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Home > Patient & Family Resources > Health Library > Cervical Insufficiency
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Cervical insufficiency means that the cervix can't stay tightly closed during the second trimester of pregnancy. Instead, the cervix opens (dilates) with little or no pain, usually before 24 weeks. This can lead to miscarriage or birth of a premature baby.
You may also hear this condition called a weak cervix or an incompetent cervix. A weak cervix is different from preterm labor. Labor causes regular, painful contractions of the uterus.
It's not clear what causes cervical insufficiency. But it has been linked to:
Cervical insufficiency usually allows the cervix to open without pain. But some women do have mild symptoms.
If you have this condition, you may have:
If you have any of these symptoms, call your doctor right away. Symptoms sometimes start days or weeks before the cervix dilates.
You have cervical insufficiency when your cervix has opened with little or no pain during the second trimester. But it is hard to know you have it before the cervix opens, when treatment might help keep the cervix closed. If you have had it in a past pregnancy, your doctor will want to check you often.
To diagnose cervical insufficiency early, your doctor can:
If your cervix is showing signs of change in your second trimester, your treatment choices may include:
Your doctor will check your cervix often. He or she may use ultrasound, pelvic exams, or both.
For some women, cervical cerclage helps hold the cervix closed with a few stitches. The stitches are later taken out before labor starts.
This hormone, given as a shot or inserted into the vagina daily, sometimes prevents preterm labor.
Current as of:
June 16, 2021
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Kathleen Romito MD - Family MedicineElizabeth T. Russo MD - Internal MedicineKirtly Jones MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Current as of: June 16, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Elizabeth T. Russo MD - Internal Medicine & Kirtly Jones MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
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