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Can a weak cervix lead to preterm labour?

Q: I had a premature delivery at 27 weeks and my child survived only for 6 days. I had a low lying placenta but it got cured to a great extent. In the 5th month, I contracted vaginal infection for which I was given a drug to insert into the vagina. It was an 8-day-course. I went for a checkup the following month, by then my mild infection turned severe, for which I was again put on drugs. After three days I started getting labour pains and I delivered. The doctor was also shocked as to how this happened. I was told that this happened due to a weak cervix. The doctor said that my cervix was long enough but the fibres were weak, which I thought was a very lame excuse. I am very shattered after the death of my child and cannot get over it. What caused a pre-term delivery? When is the next pregnancy advisable? Can a weak cervix be diagnosed before hand?

A:A weak cervix can give rise to preterm labour. Also, infection of the vagina and cervix can ascend into the uterus and give rise to preterm labour. There are many more causes of preterm labour. I suggest you get a hysterogram done after you start normal menses. The timing of this special x-ray should be just before your menses - so you must make sure you are not pregnant again, before the x-ray. For preventing a pregnancy, the best method is abstaining from sex in that cycle; it is also important you do not have sex and take antibiotics before and after the x-ray to prevent infection. This x-ray will give information regarding any congenital malformation in shape of the uterus and of the weak cervix (incompetent os). After all tests are done, you can attempt a pregnancy - preferably 6 months later. However, even if no cause was found for the preterm labour this time, you must be under the strict supervision of an obstetrician - because there are slightly higher than normal chances of a repeat preterm labor. I am giving you this information so that you take adequate precautions as will be advised by your obstetrician when you are pregnant again.

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