Healthwise

Our Health Library information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Please be advised that this information is made available to assist our patients to learn more about their health. Our providers may not see and/or treat all topics found herein.

Incompetent cervix

An incompetent cervix is a condition that causes the opening of the lower part of the uterus (cervix) to open (dilate) too early during pregnancy. This happens before the pregnancy reaches early term (week 37) and before labor begins.

Normally, the cervix stays tightly closed as the weight of the baby and the contents of the uterus increase. If the cervix is incompetent, the weight of the fetus and amniotic fluid cause it to open (dilate) too early, which may cause preterm labor.

An incompetent cervix may result from:

  • Damage to the cervix after a small section was surgically removed for testing (cone biopsy) or after a loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP).
  • Surgical scraping of the inside of the uterus (dilation and curettage, or D&C).
  • Damage to the cervix from a previous difficult birth.
  • A birth defect of the mother that caused her to have an abnormal cervix.
  • Unknown reasons.

Cerclage, a procedure in which the cervix is sewn shut, has been known to allow pregnancy to continue until it is safe for the baby to be born. But it is rarely done because it is hard to know which women will benefit from the procedure. In rare cases, cerclage can cause infection.

Due to the threat of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus), we are taking precautionary measures to protect our staff and patients. We are implementing a temporary NO VISITOR policy at this time. Only patients or patients and their guardians will be allowed into the office. Please note, this is not to inconvenience anyone! The virus is a very real threat and it is essential that we stay healthy in order to provide needed care for our patients. If you are sick, we ask that you CALL the office to speak with a nurse before you come in. The nurse will provide specific instructions for you. Please DO NOT enter the office if you are sick (upper respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, or flu like symptoms). We are closely monitoring the situation and will update you as circumstances change. Thank you for your understanding!!