Who Should be Tested for Incompetent Cervix?
on Mar 20, 2014
by Dr. Christine Lee, MD
Incompetent cervix can only be diagnosed during pregnancy, and even then, it is very hard to diagnose, especially if it is your first pregnancy.
During pregnancy, the baby grows and begins to press more on the cervix. If the pressure is too great, the cervix can start to open before the baby is ready to come out. This can lead to miscarriage or premature labor. About 1 in 100 women will suffer from an incompetent or weakened cervix. Claim Your 20 Free Pregnancy Tests – Click Here
Unfortunately, incompetent cervix can only be diagnosed during pregnancy, and even then, it is very hard to diagnose, especially if it is your first pregnancy. Sadly, the time that incompetent cervix is usually diagnosed is after a second or third trimester miscarriage. A good way to make sure that your doctor knows if you are at risk for incompetent cervix is to make sure he or she is completely aware of your complete medical history, especially if you have had any tearing during a previous labor and delivery, or if you have suffered a second trimester miscarriage.
Doctors really aren’t too sure what makes some women more suspectible to having an incompetent cervix. However, there are some factors that make it more likely to happen, including damage during a difficult birth or damage during a prior cervical surgery. A misformed uterus or cervix caused by a birth defect can also be another reason. Trauma to the cervix from a prior miscarriage or D and C can also make an incompetent cervix more likely.
It is important to remember that there are not any tests to detect this condition that can be done before pregnancy. However, your doctor might order an ultrasound or MRI to detect certain abnormalities that might indicate a problem. During your second trimester, your doctor can do lab work, a pelvic exam, or a transvaginal ultrasound to determine whether or not you are at risk for this condition.
If you are diagnosed with an incompetent cervix, there are some things that your doctor can do. There is a procedure that sews the cervix closed and helps to reinforce the weak cervix. The procedure is called a cerclage and doctors usually perform it during 14 to 16 weeks of pregnancy. Usually between weeks 36 and 38 of pregnancy, the sutures will be removed so that labor can happen naturally. Most doctors agree that the benefits of this procedure outweigh any risk, so if you are at risk, talk to your doctor about what you should do.
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Dr. Christine Lee earned her Ph.D. in Developmental Biology and Master of Science in Biomolecular Organization. Dr. Lee is Lab Director for ConceiveEasy and is board certified as a High Complexity Laboratory Director (HCLD).