Having a historical record of spontaneous premature birth is the most significant risk factor for premature births. Since first-time mothers don’t often have a history of preterm births, it is necessary to use additional techniques to assess their risk of having one.
However, it is essential for healthcare professionals to detect patients who have had cervical surgery, so they may use transvaginal ultrasound to determine the cervical length in those patients. And while measuring a woman’s cervical length during an anatomy ultrasound might be effective to identify women who have a cervix shorter than normal,
What is Cervix?
First, the cervix is indeed the cylindrical uterine part that links your uterus to the vagina. The cervix is closed, lengthy, and hard prior to pregnancy. It is essential to release secretions that enhance sperm migration from the vaginal canal towards the uterus.
What Does Having A Short Cervix During Pregnancy Literally Mean?
Your cervix has two openings: one internal and one exterior, which are also called the internal os and external os. The internal os enters the uterus, whereas the external os enters the vagina. The cervical ossa close during pregnancy to help preserve the foetus in your uterus and thereafter opens once it is time for delivery.
The cervix effectively shortens and softens during pregnancy to enable delivery. However, many women are born with a shorter cervix. Their cervix may become too short too soon as it shortens during their pregnancy, increasing the risk of early labour and premature childbirth. A short cervix is less than 25 millimetres in length, mostly at 18–24 weeks of gestation. Perhaps an ultrasound scan is used to determine the length of your cervix.
Causes of Short Cervix
A short or insufficient cervix during pregnancy is mostly due to several conditions. Your cervix, however, is compressed during pregnancy when the foetus grows and becomes heavy. An extremely short cervix might just open before the baby is ready to be delivered due to pressure from the growing foetus. Although chromosomal abnormalities are the major cause of pregnancy losses in the first trimester, some second-trimester losses are spurred on by an insufficient cervix.
The following are causes of the short cervix:
- Cervical lacerations or uterine disorders during vaginal delivery.
- Cervix trauma caused by a miscarriage or abortion
- Using a loop electrocautery excision technique
- Cervical deformity caused by a congenital abnormality
- Previously, cervix surgery
Symptoms of Short Cervix
The following symptoms often occur between 14 and 20 weeks of pregnancy:
- Abdominal pain
- Braxton-Hicks-like contractions
- Bleeding or spotting in your vagina
- Pelvic pressure
- Alterations in the volume, appearance, and consistency of your vaginal discharge.
Treatment for Short Cervix
However, the risk of a short cervix can be managed, and pregnancy duration can be improved. A short cervix can be treated in the following ways:
1. Cervical Cerclage
A stitch is inserted during a cervical cerclage to keep the cervix closed. An 85–90% success rate for pregnancies is correlated with cerclage. Until 36 to 38 weeks of pregnancy, or until childbirth, the cerclage is left in place. However, an ultrasound reveals that the cervix is opening, and this technique is available to women who have previously experienced one or more preterm births, late miscarriages, or cervical surgery.
The hormone called progesterone is used to prevent contractions and enhance your pregnancy until it is fully developed. The hormone can be administered as a weekly injection, a daily vaginal pill, or vaginal progesterone pessary. This might be prescribed as early as the second trimester.
3. Arabin Pessary
Another treatment to reduce the risk of preterm birth is the Arabin pessary. The silicone ring is placed inside your vagina to keep the cervix closed. Although the implantation of the ring is done by an obstetrician, it is not a surgical process.
You may have a short cervix without even realizing it. It’s also critical to get a short cervix diagnosed so you can get the right treatment. The importance of bed rest should not be underestimated. When you lie down, neither the uterus nor the developing baby can press on the cervix, actively avoiding early cervical dilation.
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