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Incompetent Cervix Uteri: Your Pregnancy May Be At Risk

About

An incompetent cervix also called a cervical insufficiency, occurs when weak cervical tissue causes a miscarriage or premature birth.

Happens in 1 out of 100 pregnancies[1]

- Requires medical help for diagnosis
- Lab tests and imaging is required
- Most pregnancy losses due to incompetent cervix occur in the second trimester

In this medical condition, as pregnancy nears, the cervix gradually dilates (widens) and effaces (turns thin). This leads to the opening of the cervix, which eventually may lead to miscarriage. A weakened cervix is caused due to damage during previous childbirth, trauma to the cervix, or previous cervical surgery. The condition is diagnosed through transvaginal ultrasound monitoring or funneling.

Symptoms

Women may experience spotting and discomfort between 14 and 20 weeks of pregnancy. They may experience the following:
- A sudden backache
- Pelvic pressure
- Mild vaginal bleeding
- Braxton-Hicks-like contractions
- Vaginal discharge changes from white to a shade of pink
- Change in volume of discharge

Treatment

Surgical treatments are available for cervical insufficiency. Cervical cerclage is placed through surgery to reinforce the cervix and increase the functional length. This procedure is performed between week 14 and week 16, and sutures are removed between week 36 and week 38.

Medications: Medications are recommended instead of cervical stitches. Medications for an incompetent cervix include progesterone supplements. It is advisable to take weekly shots of hydroxyprogesterone caproate (a progesterone hormone) during the second and third trimesters. These help in preventing contractions and keeps pregnancy to full term.

Specialists: Identification of the above symptoms may be an immediate call for you to see a medical expert or an obstetrician. At mfine, you can seek medical advice from professionals with 30+ years of experience in their respective fields.
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