to experience labor or dilating symptoms and not realize that she is going into labor. If you are already admitted in the hospital, nurses may only check your progress hourly, regardless of how fast you are dilating. Understanding what to look for can help you notify staff when it is time for delivery.

Time each contraction. Write down the time between each contraction and look for regular intervals that could mean dilation is occurring. Call your physician if the time between each contraction is consistent and the intervals become shorter over time.

Look for any change in vaginal discharge. Write down the date when you notice any spotting or a stringy mucus appearance indicating that dilation has dislodged the mucus plug. Notify your physician’s office once this occurs so that they can make a note in your chart or schedule an appointment to have your cervix checked.

Call your physician immediately if you notice any gush or trickle of odorless fluid from your cervix. Look for any signs of contractions or vaginal discharge in case you have been dilating without being aware of it. Go to a hospital emergency room if you are unable to get a hold of your physician.

Make note when your baby drops due to the descent into the cervix. Call your physician, or nurse if you have been admitted into a hospital, if you have a sudden urge to have a bowel movement but are unable to produce one. Check for any of the mentioned signs of dilation because the sudden urge to push could mean that your cervix is fully dilated and you are ready to birth the baby.

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