IF, IF, IF you feel it is totally necessary to check your dilation, here are some ways you can DIY. The only reason I can possibly think of why you might need to know how to check your dilation, is so that if you are having a hospital birth, you don’t go into hospital to early!
This information is largely from the forum that I visit – http://www.bornfreeforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=65&t=6880
How to Check Your Own Cervix- “it’s not rocket science”
“I think it’s a good and empowering thing for a woman to check her own cervix for dilation. This is not rocket science, and you hardly need a medical degree or years of training to do it. Your vagina is a lot like your nose- other people may do harm if they put fingers or instruments up there but you have a greater sensitivity and will not do yourself any harm.
“The best way to do it when hugely pregnant is to sit on the toilet with one foot on the floor and one up on the seat of the toilet. Put two fingers in and go back towards your bum. The cervix in a pregnant woman feels like your lips puckered up into a kiss. On a non-pregnant woman it feels like the end of your nose. When it is dilating, one finger slips into the middle of the cervix easily (just like you could slide your finger into your mouth easily if you are puckered up for a kiss). As the dilation progresses the inside of that hole becomes more like a taught elastic band and by 5 cms dilated (5 finger widths) it is a perfect rubbery circle like one of those Mason jar rings that you use for canning, and about that thick.
“What’s in the centre of that opening space is the membranes (bag of waters) that are covering the baby’s head and feel like a latex balloon filled with water. If you push on them a bit you’ll feel the baby’s head like a hard ball (as in baseball). If the waters have released you’ll feel the babe’s head directly.
“It is time for women to take back ownership of their bodies.”
External and Observed Signs of Dilation, Descent and ProgressI love these following indicators.
– Purple line that creeps up like a mercury thermometer from anus to top of bum crease. When it reaches the top, the woman is fully dilated (increase in intrapelvic pressure affects veins in the sacrum). You can ‘cut’ the bum crease into 10 equal parts, and these = cm dilated.
-Look at bottom of foot with the toes pointing up. The spot above the heel and in the center will tighten and release as the uterus contracts IF she is at least 5 cm.
-The contracting uterus swells upwards as it pulls in the dilating cervix. Before a woman begins to dilate and is about at term, you can get about 5 fingerbreadths of measurement between the fundus and the tip of the breastbone (xyphoid). As she dilates, this measurement decreases at about 2 cms per fingerbreadth. It’s an old trick I learned several years ago. This really works.
I.e., 5 fingerbreadths = 0cm.
4 fb = 2cm;
3 fb = 4cm
2 fb = 6cm
1 fb = 8cm
0 fb = 10cm
-Abdominal signs: thin line or crease above/parallel to symphysis pubis bones. As baby descends and cervix opens, the line/crease becomes wider from side to side. Near transition = ¾ across. All the way across indicates that pushing is most likely imminent.