Viral TikTok Demonstrates What Happens To Your Cervix During Childbirth With Pottery

Who knew clay could show us just how incredible our bodies are?

In 2018, Jenny Recotta was a labor and delivery nurse who needed a “season of rest,” she tells Romper. She was struggling with burnout and found solace in learning to throw pottery. Since then, Recotta has managed to blend her two loves, nursing and pottery, by creating her popular “placenta mug” after working long shifts surrounded by birth workers. More recently, Recotta found another way to blend those two worlds. In a video that has since gone viral on TikTok, Recotta used pottery to show how the cervix dilates during birth.

Recotta recently shared the educational video on her TikTok and Instagram page for her pottery company, the Lumpy Mug, and it’s already racked up millions of views. “Ever wanted a visual of what happens to your cervix during birth?” Recotta captioned the clip. “1-10 centimeters as shown in clay? How amazing are our bodies to be able to open and birth a baby?!”

The video is indeed amazing, perhaps especially since so few of us have ever seen a cervix dilate during childbirth even if we have experienced it. But as a labor and delivery nurse, Recotta was able to see the similarities between her two roles almost right away.

“I first came up with the idea last year when I was throwing a mug on the wheel,” Recotta tells Romper. “After you center the clay, you open it up to form the base of your piece, much like you see in the video. I realized that when I was sizing the inside of my mugs I was using my fingers to measure, just like I do when I check someone's cervix. That's when I got the idea to make a video showing the progression from 1-10 cm as I opened up a piece of clay.”

The video has been viewed more than 12 million times, and the response has been one of general shock by viewers. Which in turn shocked Recotta. “I've been really surprised by the lack of understanding of the body that I've seen in the comments. There are a large number of people that seem unaware of what the cervix is and have no understanding of how birth works,” she says. “There have been several people that have expressed fear and the desire to never have children.”

Still, there have been favorable responses as well. “My favorite response has been the women who have come to celebrate what their bodies can and have done. They feel powerful and strong and seem to feel a sense of redemption in what may have previously felt like a failure. I've really loved being a part of that,” Recotta tells Romper.

Regardless of the response, Recotta feels it’s important to give “good, medically sound education surrounding birth and procedures or interventions along the way.” Even when some of the conversation turns negative. “People are talking about the natural process of cervical dilation as a ‘negative side effect of birth.’ The language that we use surrounding birth is so important in creating empowered women and birthing people. While there are many risks and possible negative outcomes in birth, the process of the cervix dilating is not one of them.”

Using her art to inform and educate about birth practices has become a full-time job for Recotta, between her new videos and her popular placenta mugs, where she creates mugs with a piece of placenta on them. Because really, bringing humans into the world is an art form within itself. Why not celebrate and educate?