When asking about short cervix during pregnancy you should know that the cervix is the tubular, narrow, lower end of the uterus that can be found in the vagina. When you aren’t pregnant, the cervix is a bit open to allow sperm to enter. During pregnancy, the cervix is supposed to remain closed until the end of your pregnancy.
What does an incompetent cervix mean?
If you have this problem, it means that the cervix is prematurely dilating and effacing. If the cervix is weaker and softer than normally, the problem could arise at the end of the second trimester or at the beginning of the third trimester. This is because the growing baby puts more and more pressure on it.
The cervix that is incompetent can be the result of a second trimester miscarriage, preterm delivery or the premature rupture of your membranes. If you are affected by this problem, your chances of being faced with a premature birth grow significantly.
How do you know if you have short cervix during pregnancy?
If you have this problem, most probably you were diagnosed with an incompetent cervix before or you had several second trimester miscarriages before. However at this moment there is no sure way to screen for this problem. Nonetheless if you are in the high risk group, your doctor might ask for regular transvaginal ultrasounds.
If these ultrasounds show significant changes, you will be at high risk of preterm labor because of the cervical insufficiency. The shorter the cervix is, the higher the risks are. However diagnosing the problem is still quite tricky. There are some doctors who debate whether the preterm labor prevention methods are effective in this case.
High risk groups
You have higher chances of being affected by short cervix during pregnancy if you had a second trimester miscarriage and you don’t know the cause of it. Your chances become even higher if you had several miscarriages of this kind and the cause wasn’t placental abruption or preterm labor.
Some of the procedures can also lead to the insufficiency of the cervix such as LEEP or cone biopsy. In case your mother was taking DES during her pregnancy you are at risk of developing this problem. This is a drug that used to be given to pregnant women before 1971 when people found out that it was ineffective.
The chances of having a short cervix during pregnancy increase if you had an injury during a previous D&C or childbirth or if you had several abortions. An unusually short cervix could also lead to this problem. Cervical insufficiency in a previous pregnancy also increases your chances.
What could you do?
If you find out that you have a short cervix while being pregnant, it is possible that your doctor will suggest you to have a cerclage procedure. This is a procedure during which there are stitches placed into the cervix to keep it closed during your pregnancy.
Now you know all about short cervix during pregnancy and you know what you can do about it.