What to expect when diagnosed with a short cervix during pregnancy

Have you been diagnosed with having a short cervix during pregnancy? You’re probably worried and have a gazillion question running through your mind.

I don’t blame you. I’ve been through it myself!

What to expect when diagnosed with a short cervix during pregnancy
I was diagnosed at around 26 weeks and my cervix was measuring 2.5cm. This was considered “borderline” short. It continued to get shorter as my pregnancy progressed.

I wish I would’ve known how it would affect my pregnancy. I exhausted all Google short cervix searches and I worried myself sick!

My husband and I were both very stressed out and our main concern was carrying our baby to term.

I’m grateful for my dream team: MFM specialist and my amazing midwife who reassured me along the way.

By the grace of God I managed to have the unmedicated birth of my dreams at 39 weeks + 2 days.

May 11th, 2017🙌❤️

If you’ve been recently diagnosed with a short cervix, my heart and prayers are with you. I know firsthand how stressful it can be but I know that there is much power in knowledge.

What to expect when diagnosed with a short cervix during pregnancy

MFM specialist referral

Upon diagnosis (via ultrasound), your prenatal care will be assigned to a Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM) specialist. You may also get to keep your primary healthcare provider, like I was able to keep my midwife.

This doctor will work closely with your Obstetrician/Midwife (OB/MW) to provide you and your baby with medical care.

Depending on how early on you are diagnosed with a short cervix, your care may or may not be fully transferred over to a MFM specialist and OB.

Frequent appointments


Being diagnosed with a short cervix during pregnancy will have to visiting your healthcare provider a lot more frequently.

You will definitely have to attend more appointments than the average pregnant woman with no pregnancy-related complications.

The frequency will be dependent upon how far along you are in your pregnancy, and the rate at which your cervix is shortening.

I was diagnosed at 26 weeks and had appointment about every 1.5 weeks until I reached my 3rd trimester.

At that point I was seeing the MFM specialist less frequently until I stopped altogether at 36 weeks.

Frequent appointments also mean more absences from work. Be open with your employer, and make sure that you educate yourself on the laws and workplace policies pertaining to medical leave/absences.

Get in touch your HR rep and find out what your rights are as an employee, and what obligations you have towards your employer.

Frequent vaginal ultrasounds


If you’ve been diagnosed with a short cervix during pregnancy, you can expect your MFM specialist to give you a vaginal ultrasound at each appointment. This is how they will measure and monitor your cervix.

Ultrasounds are widely considered to be safe and are commonly performed on mamas throughout all stages of pregnancy.

The only downside is that they can get fairly uncomfortable as your pregnancy progresses due to all the pressure down there. On the plus side, you get to see the babes a lot more often!

Vaginal Progesterone shots

Once it is found that you have a short cervix, you will be put on vaginal Progesterone injections in an effort to keep you from going into premature labor (I was on daily Crinone 8%, which is vaginal Progesterone).

According to this study, “Vaginal progesterone was associated with a significant reduction in the risk of preterm birth.”

I believe that the power of prayer and these shots is what kept me from delivering prematurely.

Although these injections are expensive, I would not do without them.

The vaginal progesterone cost me about $500 per box which our health insurance covered. Where I reside in Ontario, these are not covered by OHIP.

If you have health insurance, call your provider to find out if this is covered under your plan.

No sex


Say whaaaaaat?

Yes it’s true.

You may be restricted from having sex. Sperm contains a very high amount of prostaglandin which is a hormone-like substance that encourages the ripening of the cervix. You don’t want to risk going into premature labor.

Why the long face? You can explore other ways to get up close and personal in the bedroom. 😉

Bed rest


In the event that you are at risk of delivering prematurely, you may be put on bed rest.

I was fortunate because my care team put me on a modified bed rest and this gave me the opportunity to work from home full-time.

To this day, experts argue the effectiveness of bed rest in relation to the delaying of pre-term labour.

IMO if the weight of the uterus puts pressure on a shortening cervix thus potentially speeding up effacement (shortening), I would think staying off your feet as a preventative measure would be the logical thing to do.

If no reference of bed rest is made by your care team, I would highly suggest you bring it up.

If you work outside of your home, and are advised to go on bed rest, there are a couple of things you will need to consider employment wise.

Here in Ontario, expectant working moms have the option of going on sick leave prior to going on parental and maternity leave.

Steroid shots

In the event that that your cervix keeps shortening and your baby has a high chance of being born prematurely, you will be given a series of 2-4 steroid shots administered intramuscularly in the thigh, arm, or butt, 24hrs apart.

These shots will help quicken the development of babies lungs, improving their chances of survival.

I didn’t experience any side effects from these shots other than some pain and burning at the injection site and a slight limp because I opted to have them in my thigh.

