Learning you have an incompetent cervix during pregnancy can be frightening. An incompetent cervix essentially means that your cervical opening is failing to remain closed, either due to a damaged, weak or short cervix. During a normal pregnancy, the cervix begins to open (through dilatation and effacement) during the final days of pregnancy. However, if your cervix begins to noticeable dilate before the 24th week of pregnancy, your obstetrician will likely diagnose you with an incompetent cervix and recommend a cervical cerclage.
A cervical cerclage is the treatment of choice for premature opening of the cervix. It involves sewing your cervix closed until your pregnancy reaches term. The stitches typically remain until the 37th week of pregnancy before they are removed. This helps the cervix hold things together and prevents preterm birth and miscarriage.
Who is at risk?
An incompetent cervix is not always predictable. Attending your routine pregnancy exams are critical so that your physician can catch premature cervical opening at its earliest stage. Common conditions that cause an incompetent cervix include the following: A short cervix
- A short cervix
- Damage to cervix from previous pregnancy termination
- A previous cone biopsy or an LEEP procedure
- A history of 2nd trimester miscarriages
- Previous cervical cerclage
- Previous emergent cerclage
- Abnormal cervix before conception
While it can be quite unsettling to hear that your cervix is opening or dilating too soon during your pregnancy, rest assured that cervical cerclage is highly effective. In fact, it is known to prevent miscarriages or premature labor in over 85% of incompetent cervix cases. At North Pointe OB/GYN Associates, we proudly provide incompetent cervix treatment as well as a full menu of high-risk pregnancy services, allowing women to have the best possible care during such a valued time in their lives.