Discovering a problem during your pregnancy can be a frightening experience, but we are here to help you through every step of the process. If you have been diagnosed with cervical insufficiency, formerly incompetent cervix, your cervix might begin to open too soon, leading to a miscarriage or premature delivery. This section will review risk factors, symptoms, and treatment options.
Cervical insufficiency is diagnosed based on either prior pregnancy history or a combination of pregnancy history and ultrasound measurements of cervical length. Before pregnancy, a woman’s cervix (the lower part of the uterus) is closed and firm. During the latter part of pregnancy, the cervix will naturally begin to soften, decrease in length (efface) and open (dilate) as the body prepares for birth. If you have cervical insufficiency, the opening and shortening of the cervix begin too early, leading to a miscarriage or premature delivery.
Various factors may contribute to a woman’s risk for cervical insufficiency. They include:
Many women don’t have symptoms and have cervical insufficiency during their routine prenatal care. Some women present with the following symptoms:
Women found to have cervical insufficiency or cervical shortening will be monitored closely during pregnancy for preterm labor symptoms. Patients may also be referred to a Maternal-Fetal Specialist to determine if they are a candidate for a cervical cerclage placement or progesterone administration. Some women are advised to follow pelvic rest, bed rest, or other preterm labor precautions.
Cervical cerclage, a minor surgical procedure, is an effective and safe treatment option that can help prolong the pregnancy, ideally to full term. The procedure involves the placement of a strong suture (stitch) around the cervix to keep it closed. It is generally done during the third month (12-14 weeks) of pregnancy.
If you have suffered from previous miscarriages or been told you have an incompetent cervix, our providers have the experience and wisdom to diagnose and provide treatment options for cervical incompetence. Please contact us today for an evaluation by one of our skilled providers.