Maternity ward’s ‘dilation pumpkins’ go viral: ‘I’ve never seen anything scarier’

Maternity ward’s ‘dilation pumpkins’ go viral: ‘I’ve never seen anything scarier’

A truly scary Halloween-themed display in a maternity unit has once again gone viral on Twitter.

Created by midwives at Royal Oldham Hospital in Lancashire, a group of ten “dilation pumpkins” illustrate how the cervix dilates during labour. The pumpkins are lined up in ascending order, from 1cm to 10cm.

The first pumpkin looks mildly surprised and relatively cute, whilst the last pumpkin looks absolutely horrified (much like all the women of child-bearing age viewing this image).

The picture previously did the rounds in 2019 before author and medical historian Lindsey Fitzharris reshared the image with her 117,000 Twitter followers earlier this week.

The post quickly racked up more than 10,000 likes and was retweeted some 1,500 times.

A Twitter user called Katie replied to share an image she snapped while doing a placement at the same hospital a few years ago.

The image shows a pumpkin, with its seeds glued to its face like tears, giving “birth” to a delicata squash.

Some replied to Fitzharris’ tweet with jokes, with one laughing about how some of the hats look like condoms (which is a measure that’s too little too late when your cervix is dilated to 9cm):

Others, including women who have already had children, replied in disbelief:

One Twitter user had a particularly savvy suggestion, writing: “Should show this in schools on sex education classes! Should drop the birth rate in no time.”

With pictures like this reminding us of what actually goes on down there during labour, we’d like to see storks make a comeback.

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