Understanding an Incompetent Cervix

Getting a diagnosis of an incompetent cervix can be very disheartening. Not only are most women unaware that they have it, but there is typically not anything you can do to prevent it. An incompetent cervix also called an insufficient cervix, is diagnosed in pregnant women when the cervical tissue weakens or opens too early. This can lead to miscarriage or premature birth.


The cervix is a long and narrow passage at the bottom of the uterus. In a healthy pregnancy, the cervix maintains its shape until the baby is ready to be born. At the conclusion of the third trimester, the cervix will then begin to soften, shorten and dilate to prepare for delivery.

In a pregnant mother who has an incompetent cervix, however, things progress differently. The cervix begins to show signs of softening, opening and shortening earlier in the pregnancy and before the fetus has fully developed.

There may not be any warning signs during early pregnancy. However, some women experience the following mild symptoms between 14 and 20 weeks

A qualified physician using a pelvic exam or an ultrasound can make a diagnosis of an incompetent cervix. While this condition can undoubtedly create a high-risk pregnancy, there are interventional strategies that your physician can implement to help the baby stay in the womb. At North Pointe OB/GYN, we are fully equipped to provide care for high-risk pregnancies, including those that involve an insufficient or incompetent cervix. Call our Cumming office today to learn more.

 

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