Dilation takes centre stage when we think of the progression of labour. Dilation is basically the last thing that happens to your cervix and there is so much work that needs to be done before that will even happen.
Your cervix is the neck to your uterus, think of it like a turtle neck sweater. When you pull a turtle neck sweater over your head you need to first pull down and shorten the fabric otherwise you would be walking around with the length of the turtle neck covering your face.
In labour terms this shortening is called effacement and this needs to happen before the cervix can even open past 4cm.
All of your early labour is helping to soften, bring your cervix to a forward position and shortening the length. Once your cervix is short and almost paper-thin, then dilation will occur at a more rapid pace.
So next time you get an assessment ask them about the effacement and know that if you’ve gone from being 1cm thick to now paper-thin that is amazing progress regardless of dilation.