For all the pros and cons of checking your cervix refer to my previous blog post – “Your Cervix is Not a Crystal Ball”
First things first – every BODY and every birth story are different.
As a reminder: active labor is considered 6cm dilation, transition is 7/8cm to full dilation and effacement.
But I often hear, “if not cervical check then what?” – so here I am to tell you some physical and emotional changes that signal progression of labor:
Rhomboid of Michaelis can be found on our lower back – sometimes it can be seen with naked eye, sometimes you can palpitate the corners of it – two points are so called Venus dimples – so top back of the pelvis, one point is on the top of the natal cleft just below L3-L4 spinal segment. The rhomboid is only present in women’s pelvis.
Lying down might stop the rhomboid to collapse (instead of widening) and lengthen the labor substantially.
The purple line appears in natal cleft . It does not appear in all birthing mother but when it does and it is pretty high up between your butt cheeks towards your back it might mean your cervix is close to being fully dilated. The reference could be 3-6cm purple line (measured from anus) = 1-2cm dilated, 5-8cm purple line = 7-8cm dilated, 8-11cm purple line = 9-10cm dilated. If you see purple line but are not in labor (which happens sometimes) it might mean that the onset of labor will happen soon!
Sweating, feeling cold or chilled, trembling and shaking (refer to my “Got Shakes” blog post)
Increased Bloody Show (and mucus plug completely gone) is a sign that cervix is stretching and dilating and working hard on getting that baby out! It might look scary but fresh blood is very normal in active labor and transition.
Irritability, moodiness – when a woman switches from “take care of me” to “don’t touch me” or, even better “I am done, going home” the nurses start to prepare the bed for birth 😀
Nausea – sometimes transition brings a wave of nausea.
Intuition – many women just know they are about to see their baby (or babies!)
More close together, longer OR more intense contractions.
Degree of politeness and modestly goes out of window in active labor (6cm+) – switching from chatty to in the zone shows that labor is progressing.
Time distortion – in active labor time does not matter. I feel like most mothers who are allowed their self-paced progression have no idea how it has been since more intense waves started. That is one of the reasons to keep remarks about “it’s been xyz hours” to yourself 😉
Grunting – often birthing people who are just about to push make little grunting noises even without realizing it.
You’ve got this, Mama!
I’m here with you EVERY.STEP.OF.THE.WAY!
Marta Uras, Your Doula