An incompetent cervix
A stitch in time saves the possibility of an early birth.
(Getty Images)
An incompetent cervix sounds like a character from an Asterix comic, but really itjust means that the opening to your womb isn’t that strong.

Asyour baby grows and gets heavier is presses on your cervix. This may cause thecervix to start to open before the baby is ready to be born. It is also calleda weakened cervix.

Leftuntreated, it may lead to a miscarriage or premature delivery. An incompetentcervix happens in only about 1 out of 100 pregnancies, but doctors are aware ofit and will check for it.

Incompetentcervix may only be diagnosed by the second or third trimester. Your doctorshould pick it up during a routine ultrasound exam when the cervical opening ismeasured. In most cases he or she will want to do a procedure called cerclageto sew the cervix closed to reinforce the weak cervix.

You’re more likely to have this if:

  • You’ve had previous surgery on the cervix.
  • Your cervix was damaged during a previous difficult birth.
  • You have a malformed cervix or uterus from a birth defect.
  • There was previous trauma to the cervix, such as a D&C (dilation and curettage) from a termination or a miscarriage.
  • You had an incompetent cervix in a previous pregnancy.

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