If you go into pre-term labour (before 37 weeks), your MFM Specialist will be present during the birth of your baby, alongside your OB/MW and your Neonatal Pediatrician.

They will all work together to ensure that you and baby get the best care possible.

Until next time,

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Have you recently been diagnosed with a short cervix during pregnancy?
What are your concerns? What has your experience been like?
Comment below!

How having a short cervix affects your pregnancy

Comments

  1. Paola says

    So much great information. I recently lost my son at 21 weeks due to Incompetent Cervix (I disliked this term very much). Prior to the diagnosis I was up and down and left and right, I had no idea I had this so I kept active. I went to the ER for odd discharge and my baby was already in position, I was funneling and cervix was paper thin at that point. I was scheduled for a emergency cerclage but in the process of waiting my water broke. I was induced afterwards and gave birth. My baby was too small to be placed on tubes, this was on September 29, 2019. Although it hurts like nothing else, my husband and I are keeping positive in trying to conceive again later on and being well informed. Thank you for this! God bless you.

  2. Sarah says

    Thank you for sharing this information. At 22 weeks I was told that my cervix is measuring at .7 cm and later at 24 weeks it has shortened to .29 cm and is funneling. I have started on progesterone and received the steroid shot but my doctor has not referred me to a specialist or recommended anything other than pelvic bed rest. She is not seeing me for any additional appointments other than the standard every 4 weeks. I will definitely be looking into finding some better care.

  3. Kiarra says

    I’m 18 weeks and have been told I have as shorten cervix. I haven’t been put on anything as I was just told to go see my doctor about it. I’m stressing out as idk how bad it is. And I just want this pregnancy to go well.

  4. Joanna Simpson says

    I’m currently 24 weeks, I found out @22 weeks that my cervix is shorter then 2 inches, I’m currently on progesterone and I have work restrictions. I can honestly say this by far is the scariest thing I have ever encountered in my life. First time ever being pregnant at 39 and God has blessed my womb after so many years of carving to be a mommy. It’s so hard to enjoy the pregnancy because I have to be super careful. After reading this post I know God has his loving hands on my precious Karisma, because in his words he said that he would never leave me nor forsake me and that if should have faith the size of a muster seed it can and will be done in Jesus mighty name. Thank you for sharing your testimony with me.

  5. Natalie says

    I was diagnosed with a short cervix. I’m 25 weeks and 5 days with a cervix of 2.3. I’m on progesterone capsules that I have to insert “down there”. I’m scared out of my mind. My doctor explained to me that I need to be on bed rest and be careful but didn’t really explain a whole lot to me. I’ve been referred to a specialist. I also have gestational diabetes. I’ve been taken off work but I really was uplifted when I read this. I’m praying he stays in longer. I feel like it’s my fault and that’s discouraging. But this post gave me a glimmer of hope.

    • U says

      I’m praying together with you. I’m 23 weeks and was just diagnosed with 2cm cervix. I’m putting myself on ver very calm schedule only working from my bed. I believe all will be fine but worries doesn’t leave us until all is good, ain’t they.

  6. Okie says

    I am on bed rest as I read this. This has given me a ray of hope. 13wks with a short cervix is the scariest thing. Thanks for the info.

    • Lifeofababe says

      I’m so happy you found hope through this post. It can be very scary especially that early on. Praying you make it veeerrryy far in your pregnancy and that everything goes well with you and your baby. Please keep me updated (if you wish to).

      Thanks for reading xx

  7. Maria says

    Thank you for sharing this. I haven’t been diagnosed with this, but know a friend who has. It’s great to have a space where information can be shared!

  8. Christa says

    This was such an informative post. I’m so glad you were able to have a full-term delivery. Extra stress during pregnancy is scary; a great team of doctors can make the difference.

  9. Joanna Stephens says

    I’m so glad everything worked out for you and your family, but it had to have been an ordeal. It’s always scary when you don’t know anything. I would have been the same way and googled like crazy!

    • Lifeofababe says

      Yes it was a very rough time for us but I am so happy to have made it to term. Going through it gave me a lot of strength and has empowered me to share my story in hopes of helping other women who are going through the same thing. Thanks for reading!

  10. Linda Janssen says

    ohh wow thank goodness it all turned out ok for you. the steroid shots alone would be enough to scare me as I hate them. I had never heard of this till I read this post.. Its very informative. Ohh by the way your baby was born on my birthday of may 11th as well. ..very cool.. 🙂

    • Lifeofababe says

      The steroid shots were so painful, and I hate needles! Lol but I would’ve done anything to ensure my baby was safe. Thanks for reading and how cool is it that you share the same birthday? 🙂

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