A note on your cervix- if you happen to be the proud owner of one-

In a few of my birth classes over the years, women have expressed to me that they have been led to believe that in established labour, their cervix will dilate approximately 1cm per hour.

And I have to tell you- it never gets old. I explode with laughter pretty much every time I hear this farce.

The thing is- a cervix is not a machine. Or a lever. Or a door. It’s a natural, unique part of your very specific body. This is why us birthy types often compare its opening to let a baby through to a flower opening to embrace the sun.

The idea that a cervix follows set rules and guidelines (or that everyone’s body pumps blood, digests food or opens up at the same rate) is actually ridiculous. If it weren’t causing a lot of women’s hearts to break when they find out they’re only however many cm after however many hours of hard work- then it would be funny. If it wasn’t leading to unnecessary intervention from inpatient outside influences- it’d be bloody hilarious.

I’m here to tell you, I’ve seen women’s bodies do incredible things. I’ve seen 3cm turn into 10cm in 45 minutes and I’ve seen 8cm take 12 hours to become 10cm. It’s not a flipping math problem- it’s just the process of birth.

Yelling at the flower or pulling it’s petals open does jack all but cause damage, the flower does what it wants in its own damn time. And we trust the flower to know what it’s doing. Your body is the same.

So take the measurement thing with a grain of salt, or stick the whole concept of cm and hours in the bin. Or if you want my tip- avoid cervical checks in labour altogether unless it gives you drive or it is absolutely necessary for some medical reason.

You might’ve been taught not to trust your body or your birth. This is a good opportunity for you to reestablish that faith. It’s not just allowed, it’s your birthright, I promise.