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The Short Cervix Club

(542 Posts)
Pizdets Mon 10-Jun-13 19:25:31

Given the high number of threads started in 'pregnancy' on short/incompetent cervixes of late, I thought I'd have a crack at starting a club which we can join to share how we're getting on and pool the information we've been given which hopefully can also reassure or inform other ladies coming on here and worried about the state of their cervixes.

I'll kick off with a bit about my own story:

I'm currently 24+4, due 26th September. I had a scan at the prem clinic at Queen Charlotte's in London who measured my cervix as 2.3/2.4cm and advised a stitch (they do this for anyone who measures under 2.5cm). I had the stitch put in at 15 weeks with a spinal block and so far so good - I'm walking the dog, doing pregnancy yoga, still fairly active and no problems or twinges at all (so far!).

Please feel free to share your experiences, ask questions or update, it's great to hear from other people going through the same worry and so reassuring to know if things are going well!

Piz

dizzy77 Tue 11-Jun-13 21:38:44

My goodness. Hi ladies wanted to check in as I was a member of the short cervix club, with DS2 who is now 7 days old and was born at 39+5.

They routinely scan cervixesin my area at the 11-13, 19-21 and 30-33 wk scans. Mine was found to be 13mm at the 21wk scan after normal measurements earlier, and I was told we had a 25% chance of pre-term birth. They didn't recommend a stitch as Ds1 was born at term but I was put on progesterone pessaries and fortnightly scans. My cervix reduced to 11mm but then stabilised there. I was advised to "do what I think best" re activity: my fetal medicine consultant implied continuing withlife (avoiding heavy lifting and anything strenuous) changed outcomes. That was as far as the official advice went.

I happen to know one of the obstetric consultants at the hospital through a hobby who'd offered me her professional ear if I needed her. She explained (unofficially) that in her role she sees all sorts of cervixes, and after a vaginal delivery no two are the same, and whilst its anecdote not data, she sees a lot of people in her role diagnosed with short cervixes who come in for inductions when they go beyond 40+10. She helped me understand what would and wouldn't help activity-wise - my life is quite hectic, I walk and work out a lot, and basically I cut out anything discretionary but with a toddler and an office-based but frenetic part time job there was only so far I could go. Re sex, she suggested best use a condom and "go easy" as the risk was minor but related to the prostaglandin in semen (for the same reasons its enouraged to dislodge an overdue baby).

I hope this goes some way to reassuring some people. I found as the weeks ticked by and the baby became more viable I relaxed, but also less willing to risk over exerting myself. The first few weeks were the most terrifying (I worried every time I sneezed!), as we got more info from the scans and things stabilised it became easier.

Good luck with your pregnancies. I send cervix closing vibes.

dizzy77 Tue 11-Jun-13 21:57:06

Just reading some of the posts again, my friendly consultant said the measurements are very user dependent, eg on the amount of pressure applied with the wand, so they can vary - the sequence of mine was something like 13mm, 11mm, 12mm, 11mm etc.

I did notice a lot of "uterine activity" - painful tightenings not unlike cramps but longer lasting. I called the delivery suite as advised if i was worried i was going into labour the first few times. I had my first big one, pre-scan of doom, at work at 19 weeks and was terrified it was the end of my pg. when I told the sonographers about this they all looked at each other pointedly, when I relaid this to one of the triage midwives they were much more breezy. The advice was always to take a couple of paracetamol and rest, take a warm bath if possible, and every time this eased them. When I got used to this I stopped avoiding orgasm grin.

My experience was other HCPs were much less informed about this and if I explained I had a shortened cervix they immediately adopted their high risk pregnancy stance and were supportive of what I wanted to do. This meant my GP was willing to sign me off - I first reduced my hours as I did want to continue working, until it got too much and pelvic pain kicked in at 32 wks. Work were supportive too but sent me to the Occupational Health nurse because of the amount of sick I had to take, and she was willing to recommend I work entirely from home. This would have driven me nuts (as was I was only in the office one day a week) but meant that work were willing to continue to pay me until mat leave started.

