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Today marks 4 weeks to go, and the weekly doctor appointments begin. This also marks the beginning of the measurements as we close in on our due date.

After the checkup, the doctor reported the following numbers:

  1. 1 cm dilated
  2. 80% effaced
  3. -2 station

Now before two weeks ago, I would have no idea what he was talking about.  But after our lovely weekend birthing class at the hospital, I’m now a resident expert in all things baby.  So, you might ask, what in the world does that mean?  Let me put my expert hat on and share.

Dilation: The cervix dilates from 1 cm to 10 cm.  Whether or not there is any dilation, the doctor will probably report 1 cm, so this number means nothing.

Effacement: The cervix thins as the end of pregnancy draws near.  The thinning is measured as a percentage of effacement.  100% effaced is complete effaced and labor is drawing near.  Generally in first pregnancies, effacement occurs before dilation.  The doctor says being 80% effaced at this time is probably ahead of schedule, BUT it could also remain at 80% for 4 more weeks, so we’re not getting our hopes up.

Station: The location of the baby in relation to the pelvis.  It is measured from -4 cm to +4 cm.  0 station means the top of the baby’s head is lined up with these spine thingies (sorry, had to take my expert hat off for a second, guess I wasn’t fully paying attention in class) – which basically means the top of the baby’s head is in the middle of the pelvis.  Any positive value for station is a measurement as the baby’s head enters the birth canal, and at around +4 station the baby’s head will crown.

So, as we eagerly await TJ’s welcome into this world, we’re trying to ignore the numbers and remember that next week’s numbers could be the same.  BUT, we are also secretly excited!

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