This post is about what is incompetent cervix
By Charlie Daily
Causes, Symptoms, & Treatment for Incompetent Cervix
A rising complication during pregnancy is incompetent cervix. Cervical incompetence occurs when a woman cannot carry the weight of a fetus in her womb due to the softening of her cervix. This can lead to complications such as preterm labor, infection, and death to an unborn baby. The mother can also suffer from life threatening complications and death due to cervical shortening.
As a fetus grows, the weight of the baby, placenta, and amniotic sac puts pressure on the cervix. When a woman has a healthy cervix, it can carry the weight of a fetus and will not soften until late in the third trimester when she is closer to her due date. With an incompetent cervix, it cannot withstand the weight of a growing baby. The weight of the fetus puts pressure on the cervix. This softens the cervix causing it to open.
This post is about incompetent cervix
What Causes Incompetent Cervix
Incompetent cervix can be caused by several factors such as:
- Birth defects
- Trauma to the cervix from
- dilation and curettage
- difficulty during childbirth.
Fetal Morbidity & Mortality
Incompetent Cervix substantially raises the chances of complications and death to a fetus. Along with a shorten cervix, a woman can experience funneling. With this complication, amniotic membranes protrude into where the cervix and uterus meet. This can lead to an infection such as chorioamnionitis and placenta abruption. If a fetus survives delivery, it can be born with severe defects and disabilities. When these complications occur, a baby will only live a few hours after delivery.
Maternal Morbidity & Mortality
Women who have a shorten cervix is more prone to complications during pregnancy such as placenta abruption. During a placenta abruption, it detaches from the uterus. This causes severe bleeding and with no medical intervention, it can be fatal.
Symptoms of Incompetent Cervix
1.Shortening of Cervix: If your doctor suspects that you have incompetent cervix, they will perform an ultrasound to confirm the diagnosis. A shorten cervix is less than 25 millimeters before twenty-four weeks. When a pregnancy has reached thirty-four weeks, the cervix will begin to shorten to prepare for labor and delivery.
2.Cramping: During the first few weeks of pregnancy, a woman may feel mild cramping. This cramping is due to the egg being implanted in the uterine lining. After implantation has occurs, the cramping subsides.
3.Pressure in the Pelvis: During the first and second trimester you should not feel any pressure in your pelvis. One reason is that even in the second trimester, your baby is only two to three pounds. Even with the weight of the placenta and the amniotic fluid, there should be little to no discomfort. If you feel constant pressure in your pelvis, it may be a sign that your cervix is weakening, and immediate action should be taken.
4.Back Pain: As your unborn baby matures, they will begin to gain a substantial amount of weight. The average baby can weigh anywhere from five to eight pounds at delivery. This will cause back pain late in the second trimester and in the third trimester. However, if you are experiencing constant back pain early in your pregnancy, tell your OBGYN immediately.
If the cervix is not completely gone, a cerclage can be placed to keep the cervix closed. A cerclage is a band that will be stitched around the cervix. This procedure is usually performed between 12-24 weeks gestation. It will be removed around 34 weeks of gestation. It is removed during this time because the fetus has reached viability. This will also decrease the chances of the mother going into labor while the cerclage is still in place.
A transabdominal cerclage is placed further up the cervix compared to a traditional cerclage. Instead of going through the vaginal canal, a transabdominal cerclage is done by making an abdominal incision. When a transabdominal cerclage is placed, a woman will deliver via c-section instead of having a vaginal delivery. A transabdominal cerclage can be a permanent tool to combat incompetent cervix. If the patient wants it removed, they will have to undergo surgery once more.
2. Checking your Cervix Regularly
Having your cervix checked weekly until you have reached viability monitors the length of it and can give your obstetrician time to address any issues that may occur. Your cervix is checked by performing a transvaginal ultrasound. If your cervix measures under 25 millimeters, it is considered short.
The most common drug prescribed to treat incompetent cervix is progesterone. It is a hormonal steroid that strengthens the uterus and prevents it from contracting. This medication can be taken as a suppository, injection, or in pill form.
4. Bed Rest
Resting with an incompetent cervix can help relieve pressure in the pelvis and back pain. It is very important to not lift anything heavy or do any strenuous work.
With the right treatment plan, a mother can carry her baby full term with no complications from incompetent cervix. If you have any questions or concern about your pregnancy, make sure you contact your doctor immediately.