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What is a lip of cervix?

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Updated November 12, 2013

Labor Partner

With patience and your practitioner's guidance, working through a lip of cervix can be done.

Photo © April's Grape Vine Photography
Question: What is a lip of cervix?
Answer: As the cervix get near full dilation, sometimes you have a bit of cervix on one side that is still present, while not on the other side. This is called a cervical lip or lip of cervix. This is most commonly an anterior lip, which is thought to happen when the cervix gets caught between the pelvis and baby's head. This may be caused for a variety of reasons, including when the pressure from the baby is uneven on the cervix

There are a couple of things that can help if you have a lip of cervix left:

  • Wait.
    Sometimes a little bit of time is all that is needed for the cervix to finish dilating.

  • Try changing positions to help reduce the lip of cervix.
    Hands and knees, leaning forward, side lying, etc. are all positions that can help take the pressure off the cervix or to rotate a baby who is in a less favorable position.

  • Use of hydrotherapy.
    Using a tub of water can help promote relaxation as well as weightlessness.

  • Manually reducing the lip of cervix.
    This is done by the practitioner during a vaginal exam. The lip of cervix is forcibly moved over the baby's head to allow the baby to come down further. This may take more than one contraction. It can also be done with coached pushing efforts as directed by your doctor or midwife. This is painful but can be fairly quick and effective.

Once the lip of cervix is gone, labor should progress in a normal way, followed shortly by the pushing phase of labor.

Source:
The Labor Progress Handbook. Simkin, P and Ancheta, R. Wiley-Blackwell; 2 edition.

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