Gingerbreadpixie Tue 11-Jun-13 22:02:25

Alexandra6 - hmm, your boss sounds a bit like mine. I'm a T1 diabetic too so two lots of "high risk" for pregnancy. I was made to feel guilty for all the appointments. Needless to say I went on mat leave early.

I too have had lots of stomach jabs and twinges. All felt cervical. Ive had a few internals and swabs for infection after going into antenatal walk-in. Theres never been anything worrying and doc thought it was constipation in my case. I have SPD too so always get pressure and pains low down. It takes a while to work out what's "normal" for you. Best to monitor any pains though and report to MW if it gets concerning.

With regards to sex, I had a massive bleed at 12 weeks the same day DH and I last got intimate. All was fine with bubba but I've been too terrified since, even though the bleed site in the womb has gone now. Maybe after week 30 we'll feel more confident.

Wow, looking back at that I have had quite a nerve-shredding time of it. I am starting to enjoy pg now though, honest!

Gingerbreadpixie Tue 11-Jun-13 22:18:53

Hi Dizzy. Thanks for the info. It's good to hear your DS was born at term and all was well x

Pizdets Tue 11-Jun-13 22:22:25

Dizzy77, thanks so much for sharing your news and huge congratulations on your new arrival! Really interesting that your cervix was so short but they still didn't advise the stitch, just goes to show how varied the advice is!

I do occasionally get a bit of a 'pulling' sensation across the bottom of my bump when I'm out walking but I'm never sure if this it cervical or just normal pregnancy growing pains, I sit down for 5 mins once they start then generally finish the walk more slowly (am used to stomping around with the dog so I often forget myself and go too fast).

Can I ask what labour was like? Was it faster or were any parts of it more sudden than you expected? Did they comment on your cervix at all during labour?

Gingerbread, I know what you mean. We lost our first baby (not due to the cervix, she was very ill) at 18 weeks, so for the first few weeks I was having appointments with the centre for fetal medicine, the prem clinic and the usual midwife appointments, feels like I've really been through the wringer already! But the last few weeks have felt much happier and more settled.

Thanks again to everyone for sharing news and stories, really helps! Piz

Gingerbreadpixie Tue 11-Jun-13 22:27:26

Sorry for your previous loss Piz. Sending you a hug and good wishes for this pg. This really is a very helpful and supportive thread. Well done for starting it x

dizzy77 Wed 12-Jun-13 05:21:41

Thanks for the congratulations. Whilst I shared info on my cervix no one had the chance to comment during labour as i arrived fully dilated and DS2 was out within 20mins of arrival at the delivery suite! This was faster than I expected but it seems not that unusual for second babies and I thinkin all honesty I'd been in very slow "labour" for a week or more, I'd had a couple of false alarms.

Piz, those pullings sound familiar, I'd get something like that when I'd had an active day and yes, rest eased them. I think there is a lot that I would put down to the cervix but was probably in the normal growing/stretching range that I'd not paid as much attention to in my last pg as I didn't have this extra risk hanging over me.

I did not mention I had 2x shots of steroids at 24 weeks to give the baby's lungs a better chance of inflating properly if he arrived early. I had the choice of thigh or buttock and is recommend buttock.

Alexandra6 Wed 12-Jun-13 10:21:15

Hi dizzy congrats on your brilliant news smile and what a good story to share with the cervix club! Just one thing - I got a bit confused about what the doctor's advice was re activity and what you actually did, activity wise. Do you mind giving some detail please? Oh and also, did you get any advice about flying/going on holiday? Only asking as we booked two weeks in Spain before we knew about the cervix issues, and we're due to fly the weekend after this one. I do have cervix scans booked for next week to see how it's looking just before I go (I'll be 18-20 weeks then).

Thanks again for your story and advice.

Alexandra6 Wed 12-Jun-13 10:23:47

Oh and by the way, I wasn't recommended to try progesterone by other of my consultants - one said he doesn't have enough experience of prescribing that and hasn't seen strong enough evidence it works (he also mentioned unpleasant side effects), the other I'm going to ask when I see him next Tues. Seems strange so many other people are prescribed this.

