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What Most Don't Realize About Cervical Incompetence

What Most Don't Realize About Cervical Incompetence

Your cervix plays an important part in childbearing. Located at the top of the vagina at the opening of your uterus, the cervix is closed and firm before pregnancy. 

Once you’re pregnant, the cervix helps hold your growing baby in place. It then slowly softens until delivery, when it lengthens then opens. 

For some women, the cervix doesn’t work the way it should. This is called an incompetent, or insufficient, cervix. 

Instead of keeping the baby in place, the pressure from the baby causes the cervix to open too soon, leading to preterm birth or miscarriage. Complications from cervical incompetence usually occur during your second trimester. 

Our compassionate and board-certified OB/GYN providers at Darin Swainston MD. FACOG in Las Vegas, Nevada offer minimally invasive abdominal cerclage to women diagnosed with cervical incompetence to treat the condition. 

Since this isn’t a topic discussed all that often, we’re making women aware of this condition and how it could impact your pregnancy. Keep reading to learn about the top five things most people don’t know about cervical incompetence. 

1. Cervical incompetence significantly increases your risk of miscarriage

Cervical incompetence is rare, only affecting about 1% of women. However, this condition is the cause of over 25% of miscarriages in the second trimester. For this reason, it’s important to understand if you’re at risk for this condition. If you are pregnant or planning to be and are worried about an incompetent cervix, schedule an appointment with an OB/GYN . 

2. You may have factors that increase your risk for cervical incompetence

Knowing your risk factors and getting screened early is essential for mitigating complications due to cervical incompetence. Though the exact cause of cervical incompetence isn’t fully understood, the presence of certain risk factors increases the likelihood of developing this condition, which may include: 

Monitoring risk factors and assessing cervical length through a transvaginal ultrasound, to assess cervical length during pregnancy helps manage greater complications. By detecting cervical changes early on, appropriate interventions can be implemented.

3. Most women don't learn they have an incompetent cervix until they're pregnant

Unfortunately, most women are diagnosed with an incompetent cervix along with early labor and delivery. The development of an incompetent cervix cannot be prevented. However, knowing your risk factors can help reduce your risk of miscarriage by getting early treatment. 

Being aware of your risk factors and having early prenatal visits with one of our doctors at Darin Swainston, MD. FACOG is essential to saving your baby’s health and avoiding miscarriage or preterm birth.

4. Having an incompetent cervix can affect your mental health 

The emotional toll of cervical incompetence might not be the first thing that comes to mind, but the psychological impact of this condition can be immense. Pregnancy loss of preterm birth due to cervical incompetence can be devastating for individuals and couples. 

There may also be fear and anxiety about future pregnancies, as individuals may worry about the risk of recurrent cervical insufficiency. This leads to higher levels of stress and uncertainty, impacting the emotional well-being of individuals and their relationships. 

At Darin Swainston, MD. FACOG, our compassionate providers take care to consider your emotional needs and ensure you have information on available resources for emotional support if you need it. 

5. Effective treatments for an incompetent cervix exist

If your provider at Darin Swainston MD. FACOG diagnoses you as high risk for cervical incompetence, you will be monitored closely using ultrasound technology during the first and second trimesters of your pregnancy. 

If cervical incompetence led to a previous miscarriage, your provider can perform a transabdominal cerclage (TAC). A woven band made from synthetic material is placed high on your cervix through a minimally invasive procedure, providing added support. 

This band helps keep your cervix closed for the duration of your pregnancy and prevents miscarriage or preterm birth. TAC has a success rate of over 99% in preventing pregnancy loss, and you can get the procedure before you get pregnant or during the first trimester. 

Ready to learn more about cervical incompetence and whether you’re at risk? Schedule an appointment online or over the phone with a provider at Darin Swainston, MD. FACOG in Las Vegas today. 


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