What does dilated in pregnancy mean

Effacement and dilatation need to occur for a baby to be born through the birth canal. Effacement means that the cervix stretches and gets thinner. Dilatation means that the cervix opens.
As the baby's head drops down into the pelvis, it pushes against the cervix and causes the cervix to relax and thin out, or efface.
Effacement is described as a percentage. For example, if your cervix is not effaced at all, it is 0% effaced. If the cervix has completely thinned, it is 100% effaced.

Dilatation

After the cervix begins to efface, it will also begin to open (cervical dilatation).

Cervical dilatation is expressed in centimeters from 0 to 10. Zero means that the cervix is closed, and 10 means that it is completely dilated. Your cervix must be completely dilated before you can begin the pushing stage.

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Moms Expertise
    05/13/14
    This is great information... and as Meg said you can stay dilated for a while without going into labor... did you ever experience being dilated but not going into labor?
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