The cervix is the narrow lower end of the uterus that goes into the vagina.
An insufficient cervix may begin to dilate too early in pregnancy. If there is an insufficient cervix, the following problems are more likely to occur:
No one knows for sure what causes an insufficient cervix, but these things may increase a woman’s risk for it:
Often, you will not have any signs or symptoms of an insufficient cervix unless you have a problem it might cause. This is how many women first find out about it.
If you have any of the risk factors for insufficient cervix:
If you have an insufficient cervix and miscarry in the second trimester of pregnancy, it may feel like pressure in your belly or a “lump” in your vagina. You will probably not feel contractions.
Later in the pregnancy, you will need to learn to know when you are in labor.
If you have an insufficient cervix, your health care provider will likely suggest [bedrest-60-NEW]. During bed rest, you will be advised not to have sex. Do not use tampons, and especially do not douche (which is absolutely never ok during pregnancy and is not recommended at any other time either).
Your health care provider may suggest you have a cerclage. This is a surgery to treat an insufficient cervix. During a cerclage:
Cerclages work well for most women. But many women who do not have the surgery still have healthy babies.
Talk with your health care provider about the risks and benefits of a cerclage to help you decide whether or not to have one.
Incompetent cervix; Weak cervix
Owen J, Mancuso M. Cervical cerclage for the prevention of preterm birth. Obstectric and Gynecology Clinics. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2012:39(1).
Updated by: Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Bellevue, Washington; Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
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