What is cervical incompetence?

Cervical incompetence occurs when an abnormally weak cervix painlessly dilates, leading to rupture of the membranes and delivery of a fetus that's usually too small to survive.

How often does cervical incompetence occur, and what are the symptoms?

About 20 percent of miscarriages that occur between 16 and 24 weeks of pregnancy are believed to stem from an incompetent cervix.

Miscarriages caused by cervical incompetence occur with scant warning. Some women have subtle symptoms, such as backaches or heavy vaginal discharge, but there may be little or no bleeding or pain until it's too late.

What causes cervical incompetence?

The problem can result from uterine abnormalities, injuries from previous deliveries, cervical surgery, or a previous D&C (dilation and curettage, or scraping of the tissue inside the uterus), but often the cause in unknown.

What is the treatment for cervical incompetence?

Your physician can usually prevent future losses by placing a stitch in the cervix during your next pregnancy.

The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's condition.

Content courtesy of American Baby