I recently read a Birth Story which mentioned the Purple Line. Purple Line? I am fairly well-read when it comes to Childbirth and I had never came across a reference to the "Purple Line" before.
Turns out the Purple Line is a red, purple or dark line that slowly appears between a Laboring Mama's butt cleavage as the baby's head descends and the intrapelvic pressure increases. It's like thermometer.
The line first starts at the anus and when it has climbed all the way to the top of natal cleft (aka the top of a woman's butt cleavage), the woman should be fully dilated and about to enter the 2nd Stage of Labor.
It doesn't show up on all women (it doesn't appear in about 10% of women). But, it's pretty cool, eh?
Here is a terrific article citing several studies (check out the photo of what the Purple Line can look like).
A British study of 144 laboring women concluded that "the purple line does exist and there is a medium positive correlation between its length and both cervical dilatation and station of the fetal head. Where the line is present, it may provide a useful guide for clinicians of labour progress along side other measures. Further research is required to assess whether measurement of the line is acceptable to women in labour and also clinicians."
This is great news for women who want to avoid unnecessary vaginal exams while in Labor. They are not fun, let me tell you. This is also especially important for women who experience Premature Rupture of Membranes (PROM), where vaginal exams can cause serious infections.
Talk to your Provider and see if they have heard of this phenomenon. Show them the studies in the Science and Sensibility article and the British study. It could help make things slightly less uncomfortable during your Labor. Please, spread the word.
Isn't the human body amazing?