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Cervical Incompetence


Cervical Incompetence (CI) is a condition in which the cervix of a pregnant woman begins to open (dilate) and thin (efface) before the pregnancy has reached term. "Incompetence" refers to the weakness of the muscle of the cervix, which can not be voluntarily controlled. CI is a cause of miscarriage and preterm birth in the second and third trimesters.

In CI, the cervix dilates and effaces without pain or uterine contractions because of the growing pressure of the pregnant uterus. If these changes are not halted, rupture of the membranes and premature delivery can result.

CI occurs in only 1-2% of all pregnancies, however it is the cause of 20-25% of miscarriages in the second trimester as well as 10% of preterm deliveries.

The goal of intervention is the successful prevention of premature delivery. This allows the fetus time to develop as fully as possible, thus preventing the multitude of complications associated with prematurity.

Treatment consists mainly of a procedure called cerclage, along with bedrest and possibly medications to prevent contractions and premature delivery. Even with cerclage and additional therapies, the risk of preterm birth is high (about 25%).

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The Medifocus Guide on Cervical Incompetence provides answers to the following important questions and medical issues:

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This MediFocus Guide contains an extensive listing of citations and abstracts of recent journal articles that have been published about this condition in trustworthy medical journals. This is the same type of information that is available to physicians and other health care professionals. A partial selection of journal articles that are abstracted in this MediFocus Guide includes:

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