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  • Writer's pictureKirstie Broughton

What is the Bishops score?

Lots of people have never heard about the Bishops score, let alone know what it is.

If you’re a regular follower of mine you’ll know that I’m a huge advocate of informed decisions. Learning about the Bishops score will enable and empower you to make an informed decision for your baby and yourself.

The Bishops score is used to assess the ripeness of your cervix and your likelihood of going into labour in the immediate future. This scoring system was developed in the 1960’s by Dr Edward Bishop.

Your Bishops score is checked by your midwife or doctor by performing a vaginal examination. 

The main reason they may want to check this is if you’re going to have your labour induced. Always remember that induction is your choice, you have the right to say no. You should decide whether the risks of induction are greater or less than waiting for labour to start on its own. 

What are they looking for to assess a Bishops Score?

Your care provider will be checking how dilated your cervix is (in centimetres from 0-10cm, 10cm is fully dilated).

They will check how short and thin your cervix is (the shorter and thinner the readier it is to birth). You may also hear this called cervical effacement. 

They will check how far down in your pelvis the baby’s head is (the lower down the better).

They will check the consistency of your cervix (the softer the better). In first pregnancies the cervix is usually quite firm, and softens with further pregnancies. 

They will check the position of your cervix, whether it’s pointing backwards or forwards. As your body gets ready your cervix will move from pointing backwards to a forward facing position. 

What does my Bishops score mean?

Each factor is given a grade. A score of eight or more indicates your cervix is ripe and ready for labour. It means your likely to go into spontaneous labour very soon. 

A score of six to seven means it’s not likely labour will start spontaneously soon. An induction may or may not be successful. 

A score of less than six indicates your cervix is not ready for labour. If an induction is performed when a person has a low Bishops score its more likely to be unsuccessful. 

Knowing your Bishops score may help you to decide if you’d like induction or not, but not everyone is told about it and given the choice to make an informed decision with this information. If you want to know, you can simply ask, and also ask to be kept informed of anything similar, so that you can make informed decisions about anything else that crops up. 

If you follow the route of induction your Bishops score will be checked at a later stage to see if the score is going up. 

Overall it’s your choice to whether you want the vaginal exam to check your Bishops score and it’s also your choice to whether you accept induction or not. What ever you choose I’m really pleased you’ve read this blog and can now make an informed decision. 

I’m happy to support you with choices regarding induction and looking at the pros and cons as your birth doula. Please get in touch if you’d like some more information and take a look at the birth doula page on my website Birth Doula – Breathe Birth Yoga


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