You can't prevent an incompetent cervix — but there's much you can do to promote a healthy, full-term pregnancy. For example:
- Seek regular prenatal care. Prenatal visits can help your health care provider monitor your health and your baby's health. Mention any signs or symptoms that concern you, even if they seem silly or unimportant. Regular dental checkups during pregnancy are important too.
- Eat a healthy diet. During pregnancy, you'll need more folic acid, calcium, iron and other essential nutrients. A daily prenatal vitamin — ideally starting a few months before conception — can help fill any dietary gaps.
- Gain weight wisely. Gaining the right amount of weight can support your baby's health. A weight gain of 25 to 35 pounds (about 11 to 16 kilograms) is often recommended for women who have a healthy weight before pregnancy.
- Avoid risky substances. If you smoke, quit. Alcohol and illegal drugs are off-limits, too. In addition, medications of any type — even those available over-the-counter — deserve caution. Get your health care provider's OK before taking any medications or supplements.
If you have an incompetent cervix during one pregnacy, you're at risk of premature birth or pregnancy loss in later pregnancies. If you're considering getting pregnant again, talk with your health care provider to understand the risks and what you can do to promote a healthy pregnancy.
March 12, 2015
- Berghella V, et al. Cervical insufficiency. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Dec. 14, 2014.
- Gabbe SG, et al. Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2012. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Dec. 14, 2014.
- Papadakis MA, ed., et al. Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment 2015. 54th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2015. http://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com/book.aspx?bookID=1019. Accessed Dec. 14, 2014.
- Cunningham FG, et al. Williams Obstetrics. 24th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2014. http://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com/book.aspx?bookid=1057. Accessed Dec. 14, 2014.
- Cervical insufficiency. The Merck Manual Professional Edition. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/gynecology_and_obstetrics/abnormalities_of_pregnancy/cervical_insufficiency.html#v1073896. Accessed Dec. 14, 2014.
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) Committee on Practice Bulletins — Obstetrics. ACOG Practice Bulletin No. 142: Cerclage for the management of cervical insufficiency. Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2014;123:372.
- What can I do to promote a healthy pregnancy? National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. http://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/preconceptioncare/conditioninfo/pages/healthy-pregnancy.aspx. Accessed Dec. 18, 2014.
- Harms RW (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Dec. 19, 2014.
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