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Thursday, June 3, 2010

When the Cervix opens prematurely, take a look!

This may or may not be a case of premature cervical opening, but it's a case of the cervix dilated so that we see membranes bulging out of the cervix. If this happens at term, we're excited, labor is progressing. If it happens remote from term, it can be a problem. It can mean that the cervix is weak, and there are treatments that can save the baby, but action would have to be taken promptly. Cervical incompetence can come on very suddenly in pregnancy, with the only sign being subtle. There are some surgeries and some genetic predispositions that might make you more at risk. Prior to pregnancy make the cervix a discussion with your gyno! Women who become pregnant and have risk factors for this condition may need ultrasounds with cervical length measurements more frequently to measure the cervix and to check it's shape as well. If the cervix is getting short, or changing it's shape, or showing signs of opening, there are possible treatments, such as the use of vaginal progesterone, bed rest, stopping sex, and the use of pessaries. Whether any of these treatments would work for you ,that has to be discussed with your personal gyno.


  1. maybe a strong pelvic floor could prevent this?

    1. The pelvic floor keeps the cervix in but has nothing to do with dilation.

    2. Cervical tissue is made up of a combination of muscle and collagen, as are the slings that make up the pelvic floor. Although it would be postulated that weaknesses in one area mean weaknesses in other areas, this has not actually been confirmed by research. But it is generally true that the pelvic muscles contain the uterus and it's cervix, but then have nothing directly to do with the cervix opening and dilating.

  2. I actually have a unicornuate uterus (half of a normal size) and my first baby was born prematurely due to my cervix opening early, by baby's membranes leaking and eventually rupturing. We didn't know prior to her birth about my anomaly but suffice it to say we have had so many more cervical measurements in subsequent pregnancies!

  3. The uterus is normally egg shaped, and it is formed in fetal life from tissue that merges from each side of the pelvis. Thus, some women can be born with various different shapes and sizes. Women with an abnormal shap may indeed also have an abnormal cervix and be at risk for preterm labor and preterm cervical incompetance. Measuring the length and shape of the cervix during pregnancy can improve detection of increased risk and newly we have also begun to use vaginal progesterone to treat some of these conditions. Thanks for writing and good luck in your future pregnancies.

  4. Neat picture. Imagine the weight of a whole baby on that little muscle. That's a lot of responsibility!


Thank you for your comments and questions. This blog is not intended to replace medical care, but is informational only. We hope you will become a follower or visit Womens Health Practice. We offer a variety of unique services including MonaLisa Touch, Coolsculpting, Labiaplasty, and Gynecoloigic Clinical Research Trials. For more information on menopause see http://www.amazon.com/Menopause-Make-Peace-Change

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