Alexandra6 Wed 12-Jun-13 10:24:07

Sorry meant either of my consultants, not other!

sw25 Wed 12-Jun-13 10:37:01

Hi again ladies. Alexandra6 I've been exactly the same with weird twinges. I've had what feels like period pain on and off for last few weeks and even ended up going in to labour ward at 11pm last week to be checked out. They were very nice, looked at cervix with speculum and checked for contractions etc. Dismissed pains as stretching/growing pains but they don't feel muscular if that makes sense. Mind you my belly is getting much bigger and feels very uncomfortable most nights. I'm also quite constipated so that could have something to do with it.

gingerbreadpixie yes, our situations sound similar, although i wasnt granted the FF testing despite asking about it. My consultants don't want to do any more cervical length scans as they feel it may just increase my anxiety. I'd quite like to have at least one more between now (25 weeks) and 28 weeks when at least if the baby was born, he'd stand a good chance of survival. Are you going to push for anymore scans or put your trust in your consultant?

starlite12 Wed 12-Jun-13 10:42:28

Hi ladies, I wanted to know if any of you havr had any experience of a abdominal stitch. Any replies would be welcome...

starlite12 Wed 12-Jun-13 10:45:35

I've had two previous late miscarriages last year in march and October, it was a very difficult time for me. I had two cervical stitches and they both failed. Now the consultant is requesting that I have a abdominal stitch.

Alexandra6 Wed 12-Jun-13 10:52:53

Oh starlite that must have been so hard to go through. I haven't had one but have heard of this from my obsessive googling, it's more unusual but I get the feeling pretty sturdy. I think you can only have c section birth after but that's obviously not a problem. Would you have it done pre-pregnancy or early stages? What is your cervix like - what measurements? I'm going to keep my fingers firmly crossed for you x

dizzy77 Wed 12-Jun-13 10:59:37

Sorry have re-read what i wrote and appreciate it was confusing. posting one handed doesn't help!

Re activity, the official advice was "do what you think best" hmm. I didn't really get anything helpful from the FM consultant when I asked about my workout regime and commute: I swim a couple of times a week with a club and she seemed to imply there was no reason not to continue, although when I spoke to the friendy O consultant who knows what that involves she suggested a few laps at a public session might not do any harm but I'd probably want to lay off the coached sessions. I was able to and did continue a normal life: before this I'd say take DS out in the buggy and walk half an hour to a group but after I would take the car (like a normal person!). That said, when I told the FM consultant I'd packed up work (she was familiar with my 90min journey) she seemed relieved.

I think the jury is out on the progesterone so I'm not surprised the advice is mixed. The fm consultant was keen to put the stabilisation of my cervix down to it and I was happy to use it as it seemed harmless enough (I did a bit of research), I understand its used as a muscle relaxant in this capacity to reduce cervical/uterine activity. I'm told it also relaxes the other muscles in the area and can lead to constipation: I did not experience this bit my diet is pretty good and I've been lucky as I know many experience this in pg anyway. The greasy discharge was less fun, I just got into the pant liner habit.

Kelly1814 Wed 12-Jun-13 14:06:19

gosh so much different advice! on the progesterone, my consultant rescribed without thought, said benefits far outweighed side effects. as i've been taking tit since 7 weeks i can't really remember any side effects.

i've been having and still have daily braxton hicks. naturally i worry am ging into labour every time i feel one. they do scare me but trying to stay relaxed.

since the stitch it has to be deposited up my bottom (hideous) so that is in a way a hoirrble side effect! the things we have to do!

i still haven't told work and am 6 months next week. cat will have to come out of the (fat) bag next week ithink!

legallyblond Wed 12-Jun-13 17:24:40

Hi all, just had a really positive cervical length scan! It was my first cervical scan post op and..... All has fully healed, cervix is fully closed all the way to the top and has lengthened to 39mm (from 21mm)!! Also, the surgeon "rearranged" me internally (yanked my cervix forward to be able to clamp it) and it is now easier to access (MUCH!!! Last time was not comfortable!) and generally looking good! Bleeding has also totally stopped.

