Various factors can increase your risk of an incompetent cervix. For example:

  • Congenital conditions. Uterine abnormalities and genetic disorders affecting a fibrous type of protein that makes up your body's connective tissues (collagen) might cause an incompetent cervix. Exposure to diethylstilbestrol (DES), a synthetic form of the hormone estrogen, before birth also has been linked to cervical insufficiency.
  • Cervical trauma. If you experienced a cervical tear during a previous labor and delivery, you could have an incompetent cervix. Other surgical procedures involving the cervix, such as those to deal with an abnormal Pap test, may cause damage that contributes to cervical insufficiency.
  • Dilation and curettage (D&C). This procedure is used to diagnose or treat various uterine conditions — such as heavy bleeding — or to clear the uterine lining after a miscarriage or abortion. On rare occasions it may cause structural damage to the cervix.
March 12, 2015

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