When a woman’s cervix is “eager” (that’s what I call it, but you will not hear these terms, instead you will hear: frail, weak, or incompetent cervix) the baby is at risk of being born prematurely because the cervix shortens or opens too early. Before we get into the specifics I want you to pay attention to the words used, by your doctor, you and everyone around you. Frail or incompetent are terms that if used, or thought about will set you up either for failure, or at the least for a feeling of inadequacy, not good-enoughness. If you instead think of it as you cervix being ‘eager ‘; eager to have the baby, eager to welcome him/or her into this world, etc. this shift in the way you see your body and talk about your situation will create a different relationship between you and a part of your body which is very important for the success and the well being of both you and your child. It is OK to ask you doctor to refer to it as eager, make it into a little private joke, tell your practitioner how important words are to you for your serenity and see the changes not only in your mind and state of being, but also in your body. At the end of this article you will find information about hypnosis and this state of eagerness and how it can help. First some technical details, since the more you understand and are familiar with it, the more you can feel in charge of the situation versus feeling like this is yet another thing happening to you.
What is an Eager Cervix?
Normally, during pregnancy, the cervix remains closed until you go into labor. At that point, the cervix begins to dilate in order to allow your baby to pass through the birth canal and be delivered.
As your baby grows, increased amounts of pressure are placed onto your cervix. In women with an eager cervix, the additional pressure causes the cervix to slowly begin dilating at about the 13th week of pregnancy, just as you are finishing your first trimester. This gradual thinning and widening of the cervix occurs without any contractions or labor, though, so you are often not aware that it is happening. While your cervix weakens, the amniotic membranes that surround your baby begin to protrude down into the cervical opening.
Causes for an Eager Cervix
Women who have one or more of the factors below are at an increased risk of having an incompetent cervix:
- Previous cervical surgery
- DES exposure
- Trauma or damage to the cervix (maybe caused by a previous difficult birth or a D&C)
- Abnormally shaped uterus or cervix (congenital defect)
Getting a Diagnosis
Since there are often no physical signs of an incompetent cervix, it is not always possible to have the problem diagnosed before a miscarriage occurs. However, women who have had multiple miscarriages in their second or third trimester or who suspect they may be at risk are more likely to have their health care provider monitor them for an eager cervix.
Determining whether a woman has an eager cervix is fairly simply. This condition can be detected either through a manual pelvic exam or through an ultrasound. An ultrasound can measure both the opening and length of your cervix, while a pelvic exam will determine whether your cervix is dilating. However, your cervix may begin to dilate prematurely for reasons other than an eager cervix. Therefore, if it is found that your cervix is beginning to open, your past history of miscarriages will also be taken into account.
In order to prevent premature labor, a woman’s doctor may recommend a cervical cerclage. A cerclage is used to prevent these early changes in a woman’s cervix, thus preventing premature labor. The treatment consists of a stitch being inserted into and around the cervix early in the pregnancy, usually between weeks 12–14, and then removed towards the end of the pregnancy when the greatest risk of miscarriage has passed. About 1% of pregnant women have a shortened cervix. Some doctors may wish to place certain restrictions on sexual and other activities, but don’t stop kissing, hugging and fondling for sex comes in all different variations and penetration is just one way. Aerobic exercise is not permitted, although walking and isometric exercise is sometimes allowed.
Cervical Cerclage Risks
While cerclage is a very helpful procedure, with 80% to 90% of women going on to give birth to healthy babies, it is associated with some risks. These risks include:
- Rupture of the uterus or bladder
- Maternal hemorrhage
- Cervical laceration
- Preterm labor
- Premature rupture of the membranes
However, it is important to remember that these complications are rare.
Cervical circolage does not always require bed rest, or total bed rest, and there are many other reason during your pregnancy that you might be required to go into total or partial bed rest.
Your doctor may also recommend bed rest if she suspects that your baby isn’t growing properly (intrauterine growth restriction), or if you have placenta previa (when your placenta is lying unusually low in your uterus, next to or covering your cervix). Also, you may be put on bed rest if you have mild gestational hypertension or preeclampsia. About 25% of women are put on bed rest at some point in their pregnancy. There are not many conclusive studies that prove without a doubt that bed rest is the best solution to any and all of these symptoms. More scientific studies are needed. In the meantime, experts disagree on when and how to prescribe bed rest. Many say that until there’s good evidence to the contrary, bed rest is worth it. Others disagree stating that bed rest itself can have negative effects and that women should not be subjected to it until we know that it does more good than harm. These caregivers tend to believe that the use of complete bed rest should be curtailed, and that some women would be better off just taking it easy — restricting their activity level, cutting back on work, avoiding heavy lifting or prolonged standing, and resting for a few hours each day. If you have been put on bed rest it can get pretty unnerving and discouraging and you are going to need the tools in this book more than ever. Aside from the obvious psychological downfalls of bed rest, restlessness, boredom and even depression, there is financial hardship, especially if your income is important in your family budget, the physical malaise of not moving insomnia, changes in your metabolism, bone loss, and aches and pains. As always everyone has an opinion. You have chosen your caregiver carefully and you now fully trust in his/her opinion. If she has suggested bed rest your choices are: listen and learn how to make the best of it; or get a second opinion and then listen and learn how to make the best of it!
Hypnosis can help a great deal with slowing premature uterine activities and keeping the cervix closed. Private session from an experienced hypnotherapist can helped many expectant moms to enjoy a full term pregnancy, even with a history of several pre-term births. Your mind controls your body completely and hypnosis, can create for you wonderful physical changes that positively affect your pregnancy and birth !
Painless Childbirth is a Scientific Reality *
A study conducted by CL Pasero and R Britt (August 1998). Managing Pain During Labor, published in the American Journal of Nursing 98:10-11, reports that indeed a painless childbirth is a reality for as many as 45,000 WOMEN EACH YEAR IN AMERICA. One of the universal laws states: if one person can do it, it can be done by others.
Millions of women all over the world experience a natural, drug-free, and painless childbirth. You can too. If you would like to join this growing number, this is what you have to do. Find out more