While rare, some women can develop cervical weakness during pregnancy. The team of expert maternal-fetal medicine specialists at TLC Perinatal PA offer cervical assessments at their offices in Silver Spring, Hagerstown, and Germantown, Maryland, to identify your risk and provide treatment to protect your pregnancy. Once referred by your obstetrician, call TLC Perinatal PA or schedule an appointment online today to learn more about cervical assessment.
A cervical assessment is a test to measure the length and strength of your cervix during pregnancy. It’s rare, but the pressure of pregnancy can weaken your cervix and increase your risk of miscarriage or premature delivery. You should mention any procedures you’ve had on your cervix or history of second-term miscarriage to your perinatologist during an early prenatal appointment.
If you have a history of painless cervical dilation and second-trimester deliveries or miscarriage, your risk for a recurrence increases. Similarly, cervical shortening or advanced cervical dilation before your 24th week of pregnancy without pain, vaginal bleeding, or your water breaking, and a history of cervical infections indicate a risk for an incompetent – weak – cervix.
A cervical assessment allows your doctor to examine your cervix for signs of weakness and then provide precautionary treatments to reduce your risk of preterm labor or pregnancy loss.
A cervical assessment generally includes a transvaginal ultrasound and a pelvic exam.
A transvaginal ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of your internal organs. However, instead of gliding an ultrasound transducer over your abdomen, your doctor introduces a smaller transducer wand into your vagina to get clear images of your cervix.
Additionally, your doctor may perform a digital or speculum exam to see if your amniotic sac has begun to push through your cervix, a condition called prolapse.
If your doctor finds signs of inflammation during your cervical assessment, they could recommend additional testing, such as blood tests or amniocentesis, to identify or rule out an infection of your amniotic sac, cervix, or uterus.
If you have a weak or incompetent cervix, your MFM specialist can prescribe progesterone supplements and more frequent ultrasounds to monitor your cervix and pregnancy. As your pregnancy advances, you might have to go on bed rest to protect your baby.
If you’re less than 24 weeks pregnant, your doctor may also discuss the utility of placing a cervical cerclage. During cervical cerclage, your doctor sutures your cervix to provide additional support and strength to help it stay closed.
If you have a history of cervical weakness or preterm cervical dilation, have your obstetricians refer you to TLC Perinatal PA. Call or make an appointment online.