I'm being scanned again in 2 weeks (plus another growth scan on the babies - because they're twins, they get scanned for growth every 4 weeks).

Big phew,for now!

Pizdets Wed 12-Jun-13 18:21:15

Wow, so pleased to see everyone using the thread and getting useful info out of it!

Starlite, I'm so sorry to hear about your losses. I'm afraid I don't know much about the trans-abdominal stitch but if you search 'stitch' and 'cerclage' on here I know it turns up some quite interesting stuff. Can you talk to your consultant about it too?

Dizzy, I'm amazed they told you it was OK to swim, it's one of the few things I've been emphatically told not to do! Why on earth there aren't any standard guidelines about this kind of thing I don't know. Particularly when I went in for the op, I'm sure lack of information made the stress twice as bad.

Legallyblond, fab news about the cervix growing! Bet you're feeling very relieved. When I went for my first scan after the stitch mine had grown by about half too, they said something about the stitch taking the pressure off the cervix?? Either way it's a good thing to hear.

All good here, am shattered after running this event for the last 2 days so spent most of this afternoon in bed. Luckily the dog is fairly forgiving given the horrible weather outside!

Does anyone else worry when the baby kicks downwards? I've had some hard jobs to the cervix recently and am worried he's going to do some damage!

Gingerbreadpixie Wed 12-Jun-13 19:01:06

Sw25 - as I'm 29+1 now I won't push for any more cervix scans. I could have shown up at the prem clinic walk-in service had I had any problems though after i got discharged. They said to come in if I had any problems.I do have growth scans related to my T1 diabetes though and I've had some lovely sonographers who'll have a quick check of my cervix if I ask nicely. Even the lady who did my anomaly scan checked my cervix for me on request!

Legallyblond - good news on your cervical measurement. That's very encouraging, I'm pleased for you smile

legallyblond Wed 12-Jun-13 19:04:32

I have also been told categorically no:
- sex (not just no semen);
- swimming;
- very long periods on my feet; and
- very heavy lifting.

I was told to "take it easy" for a week post op.

Piz, the consultant said he often sees lengthening after a successful op but can't categorically say why - it just seems to help with general strengthening.

He was really pleased I'd had the stitch... He said in his view, the stakes are so high, that any chance of staving off prem labour is worth it..

I am not having any progesterone, also not having the ff(?) testing,just fortnightly monitoring. Treatment certainly differs!!

Gingerbreadpixie Wed 12-Jun-13 19:21:15

Hello Starlite - sorry for your losses. I don't know very much about the abdominal stitch either I'm afraid. But I just wanted to day welcome to the thread and I hope you can find some answers x

Hollygolightly77 Thu 13-Jun-13 00:18:20

Wish me luck ladies sad

went into EPU out of hours as had a feeling of pressure all day, and after a manual exam I have been admitted to get scanned in the morning- potentially I will need a stitch ...

So scared and worried, cervix appears to be closed but will not know more until the morning xx

Pizdets Thu 13-Jun-13 07:16:21

Oh Holly, how scary for you! At least you're in the right place, and you know from the rest of us in here that getting a stitch isn't too awful!

Will be thinking of you, keep us updated when you can!

Piz

legallyblond Thu 13-Jun-13 07:27:27

Good luck Holly. I know how scary it is .... I already feel I know my local labour ward far too well! As Piz says, stitch may be just the right thing and, having had it last week (at 23 weeks), although its scary and a "proper" op (I recommend general anaesthetic) seems to do the trick more often than not! Hugs x x

Alexandra6 Thu 13-Jun-13 07:29:11

Thank god you went in and are being checked and seen to holly and also it's really good the cervix is closed. Your measurements sound similar but were actually longer than mine (you're further along than me - aren't you about 19 weeks now or have I got that wrong?) I didn't realise you can actually feel pressure as a warning sign. Lots and lots of luck and please let us know how you get on today and if you need a stitch or not xx

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