The Stages of the Cervix During Pregnancy
In the initial stages of pregnancy, the cervix will begin to thicken and produce more glandular cells. These glandular cells will release mucus into the area, which essentially forms a plug that will keep the uterus closed as the fetus grows.
In women who have never had children, the plug needed is very small; typically, their cervical openings are minute, often the size of a pinhead. In women who have had previous pregnancies, their openings are likely to be a bit larger, so the mucus plug will need to be larger.
During the course of the pregnancy, blood flow will increase to the cervix and uterus in order to support the womb and fetus. Additionally, hormonal changes will help the cervix to shorten and open slightly in preparation for delivery.
When the woman nears the end of her pregnancy, the cervix walls will begin to thin out (efface) and widen (dilate), eventually causing the mucus plug to fall out. This will allow the baby to pass through the uterus and out of the birth canal. The process of effacing and dilating could happen weeks before delivery begins or it could begin the day the woman gives birth.
As labor commences, the cervix will respond to uterine pressure and contractions until the baby has been successfully delivered.
If a doctor neglected to address any adverse cervical conditions during pregnancy, contact our office today at (440) 276-3535 for a free consultation.