Medically speaking, carrying a baby to full term is the objective of any pregnancy. Expectant mothers go through many emotions from the moment they find out they are pregnant to the moments after they give birth. Fear is a common emotion for pregnant women because they understand the importance of “doing things right” while they are pregnant and the fear that they will “mess up.” While this is a valid concern, aside from drinking alcohol, using drugs, or physically harming yourself purposefully – pregnancy typically takes care of itself. However, there are extenuating circumstances that can cause issues to arise that are of no fault of the mother. An incompetent cervix is one of these circumstances.
An incompetent cervix is a condition that occurs when the cervical tissue is weak and fails to remain closed during pregnancy. This condition is uncommon, occurring in just 1 out of 100 pregnancies, but it is an extremely serious condition. An incompetent cervix can cause premature birth or the loss of a healthy pregnancy.
The cervix is the canal in which a baby passes through during labor, and the cervix should remain tightly closed throughout pregnancy. As pregnancy progresses in the last few weeks of pregnancy, it should begin to change in softness, length, and the opening. If the cervix begins to open early, it will need to be monitored closely with frequent ultrasounds to evaluate the condition. In cases where the cervix is trying to open, or dilate, before the 24th week of pregnancy, a procedure known as a cervical cerclage is typically recommended.
A cervical cerclage is a procedure used to close the cervix with strong stitches in order to keep the cervix from dilated further. These stitches are typically left in place until the 37th week of pregnancy, when they will then be removed and the natural progression of dilation will be allowed to take place. Bed rest is also almost always prescribed to women with an incompetent cervix so that they are not putting even more pressure on the cervix.
An incompetent cervix is not always predictable, but it can cause a great deal of stress on an expectant mother. If you are diagnosed with an incompetent cervix, Marietta OB-GYN Affiliates, P.A. will do our part to walk with you throughout your pregnancy. We proudly provide the best obstetrical care to our patients so that your health and the health of your growing baby are given the priority they deserve.