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Incompetent Cervix


An incompetent cervix is basically a cervix that is too weak to stay closed during a pregnancy and results in the premature opening of the cervix without labour or contractions . This causes preterm labour and possibly the loss of the baby . Cervical incompetence is estimated to be the cause of 20 - 25 % of all second trimester (pregnancy months 3-6) losses.

Risk Factors

Factors that increase the likelihood of suffering from an incompetent cervix include:

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosis is generally manual or with an ultrasound . If an incompetent cervix is diagnosed, a cerclage (stitching the cervix closed) can be performed at approximately 14-16 weeks. However a cerclage will not be performed if the woman suffers/suffered from any of the following:

  • Hyperirritability of the cervix.
  • Your baby has already died.
  • The cervix is more than 4 cm dilated.
  • Your water is broken .

Although the success rates for a cerclage can be very high (80-90%), particularly when done earlier in a pregnancy, the procedure also carries with it certain risks:

  • Premature rupture of membranes (1-9%).
  • Chorioamnionitis (1-7%). This risk increases as the pregnancy progresses and is at 30% for a cervix that is dilated more than 3 cms.
  • Preterm Labour .
  • Cervical laceration or amputation. This can be at the procedure or at the delivery, from scar tissue that forms on the cervix.
  • Bladder Injury (rare)
  • Maternal haemorrhage.
  • Cervical dystocia.
  • Rupture of the uterus.

The information in this page is presented in summarised form and has been taken from the following source(s) :

1.Pregnancy at

Other HON resources 
   From MedHunt

Incompetent Cervix
    From HONselect
     (def;articles & more)   

Cervix Incompetence

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Cervix Incompetence


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Contact Last modified: Oct 20 2004