Incompetent cervix; Weak cervix; Pregnancy - insufficient cervix; Premature labor - insufficient cervix; Preterm labor - insufficient cervix
Insufficient cervix occur when the cervix begins to soften too early in a pregnancy. This could cause miscarriage or premature birth.
What is an Insufficient Cervix?
The cervix is the narrow lower end of the uterus that goes into the vagina.
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:
What Causes it?
No one knows for sure what causes an insufficient cervix, but these things may increase a woman's risk:
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. That is how many women first find out about it.
If you have any of the risk factors for insufficient cervix:
An insufficient cervix may cause these symptoms in the 2nd trimester:
How is it Treated?
If there is a threat of premature birth, your provider may suggest bed rest. However, this has not been proven to prevent loss of pregnancy, and may result in complications for the mother.
Your provider may suggest you have a cerclage. This is a surgery to treat an insufficient cervix. During a cerclage:
Cerclages work well for many women.
Sometimes, medicines such as progesterone are prescribed instead of a cerclage. These help in some cases.
Talk with your provider about your situation and treatment options.
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Review Date: 9/25/2018
Reviewed By: John D. Jacobson, MD, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Loma Linda University School of Medicine, Loma Linda Center for Fertility, Loma Linda, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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