Can Cervical Effacement be Induced?


Being pregnant can be a lot of work. The concern doesn’t end with a full term pregnancy there is more to come. No doubt responsibilities are the major part of parenting still first you have to go through a complex process of delivering the baby. In pregnancy, one of the first concerns might be what labor and delivery are like in real. Image of a pregnant lady under enormous pain may immediately cross you mind. Sit back and relax as we are here to help and provide you with all necessary information.

A pregnant lady’s body shows up signs to indicate that it is just about ready for delivering the baby. Such signs of labor are enlisted below:

  • Water breaking
  • Passing the mucus plug
  • Contraction
  • Effacement of cervix

All You Need to Know About Cervical Effacement

cervical effacement

What is cervical effacement?

Effacement of cervix is in simple terms dilatation of the cervix. For a matter of fact, cervix during pregnancy becomes firm and shuts down the opening so as to hold the baby in the uterus. It therefore plays a major role in pregnancy as well as in delivering the baby. In further months of the pregnancy when you reach a stage of full term the cervix starts dilating by some hormonal changes also called as cervical ripening. Basically it prepares the uterus to get ready for labor. This is what the doctors refer to as the “cervix is favorable”.

Natural labor:

Effacement is when the baby is allowed to be born into the real world. As labor nears, the cervix may start to thin or stretch (efface) and open (dilate). This prepares the cervical opening for the baby to pass through the vagina. Effacement means, the cervix is stretching and gets thinner. Dilatation is that the cervix opens. At this stage the cervix is just about paper thin.

When the gestational period is about to end, the baby’s head drops down and hits the pelvis and simultaneously it pushes against the cervix. The cervix thus starts to relax and thin out, or efface.


During pregnancy, your cervix is closed by something called as mucus plus. When the cervix thins out, the mucus plug loosen up and passes out by the vagina. The mucus may be tinged with blood and is known as “bloody show”. You may or might not notice when the mucus plug passes.

Can cervical ripening be induced?

Any which ways it is best advised to wait for a natural labor to occur. Still if there are odd situations and delivery is demanded good news guy’s cervical effacement can be induced. It can be even induced if the due date has passed by and still the cervix is still not favorable. Though there are several other cases where a pre-term labor has to be induced as in:

  • Are tired of being pregnant
  • Patient wants to deliver the baby on a certain date
  • Cases where spontaneous delivery is required

Methods used:

There are a wide variety of methods to induce cervical ripening to mention are:

  1. Mechanical methods
  2. Medications
  3. Combination of the above two

Mechanical methods:

It is actually forcefully dilating the cervical opening. This can be done simply during a medical examination by fingers which can gently dilate the cervix and separate it from uterine wall. The other way round is using a device to open the orifice.

One such device is a Foley catheter. The catheter is used to firstly empty the urinary bladder. The catheter has a balloon with about 2TBSP of water attached to its mouth. When the tip of this device is placed at the cervical opening and the balloon is made to inflate it will push apart the cervical layers thus dilating it.



Based on the knowledge of your doctor he/she may even advise and make use of a drug to bring about the dilation required to induce labor. Among the various list of medications misoprostol or other set of prostaglandins can be used for the purpose to be achieved. It is completely depends on your doctor.

These medicaments come in varied forms of formulations like oral pills, vaginal suppositories or vaginal pills. Other come forms include vaginal inserts and endocervical gels.

Though medical formulations may be at high risk to produce over activity of uterine muscle contraction which can produce higher risk. These though have an edgy benefit as are well tolerated and are relatively safe to use.

Combined therapy:

In certain protocols for cervical effacement, the mechanical and the medical agents are used along with it. Some studies have shown that using both methods at the same time is safe and can achieve good result in a less duration of time.

Other consideration:

Misoprostol is not used for cervical ripening in term pregnancies with a prior history of cesarean delivery or other major uterine surgeries. These patients face a higher risk of a uterine rupture.

It is understood that patients and their families are in hurry to get the new baby! At the end, we hope to have a cervix that is ready for labor.