Congenital structural defects of the lower genital tract can cause cervical incompetence, depending on the nature and location of the defect. Such defects are more frequent in women who were exposed to diethylstilbestrol (DES) in utero, a hormone given in the 1950s and 1960s to prevent spontaneous abortion. Another important cause of incompetent cervix is previous cervical trauma such as excessive mechanical dilation during previous obstetric procedures, removal of tissue during previous cervical biopsy, and improperly healed lacerations from previous deliveries. Hormonal factors can also contribute to cervical incompetence, particularly excessive levels of relaxin, which may cause loss of normal cervical resistance to dilation. Relaxin levels may be higher than usual during some multiple gestations, increasing the risk of cervical incompetence in these pregnancies.

Cervical Incompetence

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