Mother and Baby

Nurses carve 'scary' pumpkins to show the stages of dilation during childbirth

The Halloween spooks aren't over yet as nurses at the Royal Oldham Hospital in Lancashire have taken pumpkin carving to a whole new level.

Nurses carved pumpkins to educate and show people the ten stages of dilation during childbirth, which in turn, painted a 'scary reality' of labour

The picture of their pumpkin scale was shared onto several Facebook groups, featuring the ten pumpkins in descending order, with the largest mouth being 10cm wide. This stage is where a midwife would tell you to start pushing. 

The first pumpkin showing 1cm looks nothing short of a mildly-surprised emoji. Further along, the scale, where each mouth becomes progressively larger. 

By the final pumpkin, the midwives said you can actually put both hands in there. 

Pregnant Chicken shared the image on their Facebook page as they wrote: 

"These dilation pumpkins are the scariest thing I’ve seen all night. 🎃🙀 🤣

"It was set up by midwives at the Royal Oldham Hospital in Lancashire, England as part of a pumpkin decorating competition."

One commented on how amazing our bodies are: "I am always in awe of what our bodies can do. Mother nature. Incredible. X" whereas another said: "Omg, as someone who’s only had C-sections, this looks terrifying!" 

Someone described dilation as 'both horrifyingly disgusting and miraculous': "I’ve had three vaginal deliveries and absolutely never wanted a mirror to see any of that... Dilation is both horrifyingly disgusting and miraculous." 

Midwives have previously shown what dilation compares to with easter eggs. The Royal Devon and Exeter maternity service posted a picture this March of the 'Eggstraordinary Cervix' chart to illustrate the dilation process with different sized Easter eggs. 

It was posted on Kalma Baby HQ's Facebook page, where it read: "#HappyHumpDay

"If it’s been a tough week so far you...then you need to think about what could be called the toughest part of pregnancy for some 🤰 which may still lay ahead...labour!

"Tag a pregnant friend just to give them the ‘heads up’ it’s as easy as popping one of these beauty’s out in this eggstraordinary cervix dilation... 😂

"#pregnancy #labour #delivery #dilation #kalmamamas #kalmababy #easter #eastereggs #chocolate #ouch." 

Did this scare you a bit about childbirth? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter!

Now read:

The three stages of labour and what to expect

What birth *really* feels like for your baby

The on-screen labour scenes that are nothing like actually giving birth


While training as a journalist at the University of Gloucestershire for 3 years, she was nominated for the Best Feature Category at the Midlands Student’s Media Awards this year, and Head of News and Social Media for the university’s radio station, Tone Radio. Ellie has been published by the likes of Heatworld, Heart, Gloucestershire Live, and ITV West Country. 

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