What Are Cervical Scans in Pregnancy Used For?
If your Midwife or Obstetrician has referred you for a Cervical Scan, then you might have some questions about what this test involves and why it’s needed. Keep reading to find out why the Cervical Length Scan is so important.
What is a Cervical Scan in Pregnancy?
The Cervical Scan is an ultrasound to look at the cervix during pregnancy
. In order to get a close look at your cervix, we will need to perform a trans-vaginal scan. We will check the appearance of the cervix and measure its length. If the cervix is shorter than expected for the length of your pregnancy, then you may have a weakened or weakened cervix.
What is Cervical Incompetence?
The cervix is the passage that connects your womb to the vagina. The cervix undergoes some important changes during pregnancy. It starts to change its size and position right at the beginning of your pregnancy. Throughout most of the pregnancy, it should be closed and rigid in order to seal in the amniotic fluid. However, towards the end of your pregnancy the cervix must shorten and open up in preparation for the birth. If this happens too early then it is called cervical weakness and it can put you at risk of a premature birth and other issues. Approximately 1% of pregnancies will be affected by cervical weakness.
Signs That You Need a Cervical Scan
You may need to have a Cervical Length Scan if you:
- Are losing amniotic fluid
- Experienced cervical weakness or a premature birth during previous pregnancies
- Have had surgery on your cervix or there are other structural issues with it
- Have certain medical conditions such as a connective tissue disorder that could affect the collagen in your cervix
Treatments for Cervical Weakness
If the Cervical Length Scan shows that your cervix is shorter than expected, then you will need to be monitored carefully during the rest of your pregnancy. You will also require additional monitoring during any future pregnancies.
Since there is a higher risk of premature birth with cervical incompetence, you will need to be aware of the signs that you’re going in to labour early. These might include period-like pains, loss of fluid, bleeding, or losing the mucus plug. Your antenatal care provider may also perform vaginal swabs to check for signs that your body may be getting ready to give birth.
Sometimes it is necessary to perform a procedure known as a transvaginal surgical stitch to strengthen the cervix. Other treatment options include progesterone pessaries and a silicon ring known as the Arabian pessary, which can support the cervix.
Treatment isn’t always required for cervical weakness. The wait and watch approach is often all that is required. As long as we monitor your condition carefully using ultrasound, there’s a good chance that you can enjoy a healthy pregnancy and birth without further intervention. It’s just important to keep checking so that we know if action is required.