Bishop Score

Find out what your Bishop’s Score is.

The Bishop Score was developed by a Dr. Edward Bishop in the 1960. It assesses five elements concerning the state and position of the woman’s cervix and her baby during a vaginal examination, to determine how “favourable” the cervix is for induction i.e. how successful/or not an induction is likely to be.

The five elements are:

  1. The position of the cervix – is it still posterior (pointing backwards) or has it begun to move forward into an anterior (forward facing) position?
  2. The consistency of the cervix – this can vary depending on whether a woman has had a baby previously, but the cervix will become softer as labour approaches and progresses.
  3. The effacement of the cervix – again, having had a previous baby is going to mean there are natural changes in the cervix anyway, but how effaced a cervix is refers to how short and thin it has become. As labour nears and advances, the thinner and stretchier the cervix becomes.
  4. The dilation of the cervix – how open it is. Again, if the mother has had a baby already there will be a degree of dilation as standard, even before labour starts.
  5. The foetal station – how low down is the baby’s head? As labour becomes more imminent and as it progresses the baby’s head will move further down.

There will be some variation between hospitals but a score of between 0 and 2 is given for each element. The higher the score the more favourable the cervix. Generally, a score above 7 indicates induction has a good chance of working (Wickham, 2016) anything lower and there is a high chance of needing a caesarean.

Just because you have a score of 7 it doesn’t rule out the need for an instrumental delivery (ventouse or forceps) or the need for a Caesarean section.  It’s not conclusive but it can help to inform the decisions you make regarding induction. If you opt to decline induction, which is totally within your rights, you can opt for expectant management or watchful waiting. In other words, you choose to monitor your own health – how you feel, how normal your discharge is (i.e. no foul smells or odd colours) and whether your baby’s movements are still the same. Alternatively, you can opt for daily/every other day scans to check the baby is ok.

For more information on this search for Well Rounded Mama or search the blog on Ripple Effect Yoga for information on Bishop scores and induction.

Induction in the UK can take a few days be prepared for the long haul flight. The pessary which is a slow release over 24-36 hours will stimulate the cervix.

Remember that you have choices at all stages of your journey.