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Cervical Changes in Pregnancy

Jerri Colonero, RN, BS


Q. I read that softening of the cervix occurs during pregnancy. My question is, how early in the pregnancy does this occur?

A. During pregnancy the cervix is long, thick, firm, and closed. This is necessary to support the growing uterus and baby. For your first pregnancy, during the last month, the cervix begins to soften and then thin out. This is your body's way of preparing for your first labor. (Your cervix has never opened before, therefore, your body knows exactly what needs to be done.The cervix must soften before it can thin out and finally open.)

For first pregnancies, the cervix can be very soft, 70% thinned out (effaced) and perhaps 3 cm dilated before true labor begins. Hormones start the softening of the cervix. Then,the contractions that occur throughout your pregnancy and become stronger the closer you get to full term (Braxton Hicks contractions) produce the thinning and dilatation of the cervix. In subsequent pregnancies, because the cervix has already dilated once before, effacement and dilatation usually occur simultaneously when labor begins.

Jerri Colonero RN

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betty Sep 28, 2010 05:47:58 PM ET

I went through the same symptoms with my first baby. i couldn't stand the texture of meat either. but after the 4th month it started to come back. if your lossing weight talk to you pcp about what you can do. stick with the foods that you like the best and try some food that you liked as a kid. you might find that jellos and puddings and chicken nuggets taste the best..your tastes will change throughout your pregnancy so hang in there and talk to your pcp.

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chadian Jul 1, 2005 11:39:21 AM ET

I really dont know if this is healthy? im so worried about the heallth of my baby. my baby is now 3 months and 3 weeks. whenever i eat, my stomach aches and im about to loose my apetite. i have to force myself to eat and i only eat small meals. what should i do? this is my first baby.

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Angela May 11, 2005 07:19:17 PM ET

My cervix has already started softening. does this give a gage for how much longer i might have? this is my second baby.

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