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what makes u dilate and efface?

so ive read and been told that Braxton Hicks Contractions dont make you dilate or efface.and that only "real" contractions do. but ive been having BHC for almost 3 weeks now. and last week i found out i was 1 cm dilated, and this week i found out that im almost 3cm dilated! [im 37 weeks] and my dr said "it looks like the contractions your feeling are working!" so what kind of contractions have i been having if im 3cm? im so confused. someone please explain this to me.

oh and another question. can you be 4cm and not be in active labor??

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momma_2b_2010

Asked by momma_2b_2010 at 10:20 PM on Jan. 27, 2010 in Pregnancy

Level 3 (23 Credits)
Answers (5)
  • Braxton hicks DO work they are like mini races before the triathelon-- they are just not considered "real labor" bc at the end of the race your just in better shape but no reward yet

    MELRN

    Answer by MELRN at 10:29 PM on Jan. 27, 2010

  • You can be dialated and not in labor, and you can be in labor and not dilated.
    As your baby grows and you get closer to labor, hormones are released that cause the cervix to "ripen", and that pkus the pressure from the baby's weight pressing on your cervix helps you dilate. Read up on labor and maybe pack a hospital bag, but don't get too excited and be disappointed if you don't go into labor tomorrow.
    This website helped me out when I was overdue and getting anxious:
    www.givingbirthnaturally.com
    They explain a lot and you can read stories from other women about their labor experiences.
    Good luck! Hope you have a fast easy labor and a beautiful healthy baby!!
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:29 PM on Jan. 27, 2010

  • Nature....
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:32 PM on Jan. 27, 2010

  • I don't think there's a real distinction between Braxton Hix and "real" contractions, except that when you go into labor for real, they consider it real contractions. For me, my "braxton hix" contractions just got stronger and stronger over the course of a week until my baby came. So a contraction is a contraction. Before you're ready to have a baby, the tightening of the muscles is just toning your uterus, but when your ready and the hormones click in, the contractions do push the baby down and open things up. Good luck, sounds like D-day may be just around the corner for you!
    Adelicious

    Answer by Adelicious at 10:46 PM on Jan. 27, 2010

  • imo any early labor contraction might dilate/efface your cervix. but you can also dilate/efface without ever feeling BH contrax. i wouldn't consider being at 4 cm by itself active labor. i would consider it active labor if your cervix is dilating at a steady pace, be that at 1 cm per 10 minutes or 1 cm per 2 hours. if it's 1 cm over a couple of days, i wouldn't consider that active labor. gl!
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 9:28 AM on Jan. 28, 2010

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