A Weak Cervix

February 23, 2010

Unfortunately, miscarriages occur frequently in the first trimester of pregnancy. It is difficult, at any stage, to lose a baby. However, when a miscarriage occurs in the second or third trimester, there is usually an underlying medical cause for the loss. Once such cause is an incompetent, or weakened cervix.

A weakened cervix is a condition which may be a precursor to a premature delivery. As the baby grows and develops in the uterus, increasing in weight, there is more pressure on the cervix. This pressure may create a situation where the cervix thinks the baby is ready to be born and it begins to open. The problem is that the baby isn't ready to be born and this premature opening of the cervix could lead to miscarriage or premature delivery.

A weakened cervix can be caused by a number of different things. If a woman has had surgery on the cervix, perhaps for removal of cancerous cells, it may be a cause or a difficult birth may have caused damage to the cervix. Some women are born with a malformed cervix or uterine anomaly or were exposed to DES (Diethylstilbestrol). Yet another cause may be damage caused by a D&C (dilation and curettage) performed after the termination of a pregnancy or a miscarriage.

Diagnose An Incompetent Cervix

Diagnosis of an incompetent cervix is usually made in the second or third trimester since it is not something that is routinely checked in routine pregnancy care. It is possible for a woman to have an evaluation before pregnancy, especially if there are potential reasons for a weakened cervix. An ultrasound and pelvic exam are necessary to confirm the state of the cervix and to measure the opening or length of the cervix. A weakened cervix occurs in about 2 percent of pregnancies and about one quarter of all babies miscarried in the second trimester are lost due to this condition.

A weakened cervix can be treated through a procedure called a cerclage. In this procedure, the cervix is sewn closed in a bid to reinforce it. A cerclage is usually performed between 14 to 16 weeks gestation and the sutures are removed between 36 to 38 weeks gestation to avoid problems in labor. A woman who has irritation to the cervix, has dilated more than 4cm or whose membhttp://e.writers.g.a.ezd.com/post.php?id=5490ranes have already ruptured, is not eligible for this surgery.

There are possible complications with cervical cerclage. These include uterine rupture, bladder rupture, hemorrhage, laceration to the cervix, preterm labor and premature rupture of the membranes. The actual likelihood of the risks is low and most doctors believe that a cervical cerclage is a life-saving procedure, well worth any risk involved.

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