Cervical Lip During Labor – Causes and Tips to Reduce It

6 min read

Written by Gunjan Bedi

Gunjan Bedi

Cervical lip during labor

The cervical lip is a condition when the anterior edge of the cervix doesn’t dilate completely during contraction. The circumstances usually happen due to uneven cervix dilation in an elliptical manner instead of circular. A woman’s labor can be distressed during childbirth due to cervical lip.

The cervical lip also occurs due to the uncommon position of the baby inside the uterus. But you don’t need to worry about this condition. Doctors and nurses suggest some tips that help reduce the cervical lip. Read on to learn more about this condition, its causes, and how to deal with it.

In This Article

What is Cervical Lip?

The cervical lip is a state of cervix dilation during labor. This condition is when a woman’s cervix is almost dilated, but some portion is still unopened because of uneven pressure. The cervix muscle starts shortening during labor and pulling upward. As the contraction increases, the cervix starts dilating, and muscles become thin due to dilation. 

The baby starts descending through the pelvis region. Upon full dilation, the cervix is evenly pulled up. However, in some cases, the cervix doesn’t dilate properly. Usually, the anterior lip of the cervix will not be pulled up, which leads to the cervical lip. The condition prevents you from pushing down your baby for delivery.

What Are the Causes of Cervical Lip?

baby descending down depiction

There are many reasons why a woman experiences cervical lip during labor. Here are a few most common reasons. 

1. Anatomy 

The cervix dilation occurs in an elliptical manner, not in a circular manner. It begins from the back to the front. When the labor starts, the cervix points continually dilate from back to front. As a result, the cervix’s tip is pushed aside and turns into its anterior, or the front, portion. 

This anterior lip frequently remains unnoticed unless the woman gets a cervix check. It is difficult to identify the cervical lip if it occurs on the posterior lip.

2. Position of Baby’s Head

Once the baby begins to descend through the pelvic region, the head enters the pelvic brim and her back faces the mother’s stomach. In this phenomenon, the cervix dilates circularly.

But if the baby’s head enters within the pelvic brim with her back aligned to her mother’s, the cervix dilates unevenly. 

In some cases, women often face this condition due to uneven pressure exertion from the baby’s head.

3. Pushing Too Early

Some women believe pushing faster and early can cause cervical lip. When the labor begins, a woman has to exert pressure to push the baby downward. The pushing urge is caused because the baby’s head is touching her pelvic floor. If a woman starts pushing the baby even before the cervix dilates, it may lead to a cervical lip. 

Why Do Cervical Lips Happen?

The cervical lip usually occurs due to the baby’s position in the pelvic region. If the cervical lip happens and causes issues, doctors will check out the baby’s position and help to change the baby’s position.

In some cases, if the cervical lip is causing the pain because of prolonged pushing, doctors may manually move the cervix by inserting fingers inside the uterus. It might be a little uncomfortable and may be corrected after some contractions. This may lead to effective pushing and easy childbirth.

Are Cervical Lips Painful?

pregnant woman in labor

Cervical lips can be painful, and you might feel mild pressure on the pelvic region and cramps, similar to the periodic cycle. As the cervix dilates, the mucus plug loosens, creating pressure on the pelvic floor. However, some women don’t experience cervical dilation symptoms unless strong muscle contraction begins.

[Read : What Happens To Your Cervix During Labor Or Birth?]

How Can Cervical Lip Affect Childbirth?

The cervical lip prevents the pushing of a baby without any obstruction. Cervix dilation is the primary stage of labor. In the first stage, the cervix is completely dilated, whereas in the second stage, babies start descending downward. 

The second stage, also known as the active stage, lasts for a certain amount of time. However, if the stage doesn’t progress and some intervention is needed, this may indicate cervical lip. If this happens, the pushing procedure can get affected, preventing the baby’s head from descending. 

In that case, doctors ask women to stop pushing for a certain time. This condition can be painful because she has to do the opposite of body signals and pushing instinct. Sometimes, doctors provide medical treatment to assist with childbirth or perform a C-section or a vacuum-assisted delivery.

How Can I Reduce My Cervical Lip?

pregnant woman giving birth

If you have almost reached your delivery time, remember to ask your doctor about the cervical lip. Here are a few things you can do to handle cervical lip when you are in labor. 

1. Walk Around 

Doctors may suggest walking to shift the cervical lip. However, it can be slightly painful, so make sure someone remains beside you while walking for support. Walking during contractions is helpful to ease birth. 

2. Exert Pressure 

The best way to reduce cervical lip pressure is to exert pressure. Application of upward pressure on a pubic bone can help to resolve the issue of the cervical lip. 

3. Position Change 

Changing the position of the baby’s head to reduce pressure on the cervix helps reduce the cervical lip. This may include the following techniques 

  • Leaning forward 
  • Going on knees and hands
  • Bringing knees around your chest 
  • Lying on one side 

You can also try some positions as suggested by the doctors.

4. Pushing 

If your body spontaneously pushes, it can become tough to stop or control the pushing urge. In that case, follow your body’s instinct instead of fighting because it may cause more pain and may lead to some interference. 

However, if you’re experiencing pain in your pubic bone and contractions, your cervical lip might be nipped against your pubic bone. Changing position to reduce pressure off the cervical lip can help in such cases. 

[Read : Pushing (Bearing Down) The Baby]

5. Water Immersion 

If you get access to the birth pool in your care center, water immersion or floating on the back can help relieve some pressure from the cervix. This also helps to relax your muscles and allows you to change position for vigorous contractions. 

A cervical lip can be painful and prevent the baby from going down the uterus. Remember the tips, as they can help to reduce the complications caused by the cervical lip. Once the condition is fixed, labor will proceed normally, and shortly you enter into the pushing phase, and soon the baby will be delivered. Sometimes it also happens if you haven’t gone for a vaginal examination. Consult with doctors continually to get the right treatment and ease your labor.


1. Can You Give Birth With a Cervical Lip?

Yes, a woman can give birth with a cervical lip. Usually, doctors advise waiting for some time unless the cervical lip disappears. In some cases, they often use manual examination and change the position of the baby’s head for birth.

2. What Position is Best For the Cervical Lip?

Adjusting positions according to your comfort and the doctor’s suggestion can help in reducing the chances of having a cervical lip. However, if you experience cervical lip during labor forward leaning inversion, hands, and knees birthing position is best for the cervical lip.

3. What Cervical Position is Helpful to Dilate The Cervix Quickly?

A neutral-wide-legged position is helpful to dilate the cervix quickly. This helps to increase the blood flow, encourage cervix dilation, and open the pelvis region. 

Read Also: Cervical Length: Why Does It Matter During Pregnancy

Gunjan Bedi,B.Sc (Biotechnology), M.Sc (Microbiology)

Gunjan Bedi an inspirational writer and story teller. My background in medical science make me a perfect content writer in parenting and medical content writing niche. My content has touched millions of readers within three years. Since past three years I have worked with several clients in different niche and provide easy to read content that readers love the most.Read more.

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