Your bishop score is your cervix and body’s readiness for birth and/or an induction for birth.
As you are getting close to your estimated due date or induction date, your provider can perform a cervical exam and apply their findings to a chart to come up with a number. That number then gives an insight at how “ready” your body is for labor and a successful vaginal birth.
While performing the cervical exam, your provider will be looking for the following five areas.
1. How dilated your cervix is – how open
2. How effaced your cervix is – how long or short
3. The position of your cervix – is it pointing towards your back, front or somewhere in the middle
4. The cervical consistency of your cervix – is your cervix soft, hard, somewhere in the middle
5. The station of the baby – how deep into the pelvis is your baby’s head sitting.
In the above chart you can see that a score is allocated for each finding.
The thought process is the closer your number is to 15 the more likely birth is to be imminent or most likely your induction will end in a quicker more successful vaginal birth.
Ideally your score is above 8 before you start your induction. If it isn’t but an induction is deemed medically necessary, then usually your midwife or OB will use techniques and medications to grow your number before really getting the birth ball rolling… see what we did there.
To give you an example. If you were 1-2 cm dilated, 40/50% effaced, the baby was higher at -2 station, the cervix was soft like your lips, and your cervix was pointing posterior… your score would be a 5. If you happened to be a little more dilated like 3-4cm, and more effaced around 80% and it could be an 8.
While the score is used to get an understanding of how likely you are to go into labor or how easily your body will accept an induction, this score is not law. There are many women all around the world, like me who were closed (no dilation) long (hardly no effacement), firm, posterior and a high baby who went into into labor on their own in just a few short days after that cervical exam.
The cervix is ever changing, and many things can help it open up, including semen from intercourse. Semen has a prostaglandin in it that helps the cervix become softer, and open more.
By understanding the Bishop Score you can better understand your options for birth and induction and have good open communication with your chosen medical provider about all of your options and which are best for you.