Incompetent Cervix: Diagnosis

An incompetent cervix isn’t typically diagnosed until the second or third trimester, after a loss has occurred. However, if you have any of the risk factors or feel you are experiencing one or more of the symptoms of IC, don’t hesitate to speak to your doctor about being checked. Knowledge is power!

According to Dr. James Sumners, not all methods of diagnosis are created equal.

Doctors may perform a digital (finger) exam of the cervix, but this method isn’t thorough enough to determine diagnosis because it doesn’t take into account the top of the cervix.

Another way to examine the cervix is with a transabdominal ultrasound. When examining the cervix through a transabdominal ultrasound, the maternal bladder compresses the upper cervix when full, making the cervix looked closed when it isn’t. Although the maternal bladder can provide an acoustic window that enhances the ultrasound picture, this is unlikely unless the cervix is already widely open.

The best way to examine the cervix is by transvaginal ultrasound. This method is the best way to visualize the cervix, and with proper technique, the ultrasound can provide an accurate picture of the intern os and the entire cervical canal.