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The Bump Editors

Understanding Your Labor Progress

Trust us, your OB is keeping a close eye on things. Learn how to decipher what the OB tells you about your labor progress.

Your doctor will use four measures to help evaluate your progress toward labor:

Ripening is the softening of your cervix. The cervix must ripen before it can thin or open.

Effacement is the thinning of the cervix. This is measured in percentage, with 0 percent meaning no thinning has occurred yet and 100 percent being as thin as you’ll get.

Dilation is the opening of your cervix. This is measured in centimeters, from 0 to 10. (Ten is when the cervix has stretched to the diameter of the largest part of baby’s head.)

Station is the position of baby’s head as it relates to the ischial spines (bony spots on each side of the pelvis). It’s measured on a scale of -5 (head floating above the pelvis) to +5 (head crowning at the vagina’s opening).

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