In many cases a simple ultrasound can reveal signs of an incompetent cervix before complications arise. Unfortunately, not all medical professionals take the time and necessary precautions to help women navigate their pregnancy to its healthy conclusion.
If you suffered from complications associated with an undiagnosed incompetent cervix, you may have legal options. Contact Stern Law, PLLC by calling (800) 462-5772 for a free consultation.
What is the treatment for an incompetent cervix?
The most common treatment for an incompetent cervix is known as a cerclage, which involves suturing the cervix to prevent it from continuing to prematurely dilate. This procedure is normally done at the beginning stages of the second trimester or, as soon as the issue is discovered. Cerclages performed during the third trimester may also be appropriate on an emergency basis to facilitate a full term pregnancy.
Stitches used in the event of premature labor are often used in tandem with a cerclage.
Risks of cerclage
While cerclage is considered to be a relatively safe procedure for both a mother and her unborn child, there are certain complications can that arise. These include:
- Premature rupture of membranes
- Cervical lacerations
- Pre-term labor
- Maternal bleeding; in severe cases, hemorrhaging can occur
- Rupture of the bladder or uterus
- Premature water breakage
Oftentimes, a woman may be able to return home within a few hours of having a cerclage. However, she may be kept in the hospital to monitor for signs of premature labor. A doctor may also recommend that she remain inactive and on bed rest for the next few days after the procedure to ensure for proper healing of the sutured area. A woman should speak with her doctor immediately if she experiences the following symptoms of a failing or failed cerclage:
- Back pain
- Amniotic fluid leakage
- Vaginal discharge
Unfortunately, not every woman is able to have a cerclage. Specifically, if her water has already broken, a cerclage will not successfully slow the progression of labor. Moreover, a cerclage is also ineffective at preventing pre-term labor if a woman’s cervix is dilated more than four centimeters, or if the cervix is extremely irritated.
Under these circumstances, a doctor will likely prescribe bed rest in the Trendelenburg position, where a woman lies on an inverted slope with her feet elevated above her head. This helps keep the weight and pressure off of the weakened cervix to facilitate a full term, or more progressed pregnancy.
For women who are diagnosed with an incompetent cervix, it is important they see their doctor regularly to monitor the integrity of the cervix as her pregnancy progresses. It is also recommended that she refrain from any strenuous activity that can put undue pressure on her uterus and cervix. If a woman was previously diagnosed with an incompetent cervix or if she exhibits other risk factors associated with the condition, it is important that she informs her doctor so immediate and preventative measures can be taken.
If you believe medical staff failed to diagnose or provide adequate treatment for an incompetent cervix and you experienced pregnancy or birth complications, please call Stern Law, PLLC at (800) 462-5772 for a free consultation.