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.
  • 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 — and make it easier to shed the extra pounds after delivery. 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. If you're overweight before you conceive, you might need to gain less weight. If you're carrying twins or triplets, you might need to gain more weight. Work with your health care provider to determine what's right for you.
  • 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, you're at risk of premature birth or pregnancy loss in subsequent pregnancies. If you're considering getting pregnant again, work with your health care provider to understand the risks and what you can do to promote a healthy pregnancy.

Mar. 23, 2012