One of the less common pregnancy complications is that of an incompetent cervix. The cervical health of a woman plays a crucial role in the normal progress and development of a pregnancy. An incompetent cervix is one that prematurely opens up under the pressure of the growing uterus and the growing fetus.
It seems to occur once in every 100 pregnancies. It s especially common in women who have conceived twins. This is one of the most common reasons for miscarriages. 20-30 % of miscarriages occur because of an incompetent cervix.
Causes Of An Incompetent Cervix
The factors underlying an incompetent cervix are several. A biopsy done on the cervical cells for cancer detection may be one of them. Some cervixes have a genetic weakness and just cannot take the strain of a pregnancy.
Extreme stretching or severe lacerations to the cervix due to a previous delivery can also cause the cervix to dilate prematurely in subsequent pregnancies.
Having twins also puts considerable strain on the cervix. However this does not indicate that the woman will have an incompetent cervix in a subsequent single foetus pregnancy.
Diagnosis Of An Incompetent Cervix
An incompetent cervix is diagnosed when a woman miscarries after a woman experiences progressive effacement and dilation o the cervix without pain or uterine bleeding.
Some fortunate women start to bleed and can prevent a miscarriage by reporting it immediately to a doctor.Since it occurs unexpectedly, performing a diagnosis becomes difficult.In such cases it is better to keep in mind the previous uterine history of the woman.
Treatment Of An Incompetent Cervix
The good news of an incompetent cervix is that it really does not need to happen again. If a correct and accurate diagnosis has been made as the cause behind your miscarriage, your obstetrician will take all the necessary steps to prevent an encore. With proper treatment and close monitoring, your odds of having a healthy pregnancy are greatly in your favour.
One of the most common treatments of an incompetent cervix is a cerclage. In this procedure the opening of the cervix is stitched close.This procedure is generally done in the second trimester when there are maximum chances of a miscarriage occurring.
Research has often debated the success rate of the cerclage procedure. However it is a routine practice in most hospitals and a lot of ob-gyns regularly perform it.
The cerclage is done when an ultrasound confirms and shows the opening and effacement of the cervix.The procedure is done under a local anesthesia.The patient is awake.
It is a simple and painless procedure and the patient can resume her normal activities 24-48 hours after the surgery. Sexual intercourse is completely prohibited for the remainder of your pregnancy and you may have to come for frequent check- ups. You may or may not be advised bed rest.
The removal of the sutures on the cervix is done towards the fag end of the pregnancy closer to your date of delivery. A lot of this depends on your practitioner’s expertise and experience and your prognosis. It is not a difficult pregnancy complication and can easily be remedied.
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