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A Picture Guide to Childbirth

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Updated July 01, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

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How the Cervix Opens to Give Birth
Effacement of the Cervix

LifeART (and/or) MediClip image copyright 2008

Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.- Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. All rights reserved.
As your labor progresses, the contractions of labor will change the cervix. Your cervix needs to open or dilate to 10 centimeters before your baby can be born.

 

Mother

  • Your labor contractions will come at regular intervals that get stronger, longer and closer together.
  • Your cervix thins out (effaces).
  • Your cervix opens (dilates).

Baby

  • Your baby moves down in your pelvis as labor progresses (station).
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