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And hospitals could make arrangements to have more staff on hand if they know lots of deliveries are imminent in the next week, Berghella said.Sometimes, women have a medical condition that necessitates delivering their baby soon, but not necessarily immediately.Better medical planning Estimating due dates more closely could help doctors make medical decisions.For babies with congenital anomalies who must be delivered in a hospital, getting a better estimate of the due date could ensure safer delivery.Guessing game, waiting game Though most women are given an official due date, it is often just a rough estimate.Only 5 percent of women deliver on their due date, according to American Academy of Pediatrics.In those instances, doctors may take a wait-and-see approach to see if a woman is going to deliver soon, but may opt to induce if they feel labor is not imminent, he said."If her cervix is short, you could say, 'Oh, you can probably wait; you are probably going to go into labor,'" Berghella told Live Science.

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However, transvaginal ultrasounds reveal the shape of the entire cervix, allowing doctors to see if the process has started, Berghella said.27) in the BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.In late pregnancy, as the body prepares for labor, the cervix — a cone-shaped organ that sits between the uterus and the vagina — begins to flatten out.That made researchers wonder whether similar scans could be predictive during the homestretch of pregnancy.Measurable changes To answer that question, Berghella looked at five studies in which researchers used ultrasounds to measure cervical length of a total of 735 pregnant women.

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