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Q&A: When Will I Go Into Labor?

Bradley G. Goldberg, M.D.


Q Im 37 weeks and dilated at 1 and my cervix is thining out. This is my fourth child. Does it seem that I will go to my due date?

A You have touched upon one of the most frequently asked questions among obstetrical patients, which is "when will my baby be born?" If only I could answer this question with an exact answer, not only would my patients and their families be happy, but my wife and I would be ecstatic as well since we too could then plan our evenings better.

Unfortunately there is not an exact way to answer the question of "when", but from what you describe, it sounds like you may indeed deliver before your due date.

When your cervix starts to "thin-out", we refer to this medically as "effacement". Effacement is sometimes more important than dilitation, especially for women having their first baby. I usually describe effacement to my patient in terms of a person putting on a turtle-neck shirt. If you have ever witnessed someone do this, you will remember that as their head passes through the turtle-neck, the opening gets wider and shorter at the same time. Well, the widening is analogous to dilitation, and the shortening is analogous to effacement.

As far as your dilitation, however, it is common for women in their subsequent pregnancies to be dilated to some degree for several weeks at the end of their pregnancy, sometimes even up to as much as 3 centimeters. Unfortunately this does not always predict an imminent delivery.

Just remember, most of the pregnancy is now behind you, and although I know you are in the uncomfortable stage of your pregnancy, your baby will be born soon. Good Luck!

Bradley G. Goldberg, M.D.,
Chief of Staff, CRMC
Coffee Women's Center, P.C.

Click here to Ask Dr. Goldberg your pregnancy questions.

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 is a contributing author to, the largest women's health site on the Internet. In addition, Dr. Goldberg is the author of an article on "Urethral Carcinoma," which is in press with the Journal of Urology, and he co-produced an instructional video on Norplant removal that he presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Dr. Goldberg is a member of the American Medical Association, The American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists, The Medical Association of Georgia, and The Atlanta Medical Association. Dr. Goldberg's wife Kimberly is a pediatric nurse. Together, they enjoy traveling and spending time with their family.

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ericka smith Nov 15, 2009 03:04:01 PM ET

Dr. goldberg was my doc 4 my first child he told me my due date would be june 1, 2007 she came on that very same day. Now im having my second baby he is also my doc he gave me a due date for Dec 6, 2009 lets see what happens!!

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