Cervical Shortening during Pregnancy – a concern

Posted on: July 16, 2008

In this week’s blog, I’ll concentrate on a concern that was brought to my attention two weeks ago. One of my moms, in her 34th week of pregnancy, was diagnosed with shortening of the cervix. Mom and dad were obviously concerned regarding what possible implication it might have, going into these final weeks of pregnancy.

The diagnosis was made during routine examination by her obstetrician. Mom herself did not have any overt symptoms, and therefore we were all surprised by the diagnosis, especially since her pregnancy so far had been without any cause for concern. She had also been very good with practicing all her birth fitness exercises/ breathing/ relaxation etc., and had expressed a strong desire for un-medicated birth.

Once the diagnosis was made, mom was put on complete bed-rest for 1 week. She also started to have some uterine contractions, and was put on medication to stop the premature contractions. Once this eased, mom’s condition improved, and over the next week, was allowed out of bed for light activities and walking around the house. However, at her next weekly check up, her cervix showed some shortening again. As I write this, she has been advised bed rest for the next couple of weeks, in order to get her safely to her 38 week mark, at which point there would be minimal risk to mom and baby, even if labor were to start. I anticipate that with patient waiting, mom (and dad) will be able to go through with their plan for a natural childbirth!

This particular situation was peculiar, because normally cervical shortening is diagnosed (with or without symptoms) in the second trimester. At that stage of pregnancy, it becomes important to prevent premature birth, and medical/surgical intervention becomes necessary. However, towards the end of the third trimester, the cervix starts to shorten and to thin out, in order to prepare itself for childbirth. In our mom’s case, she was not in the early second trimester category, where she would need surgical intervention. On the other hand, it would have been too early if she were to go into labor at 34 weeks. So, in her case, monitoring her condition with the help of bed-rest/decreased activities was the best option

In my next post I will talk more elaborately about Cervical Shortening, how to detect it and how to deal with it. So stay tuned……

Keep sending those comments and questions…


1 Response to "Cervical Shortening during Pregnancy – a concern"

hello…actually i had a vaginal scan at 6w1d n cervix was 3.6 cm n in 9w0d it became 3.2 cm m worried ..i asked my doc.. she scolded me like anythng….i hv already suffered a miscarriage last year…pls help

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