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Q&A: What Does My Doctor Mean by My Cervix is Soft?

by Bradley G. Goldberg, M.D.
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Q: The doctor says that my cervix is very very soft. What does that mean? Is it different than thinning?

A: There are five parameters that we use to assess a pregnant woman's cervix in order to determine if the patient would be a good candidate for an induction of labor.

The first parameter is dilation, which refers to how much the cervix is opening. The second is effacement, which indicates how thin the cervix is. The third parameter is station, which is a description of where the baby is in relation to the woman's pelvis. The fourth is position, which is a description of the angle of the cervix, and the final parameter is the one which you mention and it is called consistency, this refers to how soft the cervix is.

Each of these parameters is assigned a score of 0 to 3 points. The total score is then used by the physician as an overall indication of that patients likelihood for having a successful induction of labor. The higher the score, the more favorable the chance of a successful induction. Not all labors must be induced, but that is a topic for another time.

When your physician checks you in the office, we will sometimes try to extrapolate these parameters to give us a rough estimate as to how close a woman is to delivering. Although it is obviously not possible to predict exactly when a woman will go into labor, when your cervix is thinning, dilating, and softening, these are reassuring signs that labor may be approaching.

~ Bradley G. Goldberg, M.D.

Dr. Bradley G Goldberg is a specialist in Obstetrics and Gynecology, Dr. Goldberg is certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Dr. Goldberg is Chief of Staff of Coffee Regional Medical Center. Currently, he is serving as Director of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and he is the Chairman of the Perinatal Committee. Dr. Goldberg graduated from the University of Florida in 1989 as a member of The Phi Beta Kappa honor society. He received his medical degree from the University of Florida College of Medicine, and completed his internship and residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Georgia Baptist Medical Center in Atlanta. Dr. Goldberg's wife Kimberly, is a pediatric nurse. Together, they enjoy traveling and spending time with their family.

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