Can I Ever Have a Baby With Incompetent Cervix?

QUESTION

Dear Midwife,
I just had a second trimester miscarriage. This was my first baby and the doctor came in and told me that I had an incompetent cervix. Then I read the article in this site that sounded similar to my case. I'm just wondering if I'm going to be able to conceive a healthy baby. What can I do? I'm very confused.

ANSWER

I am SO sorry for your loss. Those of us who care for pregnant women know that these things happen occasionally, but it is never easy for anyone who is involved, but especially for the parents. I would encourage you to change your language a little bit. It sounds like you DID conceive a healthy baby, which is more than some couples are able to do.

The issue for you is whether you can carry that baby to term. What you are being told is that your chances might be improved if you get something called a cerclage put in at about 14 weeks. This is a stitch that holds your cervix together until the baby is full term. Then it is removed and you can labor normally. I don't know for sure that it would be required in your individual case, but it does sound like there is reason for hope. Good luck!

-- Cynthia, CNM

Cynthia Flynn

Cynthia Flynn, CNM. PhD, is the General Director of the Family Health and Birth Center which provides prenatal, birth, postnatal, gynecological and primary health care to underserved women and their families in Washington, D.C. Recently Cynthia served as Associate Professor of Nursing at Seattle University. There she not only taught, but remained in full scope clinical midwifery practice at Valley Medical Center where she cared for pregnant and birthing women, and practices well-woman gynecology, family planning, and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases.

Cynthia founded Columbia Women's Clinic and Birth Center, where she took care of pregnant women and infants up to two weeks of age and attended both birth center and hospital births. Before Cynthia earned her CNM, she worked as a registered nurse in labor and delivery and postpartum and is a certified Doula and Doula trainer.