Cervical insufficiency occurs when a strangely weak or soft cervix painlessly expands, which leads to membrane rupture and giving birth to a fetus that is too small to survive. This normally happens in the second or early trimester as the weight of your growing baby puts pressure on your cervix.
Also known as “incompetent cervix,” this condition can lead to second trimester miscarriage or give birth prematurely. This condition particularly increases your risk to give birth prematurely (usually before 32 weeks). About 20% of miscarriages that occur between 16 and 24 weeks are believed to stem from an incompetent cervix.
Causes of Cervical Incompetence
This condition can be a result of abnormalities in the uterine, cervical surgery, previous dilation and curettage, or scraping of the tissue inside the uterus, or injuries from previous child birth, but unfortunately, the cause is unknown most of the time.
In the past, someone is diagnosed with cervical insufficiency after they’ve had had a number of second-trimester miscarriages or early preterm birth with no known reason. Nowadays, if your physician identifies you at risk with this condition, he’ll order regular transvaginal ultrasounds starting at 16 to 20 weeks in order to measure the length of your cervix and to check for signs of early shortening.
If your physician finds substantial changes, then you’re at a much higher risk for preterm birth. And the shorter your cervix, the greater the risk involve. However, diagnosing this condition is still tricky, and there have been a lot of controversy whether any treatment procedures can really prevent miscarriage or preterm birth.
It would also be helpful to observe if you experience:
• Vaginal spotting or bleeding
• Menstrual-like cramps
• Pelvic pressure or heaviness
• Change in the amount or type of vaginal discharge, especially a watery or mucousy discharge.
Cervical cerclage is the most viable option. It’s a type of surgery wherein your doctor places a stitch in your cervix early in your pregnancy, and to be removed when the pregnancy has progress far enough that you can safely give birth. But this procedure has yet to be proven effective in preventing miscarriage or preterm birth.
To be able to give birth to a healthy baby is the dream of every parent. But nurturing a life inside the womb is a delicate situation for any woman, so good health and extra care must be done at all times. It’s also important to take note of yours and your partner’s medical history to help detect any problems.