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Incompetent Cervix

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jan 5, 2023.


An incompetent cervix

is also called cervical insufficiency. It is a condition that causes your cervix to start opening at 4 to 6 months of pregnancy. The cervix is the bottom part of the uterus. Normally, the cervix remains closed for the full 9 months of pregnancy. An incompetent cervix may begin to thin and widen without any pain or contractions. The amniotic fluid sac may bulge down into the opening of your cervix until it breaks. This can cause a miscarriage or premature delivery of your baby.

Seek immediate care for any of the following:

  • You have fluid draining from your vagina.
  • You have regular contractions.
  • You have any vaginal bleeding.
  • You have foul-smelling discharge coming from your vagina.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have a fever.
  • You have chills, a cough, or feel weak and achy.
  • You have lower abdominal or back pain.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Treatment may include

resting in bed during the last several months of your pregnancy. This may help prevent premature labor or delivery. You may need medicines to prevent or stop labor contractions. A pessary may be placed into your vagina to elevate and support your cervix. You may instead need a procedure called cervical cerclage to stitch your cervix closed.

Do not smoke:

If you smoke, it is never too late to quit. Smoking can cause premature labor or delivery. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you need help quitting.

Follow up with your healthcare provider or obstetrician as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.