Understanding the Bishop Score for Induction

As a birth photographer, you will often encounter inductions. A Bishop score is often used to
determine the type of induction that will be used and is a great estimator in determining how long an induction will take. A Bishop’s Score refers to a group of measurements used to determine whether a woman may have a successful vaginal delivery and whether labor ought to be induced.

You might wonder what this has to do with you as a birth photographer.  However, I have found over the years that knowing as much of this info (as possible) helps me plan better when a client is going in for an induction.  If she has NO signs of a successful induction, I will prep for either a long induction or a higher chance of being called quickly to a c-section.  Please keep in mind though, that ALL mama's are different.  The Bishop Score should only be used as a tool to give you more information.  Never turn to it over your client or your gut!

Now for the info!  Bishop’s Score is based on station, dilation, effacement, position and consistency.  They are defined as follows...


Position refers to the positioning of the cervix. If the cervix faces front (anterior) it is more favorable, while posterior is less favorable.


Consistency of the cervix is measured on a scale of firmness from firm to soft. The softer the cervix is, the better the chance of vaginal delivery.


Effacement refers to the softening and thinning of the cervix. Effacement is measured in percent. When your cervix is normal, it is considered to be 0% effaced. When you’re
50% effaced, your cervix is half its original thickness. When your cervix is 100% effaced it is completely thinned out and you are ready for vaginal delivery.


Dilation is measured in centimeters, from 0 to 10. Your cervix is fully open and you should be able to push when it is dilated to 10 centimeters.


Station is a term used to describe the descent of the baby into the pelvis. An imaginary line is drawn between the two bones in the pelvis (known as ischial spines). This is the “zero” line, and when the baby reaches this line it is considered to be in “zero station.” When the baby is above this imaginary line it is in a minus station. When the baby is below, it is in a “plus” station. Stations are measured from -5 at the pelvic inlet to +4 at the pelvic outlet.

BirthElizabeth Boyce