The Touch vs The Transducer: Can Your Gyno Check Your Cervix In Pregnancy Without an Ultrasound

Technology or the Human Gyno Examiner? The touch of your physician or do you need an ultrasound to figure out what is going on in the case of the health of your cervix in pregnancy? Apparently over 1000 studies have tried to answer the question in one form or an other. Another expert has weighed in with a new series. Dr. Vincenzo Bergehella in a recent editorial in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology got to boast that in the 1990s his mere curiosity regarding measuring cervical lengths in pregnant women now has become a valuable tool and perhaps the next step to solving the problem of prematurity that still plagues maternity wards worldwide. We know that women should have 2.5 cm of cervical length in the middle of the midtrimester (so around 20 weeks say). Cervix that are shorter than this will be found about 10% of the time. By touch about 3/4 of these short cervix will feel just fine. So the touch of your gyno is apparently fooled, at least according to one research examination of this question. Later in pregnancy, touch is as good or even better than ultrasound. If the cervix is completely gone...so completely thinned like at term--a length of 0 mm--it always feels open, so no sophisticated ultrasound is necessary for those women. And the length of 0 mm, nothing to hold those babes back, the delivery rate with in the next few weeks is high. But even if the cervix gets down to 10 mm (short!) only 50% deliver as early as 32 weeks rather than the full term 40. So who gets touched (examined?), do you need to have had symptoms, how about  history of problems that put you at risk, what if you have twins or triplets for instance? Definitely if you have a discharge, bleeding, abdominal pains. The less, well, we're sorting through the other 999 articles to figure it out. And when we do, we'll post some theories!

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