When you are getting closer to your due date, you will notice your cervix dilating and softening to prepare for giving birth and this happens even before labor pains begin. The cervical dilation will happen during labor and is crucial in letting your baby pass out via the birth canal. Both cervical dilation and the other necessary changes for birth will be encouraged by your baby’s head putting pressure against your cervix and uterine contractions. You may be stressing when you are only, let's say, 1 cm dilated. Whether you are a first time mom or have given birth before, you should know how you can dilate faster to fasten labor.       

How to Dilate Faster

Notes and Precautions: You should always talk with your midwife or doctor ahead of time so they know what procedures you would be fine with and which ones you want to avoid. Each labor happens differently and in some cases you will need flexibility, but having a plan can still help.

You should always go with the natural method first, allowing your cervix to naturally dilate. Every mechanical or medical intervention will have a small risk and may even increase the risk of a cesarean section. Because of this, most doctors will only encourage you to speed up the dilation process or induce labor when they feel it is necessary.

1.      Walk

When you are in labor you should try to walk as much as you can. The combination of body movement and gravity will help your baby descend down into your birth canal. In addition, the pressure that the baby’s head exerts on the cervix may help with dilation and even effacement (thinning) of your cervix. It can also help encourage contractions which in turn further help with dilation. You should ask someone to walk next to you and provide support and keep walking for as long as it is tolerable.

2.      Use Birth Balls

How to dilate faster? Another option is to sit on a birth ball with your legs spread apart. Use a bed or chair to rest your upper body and then squat on the ball as this will relax your pelvic muscles and widen your pelvis. You can also gently rock and use gravity to bring your baby’s head down to your cervix to encourage dilation.

3.      Do Gentle Exercises

Sometimes doing gentle exercises like walking a short distance, as mentioned above, can help with dilation. Another great idea is to go up then down stairs but be sure to do so in long and slow strides. This will help stretch and dilate your cervix. Walking wider and slower than normal increases the stretch of the cervix, encouraging dilation.

4.      Relax with Warm Shower

Try either standing or sitting in a warm shower to help yourself relax. By relaxing, you prevent tense muscles which would make the physical work harder. Using a warm shower can ease tension while helping with cervical dilation and contractions. You can also lie in warm water, but make sure someone helps you get in and out.

If you are looking for other ways to relax, try listening to some soothing music. You can also ask someone to give you a gentle massage. No matter the way you relax, it will produce the same beneficial effects in terms of cervical dilation.

5.      Empty Your Bladder

When your bladder is full, this inhibits contractions so there will be less pressure on your cervix, resulting in a slower dilation. Instead, be sure to urinate regularly.

6.      Stimulate Your Nipples or Have Sex

Stimulation is one of the effective methods to dilate your cervix. It varies from woman to woman and sometimes simply rubbing your nipples will help, while other women find having sexual intercourse works best. This is considered a low-risk and safe option. The hormones found in semen (prostaglandins) will help your cervix efface and dilate. In fact, doctors will sometimes administer these hormones to encourage labor. After you orgasm, your body will release oxytocin which is another hormone capable of encouraging cervical dilation. You can also release this hormone by stimulating your nipples.

7.      Try Acupressure

Acupressure is related to acupuncture but instead of applying needles to the pressure points, you simply apply pressure. You only need to understand anatomy and don’t need any special training to perform it. The most important pressure point for dilation is located on your hand, specifically the webbing between your forefinger and thumb. It should feel slightly tender when pressed. Apply the pressure for a minute or less then give it a break for two minutes and repeat on the other hand. Click here to learn more pressure points to induce labor. 

The following video shows how to dilate faster with acupressure points:

8.      Opt for Medical Methods

You can also consider using a medication that is applied to your cervix by your doctor to dilate and soften your cervix.

  • Misoprostol is a prostaglandin and can soften the cervix when placed within the vagina. It is safe, relatively inexpensive, and commonly used by doctors.
  • Dinoprostone is similar and also a prostaglandin. You can either have it squirted into the cervical opening or inserted into your vagina in the form of a suppository. 
  • The enzyme hyaluronidase is produced from bovine testes. It can be injected into your cervix to help soften and dilate it. It will sometimes be used in cases when a woman’s cervix hasn’t dilated or ripened at all.
  • You can also talk to your doctor about possible intravenous medications. We already mentioned that you can get your body to naturally release oxytocin, but you can also have this administered via an IV. However, you should always talk with your doctor about it beforehand as it may sometimes lead to side effects such as uterine contractions which are incredibly strong. 

Hope this list of methods of how to dilate faster have helped you.