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What is an Incompetent Cervix?

Only about 1% of women are affected by an incompetent cervix, but this condition accounts for over 25% of all miscarriages occurring during the second trimester. If you’re expecting or planning to become pregnant, you may worry about cervical incompetence and whether you’re at risk. 

At Darin Swainston, MD. FACOG, our board-certified OB/GYN providers, Dr. Darin Swainston and Dr. Daniel Richards, are dedicated to helping women in Las Vegas, Nevada, understand what an incompetent cervix is and their risk factors. 

For women diagnosed with an incompetent cervix, our team provides minimally invasive abdominal cerclage to treat the condition and help expecting women reach full term. Take a moment to learn what you need to know about this uncommon but devastating condition.  

What is an incompetent cervix? 

Your cervix is located at the top of your vagina at the opening to your uterus. In women who aren’t pregnant, the cervix is closed and firm. When you get pregnant, it helps hold your growing baby in place until it’s time for delivery.

However, the cervix does change along with your uterus as your pregnancy progresses. To prepare for labor and childbirth, over the course of your pregnancy the cervix softens slowly. As you approach your due date, it lengthens, then opens to prepare for your baby.  

If you have an incompetent cervix, also called cervical insufficiency, your cervical can’t support the increased pressure placed upon it by the growing baby. As a consequence, it opens too soon, resulting in preterm birth or miscarriage, typically during your second trimester. 

How do I know if I have an incompetent cervix?

For most women with an incompetent cervix, the diagnosis comes at the same time as an early labor and delivery. You can’t prevent the development of an incompetent cervix, but knowing your risk factors can reduce your risk of miscarriage by enabling you to get early treatment. 

The following factors increase your risk for having an incompetent cervix:

Knowing your risk factors and seeking early prenatal visits with Dr. Richards or Dr. Swainston can save your baby’s health by helping you avoid miscarriage or preterm birth. 

Is there help for incompetent cervix?

If Dr. Swainston or Dr. Richards diagnoses you as high risk for cervical incompetence, you’ll be closely monitored during the first and second trimesters of your pregnancy using ultrasound technology. 

If you’ve had a previous miscarriage due to an incompetent cervix, your provider at Darin Swainston MD. FACOG can perform a transabdominal cerclage (TAC). This minimally invasive procedure involves the placement of a woven band made of synthetic material high on your cervix. 

This specialized band provides added support to your cervix, helping keep it closed for the duration of your pregnancy and preventing miscarriage or preterm birth. You can have the procedure before you get pregnant or during the first trimester and rest easy knowing TAC has a success rate of over 99% in preventing pregnancy loss.   

If you want to learn more about incompetent cervix and whether you’re at risk, contact Dr. Swainston and Dr. Richards by calling 702-357-5741 or book an appointment at our Las Vegas office online now.  

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