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Viral video uses clay to show what happens to a woman’s cervix during birth

Jenny Recotta, who made the video on TikTok, is a labor and delivery nurse turned potter.
/ Source: TODAY

One woman is opening up about the reality of giving birth and millions of people on the internet are watching.

In a now-viral clip, Jenny Recotta, 36, uses her pottery wheel and a lump of clay to show how a woman's cervix dilates while giving birth.

“When you find out what your cervix does in labor,” the video, showing Recotta creating a small opening in the clay, says as the clip begins.

As the 17-second video progresses, Recotta uses her fingers to demonstrate the widening of a woman's cervix starting at one centimeter until it's time to push out a baby at ten centimeters.

"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?!"

Based in Virginia, Recotta tells she never anticipated the video would go viral.

"That sort of threw me for a loop," she says of the video, which has amassed more than 7.2 million views and nearly 5,300 comments at time of publication. "I did not expect this at all."

Recotta says that feedback as been overwhelmingly positive.

"In some of the comments there have been a fair number of people who have been like 'Wow, this validates what I experienced and really makes me proud of what my body did'," Recotta says. "I just love that people can look back and be so proud of what they did to bring their babies here."

A side-by-side comparison of what a 1 centimeter dilated cervix looks like vs. 10 centimeters dilated in clay.
A side-by-side comparison of what a 1 centimeter dilated cervix looks like vs. 10 centimeters dilated in clay.@thelumpymug via TikTok

Recotta tells she began creating pottery as a labor and delivery nurse after a friend invited her to a wheel-throwing pottery class.

After months of practice, Recotta was at work one day when she thought, "What if I put a placenta on a mug?"

"I started scouring the internet," she says. "I didn’t want to start reproducing an art form that was already out there."

Recotta couldn't find anything, so she started producing her vision, calling it "The Lumpy Mug".

"I threw myself into developing that design," she says.

After posting the mug to her Instagram account, she sold out.

"My coworkers told me I was insane, (but) it became really popular," she says. "I kind of did it as a part-time gig. I was selling them for next to nothing and just for fun."

Burnt out in nursing, Recotta quit her job in labor and delivery and turned to pottery full time.

While she uses other social platforms for sales, the creator tells she has been trying to "dabble" in TikTok.

"I have been finding ways of taking that platform to talk about issues in healthcare and birth and throw my art in there," she says, adding that people often have an emotional response to clay art.

Recotta says that as her art has evolved and become more detailed, there has been an inadvertent reaction she didn't anticipate.

"I’ve found that people who buy or view my work...there’s a really strong emotional and healing aspect to the art itself," she says. "The way that it embodies the birth experience has been really healing for a lot of people and it’s something I didn’t expect, but something I'm really proud of and an important part of the piece itself."

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