Cramping and Cervical Changes At 28 Weeks?

QUESTION

Dear Midwife,
I am 28 weeks pregnant and have been having some pains in the abdomen and some tightening. I went to see my OB but he was on vacation so the midwife checked me. She told me that I had been having contractions. She also said that my cervix was soft and the baby's head was low. This is my first pregnancy and I've asked some other people who have been pregnant and they told me that their cervix didn't get soft until right before they delivered. Is this something that I need to be overly concerned about?

ANSWER

Not necessarily. Like other parts of the anatomy, cervixes vary. The issue is whether it is changing, and if it isn't, things are probably ok. Some suggestions for things to do to minimize cramping include making sure you have no infections, either bladder or vaginal (I assume the CNM did this) and making sure you stay well hydrated (3 quarts of water a day at this stage of pregnancy -- more if it's hot outside). 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.