What Does Effaced Mean In Pregnancy? Experts Have The Answer

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As you near the end of your pregnancy it’s time to prepare for your little one’s arrival. Your body is preparing for baby’s entrance into this world, too, and in order to do so it’s got to get a couple things in order. One of the major milestones that doctors look for during those third trimester checkups is whether you’re “effaced”. And no, this term doesn’t have to do with the expression you make every time some rando asks if you’re having twins. If you’re scratching your head, wondering, “What does effaced mean in pregnancy?” look no further. Experts have the answer every soon-to-be mom should know as she prepares for the highs and lows of labor and delivery.

The American Pregnancy Association (APA) defines effacement as, “the process by which the cervix prepares for delivery.” Effacement, as the APA points out, is also referred to as “cervical thinning” (or the shudder-inducing term, “ripening”.) According to the Mayo Clinic’s website, before labor, your cervix is typically 3.4 cm to 4 cm long. But as labor begins, your cervix softens, shortens, and thins, and that, my friends, is called effacement. Effacement could be accompanied by mild contractions, or none at all, so you might not know you’re effaced without the help of an OB-GYN and/or midwife.

Ashley Batz/Romper

Cervical thinning tends to happen as you get closer to labor and delivery, and. as the site…

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