Some women can stay 1-centimeter dilated for weeks, as noted by WebMD. The exact amount of times the cervix stays dilated varies from person to person.
Dilation takes place as the cervix begins opening to prepare the body for childbirth. The cervix thins and stretches out so the baby can pass through the opening. Some women begin dilating weeks before they are ready to give birth. Doctors and some nurses can manually check a women to determine how many centimeters dilated she is. Pushing the baby through the birthing canal does not begin until a women is 9 to 10 centimeters. If the cervix is at 0 centimeters, it is considered completely closed.