St. Luke's Hospital
Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
Find a Physician Payment Options Locations & Directions
Follow us on: facebook twitter Mobile Email Page Email Page Print Page Print Page Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size Font Size
America's 50 Best Hospitals
Meet the Doctor
Spirit of Women
Community Health Needs Assessment
Home > Health Information

Multimedia Encyclopedia

    Print-Friendly
    Bookmarks

    Insufficient cervix

    Incompetent cervix; Weak cervix

    The cervix is the narrow lower end of the uterus that goes into the vagina.

    • In a normal pregnancy, the cervix stays firm, long, and closed until late in the 3rd trimester.
    • In the 3rd trimester, the cervix starts to soften, get shorter, and dilate (open up) as a woman's body prepares for labor.

    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:

    • Labor begins too early before 37 weeks
    • Bag of waters breaks before 37 weeks
    • A premature (early) delivery

    What Causes It?

    No one knows for sure what causes an insufficient cervix, but these things may increase a woman's risk for it:

    • Being pregnant with more than 1 baby (twins, triplets)
    • Having an insufficient cervix in an earlier pregnancy
    • Having a torn cervix in an earlier birth
    • Having miscarriages in the fourth month or later in the past
    • Having late-term abortions in the past
    • Having a cervix that did not develop normally
    • Having a cone biopsy of the cervix in the past due to abnormal Pap smears

    How Do I Know I Have 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:

    • Your doctor may do an ultrasound to look at your cervix when you are planning a pregnancy, or early in your pregnancy.
    • You may have physical exams and ultrasounds more often during your pregnancy.

    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.

    How Is It Treated?

    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 notuse 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:

    • Your cervix will be stitched closed with a strong thread for the whole pregnancy.
    • You will be given medicine to prevent a miscarriage that could occur from the surgery.
    • Your stitches will be removed near the end of the pregnancy, or sooner if labor begins early.

    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.

    References

    Owen J, Mancuso M. Cervical cerclage for the prevention of preterm birth. Obstectric and Gynecology Clinics. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2012:39(1).

    BACK TO TOP

          A Closer Look

            Self Care

              Tests for Insufficient cervix

                Review Date: 8/23/2012

                Reviewed 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.

                The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
                adam.com

                A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Fire Fox and chrome browser.


                Back  |  Top
                About Us
                Contact Us
                History
                Mission
                Locations & Directions
                Quality Reports
                Annual Reports
                Honors & Awards
                Community Health Needs
                Assessment

                Newsroom
                Services
                Brain & Spine
                Cancer
                Heart
                Maternity
                Orthopedics
                Pulmonary
                Sleep Medicine
                Urgent Care
                Women's Services
                All Services
                Patients & Visitors
                Locations & Directions
                Find a Physician
                Tour St. Luke's
                Patient & Visitor Information
                Contact Us
                Payment Options
                Financial Assistance
                Send a Card
                Mammogram Appointments
                Health Tools
                My Personal Health
                mystlukes
                Spirit of Women
                Health Information & Tools
                Clinical Trials
                Health Risk Assessments
                Employer Programs -
                Passport to Wellness

                Classes & Events
                Classes & Events
                Spirit of Women
                Donate & Volunteer
                Giving Opportunities
                Volunteer
                Physicians & Employees
                For Physicians
                Remote Access
                Medical Residency Information
                Pharmacy Residency Information
                Physician CPOE Training
                Careers
                Careers
                St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
                Copyright © St. Luke's Hospital Website Terms and Conditions  |  Privacy Policy  |  Patient Notice of Privacy Policies PDF Sitemap St. Luke's Mobile