Important!

I f you have been diagnosed with an insufficient cervix during a previous pregnancy, you are at increased risk for experiencing this condition in future pregnancies. Be sure to tell your doctor about your history of an insufficient cervix.

Diagnosing an insufficient cervix is not easy, and doctors are still seeking more reliable methods. At the present time, your doctor relies upon:

  • A medical history that covers:
    • exposure to DES while in your mother's womb
    • past cone biopsy
    • mechanical dilation of the cervix
    • tears during previous births
    • cervical incompetence or cervical dilation with minimal uterine contractions in a previous pregnancy
    • preterm bleeding, infection, or ruptured membranes in a previous pregnancy
    • short labors in a previous pregnancy
    • progressively earlier deliveries with each pregnancy
    • past preterm delivery or second trimester miscarriage without cause;
  • A pelvic exam, showing cervical trauma from a past surgery or pregnancy, a cervix that's more than 2 cm dilated during the second trimester, or effacement of the cervix; and
  • Cervical ultrasound, which can show the length of the cervix and whether funneling is present. In funneling, the internal os begins to open and the membranes fall into the cervical canal.

It's important to realize that not all women who have a short cervix will have cervical insufficiency.