What Does 10cm Cervical Dilation Look Like?

The term ‘dilation’ is often heard during birth planning. But when medical staff refer to 10cm dilation as being the point when pushing regularly begins, it can be difficult to visualise.

A social media post from the SCV Birth Center shared an image of a dilation board and brought everything into perspective for mums and mums-to-be!

You can even buy your own dilation board on Etsy!

Dilation board

Cervical Dilation Measurements Board for Midwife Doula Birth — Copyright From Jennifer 2017

Dilation during the stages of labour

In the early stages of labour, the cervix dilates between 1 to 3cm. During active labour the cervix dilates from 4cm (about the size of an Oreo), to around 7cm. Before the baby’s arrival the cervix dilates to approximately 10cm – or the size of a bagel.

Did you feel your cervix dilating duing labour?

See more:

her world julieWritten by Julie Scanlon

Julie is Editor for Kidspot NZ and our MVP. Her hobbies include laughing uncontrollably at her own jokes, annoying her family by asking questions about movie plots, and never taking anything too seriously. She speaks a little Spanish and a lot of Yorkshire. 

Favourite motto to live by: “It ain’t nothing but a thing”


  1. dawnblyth 02/06/2019 at 9:29 pm

    The only thing I felt was a whole lot of pain! I didn’t feel the cervix in dilation.. I can’t imagine needing my own cervix dilation board though. The things that are available these days!!

  2. SarahBlair 02/06/2019 at 8:58 pm

    I just felt a lot of pain! It’s amazing to think that that goes on inside us without us even being conscious of it, with my last baby he was so big that I had a cesarean section as he was not going to get out of a 10cm gap

  3. kymmage 02/06/2019 at 11:38 am

    The female body is an amazing thing. The contractions you have in labour is both moving baby down into the birth canal and opening your cervix.

  4. Micht 01/06/2019 at 5:41 pm

    This always amazes me… how the body adjusts and adapts to bring a new life into the world… i dont think i actually felt the dilation but the result of that dilation was pretty painful…

  5. Alezandra 29/05/2019 at 10:18 pm

    Can’t imagine it either but who would think to buy a dilation board huh? 😛 It’s just amazing, the miracle of giving birth and how our body is able to sustain that.

  6. Mands1980 29/05/2019 at 1:42 pm

    Wow that looks massive I’m glad I never saw that before giving birth to our 3 kids. I couldn’t tell my Cervix was dilating at all only the pain I could feel and at the time I just wanted the babies out.

  7. Shorrty4life1 28/05/2019 at 6:50 pm

    Holy moly. That picture to show is pretty impressive. Gosh us woman have amazing bodies. No I didn’t even know I was 5cm dilated with my daughter I bled a little so midwife checked and said wow you need to go hospital you’re 5cm dilated then after that it was all on. And with my son I didn’t know either.

  8. MuddledUpMolly 28/05/2019 at 5:15 pm

    As the recent mum of my latest who is 4 months old, it is crazy to see what my body has only just been through! The female body is amazing 🙂

  9. Bevik1971 28/05/2019 at 4:13 pm

    Wow! That is actually massive! I had no idea when my cervix was dilating just the pain haha. I had quite a quick labour and dilated quickly too so was lucky. I went from waters breaking to pushing baby out within 4 hours!! Need to show that board to some hubbies haha

Leave A Comment