Effacement is the term used for the process of which the cervix is preparing for delivery. The process is the thinning and shortening of the cervix which also becomes softer.
Your healthcare provider will report your effacement through percentages. A typical phrase will be, “You are 50% effaced.” Complete or full effacement will be 100% versus 0%. Labor is about to happen when you are 100% effaced.
Signs of effacement:
Your healthcare provider will monitor your effacement during the last few weeks of your pregnancy. Effacement often occurs before dilation and even more so for first time mothers. I
Compiled using information from the following source:
Mayo Clinic Guide To A Healthy Pregnancy. Harms, Roger W., M.D., et al, Ch. 11.
American Pregnancy Association, http://www.americanpregnancy.org