An incompetent cervix also referred to as cervical incompetence, occurs as the baby grows and gets heavier during pregnancy, exerting pressure on the cervix. This pressure could cause the cervix to start to open before birth which could lead to premature delivery or miscarriage. Diagnosis of cervical incompetent could be difficult, making it very essential to seek fast medical help your cervix begins to open to early during pregnancy or you have an history of cervical insufficiency. More knowledge and information on incompetent cervix include the following:
CAUSES OF AN INCOMPETENT CERVIX
1.CERVICAL TRAUMA: Cervical trauma such as cervical tearing during labour or dilation or curettage which involves opening the cervix and removing part of the uterine lining/contents of the uterus surgically. An example is a first trimester miscarriage or abortion.
- 2. DAMAGE DURING CHILDBIRTH: A caesarean section in your previous pregnancy could damage the top of your cervix during the delivery of your baby.
- CONGENITAL ABNORMALITIES: Genetic disorders and uterine abnormalities which affect the fibrous type of protein that make up the body’s connective tissue such as collagen could lead to an incompetent cervix.
- 4. You might have been born with a naturally weak or short cervix. The shorter the cervix, the more likely you are to have cervical incompetence.
- 5. Previous surgery on the cervix could weaken the cervix.
SYMPTOMS OF AN INCOMPETENT CERVIX
If you have cervical incompetence, you might not have any symptoms or signs during early pregnancy. Women can be evaluated before pregnancy, or during early pregnancy through an ultrasound if they are at risk of cervical incompetence. The ultrasound would be used to measure the cervical opening or the length of the cervix.
Some women may experience mild discomfort or spotting for about several days or weeks starting between 14 to 20 weeks of pregnancy.
You should watch out for:
- Sensation of Pelvic pressure
- Back ache
- Light vaginal bleeding
- Mild abdominal cramps
- A change in vaginal discharge
TREATMENT FOR AN INCOMPTENT CERVIX
The treatment for an incompetent cervix is a procedure called “CERVICAL CERVLAGE” which sews the cervix closed to reinforce the weak cervix. It is usually performed between week 14-16 of pregnancy. The sutures will be removed between 36-38 weeks to prevent any issues when you go into labor. Removal of the cerclage does not result in spontaneous delivery of the baby.
HOW CAN I REDUCE THE RISK OF HAVING AN INCOMPETENT CERVIX?
- SEEK REGULAR NATAL CARE: Regular prenatal visits can help your Doctor monitor your baby’s health and your health as well. You can tell your Doctor about some symptoms you are not comfortable with even if you feel it is not necessary.
- AVOID RISKY SUBSTANCES: You should stop if you take alcohol, smoke or take illegal drugs. You should also seek your Doctor’s recommendation if you take any medication.
- EAT HEALTHY: You should take more of folic acid, calcium, iron and other essential nutrients. You should get EVERGREEN NATAL CARE as it contains the essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals to maintain a safe and healthy pregnancy.
- GAIN WEIGHT WISELY: Gaining the right amount of weight can help your baby’s health. A weight gain of about 25 to 35 pounds is often recommended for women with healthy weight before pregnancy.
If you have ever had an incompetent cervix during one pregnancy, you’re at risk of premature birth or pregnancy loss in later pregnancies. If you are considering getting pregnant again, it is best you talk with your doctor to understand the possible risks and what you can do to promote a healthy pregnancy.