This is something that may come up in pregnancy when your care provider is suggesting induction, or in the birth process when they’re checking for “labor progression”.
It’s not really important because your body knows how to give birth without data. But it is a piece of information that might help you make one decision verses another.
Both bishop score and pelvic station are assessed by an internal vaginal exam, also known as cervical exam with your care provider’s fingers inserted into your vagina.
I want you to keep in mind that the information gathered from a vaginal exam is only a snapshot in time. It is telling you one little piece of what’s happening in this very moment.
Things change, sometimes gradually and sometimes rapidly.
So, let’s get to what these assessments actually are.
-3 = 5cm above ischial spine
-2 = 3cm above ischial spine
-1 = 1cm above ischial spine
0 = in line with ischial spine
+1 = 1cm below ischial spine
+2 = 3cm below ischial spine
+3 = 5cm below ischial spine and ready to be born
BISHOP SCORE is the sum of numbers assigned to different states of the cervix. When assessing, the care provider is checking your cervix for:
Effacement (how thin it is)
Why would this information be useful to you?
Well, if your care provider is suggesting induction and your bishop’s score is very low, this likely means that your body is simply not ready to go into labor and an induction may take more than one intervention over the span of a few days.
If you want a natural birth and you’re getting to the point in labor where you’re considering an epidural, you may want to have a vaginal exam to see if you might actually be toward the end of labor. If you are dilated to 8cm and your baby is +1 station, would that motivate you to keep going without it?
If you have a vaginal exam and discover that you are fully dilated to 10cm but baby is at 0 station and you don’t feel the urge to push, you might want to wait. Try to nap between contractions, eat something, or maybe get up and use gravity to let baby rotate and descend so your pushing time is shorter.
Remember, you can decline anything. You do not have to have vaginal exams. It is always your choice. And you can always change your mind.