Wednesday, May 06, 2009

"The Folly of 'Fully'"

Practising Midwife May 2009

Sara Wickham's article breaks into the accepted idea of 10 centimetres exactly as the universal "fully dilated" measurement.

I have always thought 10 centimetres was a suspiciously round number. I mean, did someone at the Academie Francaise des Sciences, where the metric system now called the ISU system first saw the light of day, think hard and say, "I know, let's measure a woman's fully dilated cervix, and adopt a standard measurement exactly ten times that, and call it a metre!" I don't think so.

Indeed history tells us that the metre was originally defined as one ten-millionth of the distance from the North Pole to the Equator along the meridian which runs near Dunkirk and Barcelona. Even though you could presumably fit exactly one million fully dilated cervixes along that line, I doubt this was a test uppermost in the Academie's minds.

Wickham proposes that a normal range for "fully" or as one of my doula friends says, "fully delighted" would be more natural and more in line with the acceptance of RANGES of normality for all other measurements in childbirth.

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