Cervix Thickness During Pregnancy

The cervix is the neck of the uterus. It is the lower, narrow portion of the uterus that links the uterus to the upper portion of the vagina. The cervix stretches at the time of each menstrual period enabling the shedding of the endometrium – the uterine lining. At childbirth, the cervix plays a vital role yet again. It dilates up to 10 centimeters in diameter to allow the baby to pass out with ease, through the vaginal opening.

Thin Cervix And Pregnancy

A thin cervix and pregnancy are not an ideal combination. The minimum...

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...cervix thickness during pregnancy should be approximately 3 centimeters. The human body adapts to the needs of the developing baby and thickens the cervix to ensure that it is strong enough to successfully bear the strain of holding the growing baby within the womb. As the pregnancy draws closer to the end of the nine month term, the cervix starts thinning to prepare for delivery. However, due to no apparent reason, in some women, the cervix begins to thin or shorten much before the completion of the pregnancy term. The thinning of the cervix indicates that the lower portion of the uterus is preparing itself for delivery. A thin cervix dilates with much ease to facilitate delivery. Hence, women with a thin cervix during pregnancy are at a greater risk of experiencing preterm labor. The chances of preterm deliveries increase with the decreasing thickness of the cervix. However, not all women with a thin cervix experience preterm labor. Many women with a thin cervix go on to have absolutely normal pregnancies, carrying the baby to full term. Read more on friable cervix

A majority of the women with thin or short cervixes are advised minimal amount of exertion and are usually put onto complete bed rest for the success of the pregnancy. A thin cervix in early pregnancy definitely increases the risk of miscarriages and most doctors would recommend stitching the mouth of the cervix as a method of preventing early labor. This method may not have a hundred percent guarantee of preventing preterm labor but it is an accepted means of reducing the chances of dilation and effacing before time. In spite of the inconvenience, most women with short cervixes opt for the procedure as they choose to be cautious rather than face the guilt of preterm labor. It should also be noted that this method is used as a precautionary method and no doctor has the ability to ensure that the pregnancy will continue to term.

The cervix is the entrance to your uterus and it plays a very important role in pregnancy. There are several different changes that the cervix goes through and each of the changes could significant.

What is a short cervix during pregnancy?

During one of your prenatal checkups, you doctor may diagnose that you have a short cervix during pregnancy after conducting an ultrasound. Not everyone is aware of what a short cervix means. What your doctor is trying to tell you is that your cervix is shorter than what is considered normal for that stage of pregnancy. On average, a woman’s cervix is between 1½ inches and 2 inches in thickness during pregnancy. However, if you have a short cervix during pregnancy, your cervix may be barely half an inch or so in thickness. The factors that cause a short cervix during pregnancy are not quite clear, but this problem could increase the risks of a preterm delivery. The shorter your cervix is during pregnancy, the higher the chances of a preterm delivery.

Of course, having a short cervix does not exactly guarantee an early labor. It is simply an indication that you may start labor earlier than expected. Several women with a short cervix have had a full-term pregnancy; some may have also made it past the due date. There is no way to determine if you will have a full term pregnancy or not, just by looking at position and the thickness of your cervix. It all depends on your baby and several other factors that influence labor and childbirth. Nevertheless, if you know that you have a short cervix, it is best for you and your health care provider to be prepared for an early labor or delivery.

Sensitive cervix during pregnancy

There are several changes that take place in the cervix during the course of pregnancy. These changes occur in response to the surge in hormones, as well as the increased flow of blood to the cervical area. Because of this most women have a sensitive cervix during pregnancy. This is one of the reasons why you may experience slight bleeding after having sexual intercourse, or after going through an internal pelvic exam. A sensitive cervix is not exactly a cause for concern during pregnancy. However, never ignore bleeding during pregnancy, even if it occurs because of a sensitive cervix. Make sure that you speak to your doctor about the bleeding and try to go for a checkup as soon as possible, just to make sure that the baby is alright.

Soft cervix during pregnancy

Before you get pregnant, there are several changes that your cervix goes through every month. During ovulation, the cervix becomes soft and in case you get pregnant during this phase, the cervix continues to remain soft. At some point during your pregnancy, it is possible for your cervix to become a bit thicker. However, as you approach your due date, it is natural for your cervix to become softer, so that it can dilate and allow the baby to pass through the birthing canal. Your cervix may become softer many weeks before the due date. In case your cervix does not soften towards the third trimester of the pregnancy, you could face problems during childbirth. This is because a thicker cervix does not dilate properly.

During the last few weeks of pregnancy your health care provider will need to check the cervix regularly, in order to determine if you are ready to deliver the baby or not. As your due date nears, your cervix begins to stretch and get thinner, in preparation of childbirth and labor. The thinner the cervix is, the easier it is for dilation to occur. Therefore, as you approach your due date, your doctor may advise you on ways to thin cervix during pregnancy. This may include going for a walk each day, for about an hour or so.

Weak cervix during pregnancy

A weak cervix during pregnancy or cervical incompetence can be a major cause for concern, as it could lead to severe complications like ruptured membranes, cervical irritation, or perhaps even a miscarriage. As your pregnancy progresses, the growth of your baby applies additional pressure on to the cervix, causing it to get weaker. Fortunately, this condition is not very common and only about 1% of the pregnancies are affected by it. There are several factors that could increase the risks of a weak cervix during pregnancy, some of which include:

  • Cervical damage during difficult childbirth
  • Undergoing prior cervical surgery
  • Malformation in the cervix or the uterus, since birth
  • Trauma to the cervix because of procedures like dilation and curettage in the past
  • History of abortions or miscarriages

Unfortunately, doctors do not usually check for cervical incompetence during routine checkups and therefore, this condition is not detected until it is too late.

It is essential that you do not try to check the position or thickness of your cervix on your own. You could end up hurting yourself, or you can also increase the risks of an infection. For any such observations, it is important for you to consult a doctor.

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Thin Cervix During Pregnancy
Thin Cervix During Pregnancy
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