In order for the baby to be born through the birth canal, effacement and cervical dilation must first take place. Effacement refers to the process that the cervix goes through as it becomes thinner and begins to stretch. Dilation refers to the process that the cervix goes through to open.
When the mother becomes closer to giving birth, the cervix will begin to dilate and efface, which will give the baby enough room to move into the vagina. The speed in which this process takes place will vary from one woman to the next. Some may see this process happen very quickly and others may see it take a few weeks.
Usually, a first time mother will not begin to dilate until she goes into active labor. During the later stages of a pregnancy, doctors will be able to check manually to see how much the cervix has dilated and effaced. This can be completed in their office.
When labor does begin, the contractions will help to dilate the cervix even more and the baby will move into the right position. As the baby moves into this position and begins to press up against the pelvis, the cervix will continue to efface until the baby is born.Cervical Dilation and Effacement During Pregnancy,