Shortening cervix at 31 weeks (possible TMI)

I'm just worried and looking for some advice/support. This may be a TMI post, so don't read if you're squeamish about pregnancy/"female" things.

Well, I had an ultrasound last week to check on a previously low-lying placenta. The good news was that it had moved up and baby is doing well, so that was a relief. The bad news is that they also found that my cervix had shortened to 2.2 cm (no dilation though) at a little over 31 weeks.

My midwife has advised me to reduce activity (no exercise, lifting, etc) and follow a modified bed rest plan, so I've pretty much been taking it REALLY easy the past few days and am going to continue doing so for at least the next 4-5 weeks. I'm 32 weeks today. My husband is supportive and has pretty much taken over everything around the house, even though he's working full time. He's great, but I feel so useless and bored!

Anyone have any experience with this? Any advice to get through this would be appreciated. TIA.
High Priestess JessMess, follower of the Goddess of the Coiling Way and Confiscator of Concoctions in the Order of the Curly Crusaders

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What is with all of these blank posts?


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Just wanted to say I realize it's a site issue - I know you aren't posting blank responses on purpose. I didn't mean to come off as annoyed at you in my earlier post. :/


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Looks like my post is never going to show itself, so I'll try to re-create it.

I would try not to worry too much, as long as you are not also experiencing a lot of contractions. We do not routinely scan all pregnant women's cervixes at 32 weeks, so we don't really know what is normal and what is not. It could be very normal for *you* to have a 2.2 cm cervix at 32 weeks of a normal pregnancy. If you're having symptoms of labor, that's another story, but just a shortening cervix wouldn't alarm me.

Bedrest...well, it doesn't work. We've been routinely prescribing it for over 30 years, and study after study have failed to prove it does anything to reduce the rate of premature labor or premature birth. We still have the same rates of premature births we had over 30 years ago. I do not know why healthcare providers continue to prescribe it...other than that it has become "standard of care" and they're more likely to be sued if they don't conform to standard of care. Bedrest isn't without risks (muscle wasting, depression, etc.), so don't feel you need to go overboard with it, because if your baby is trying to be born prematurely, there's not a whole hell of a lot you can do to prevent it. I think you'll be fine. The overwhelming majority of pregnancies are fine and normal.

And, great news on the low-lying placenta!
Looks like my post is never going to show itself, so I'll try to re-create it.

I would try not to worry too much, as long as you are not also experiencing a lot of contractions. We do not routinely scan all pregnant women's cervixes at 32 weeks, so we don't really know what is normal and what is not. It could be very normal for *you* to have a 2.2 cm cervix at 32 weeks of a normal pregnancy. If you're having symptoms of labor, that's another story, but just a shortening cervix wouldn't alarm me.

Bedrest...well, it doesn't work. We've been routinely prescribing it for over 30 years, and study after study have failed to prove it does anything to reduce the rate of premature labor or premature birth. We still have the same rates of premature births we had over 30 years ago. I do not know why healthcare providers continue to prescribe it...other than that it has become "standard of care" and they're more likely to be sued if they don't conform to standard of care. Bedrest isn't without risks (muscle wasting, depression, etc.), so don't feel you need to go overboard with it, because if your baby is trying to be born prematurely, there's not a whole hell of a lot you can do to prevent it. I think you'll be fine. The overwhelming majority of pregnancies are fine and normal.

And, great news on the low-lying placenta!
Originally Posted by RedCatWaves
Thanks, RCW. I really appreciate you posting (again). My midwife didn't immediately say "bed rest," I asked about it after having read about it online. She basically said no heavy lifting and reduce exercise, which is fine. I'm not bedridden certainly, just not going on long hilly, walks with dogs and doing my usual baking (business-related, so lots of heavy flour, ingredients, etc). Hubs is carrying the laundry basket and making dinner and such, so while I'm not thrilled about piling more on him, I think it's probably reasonable, even if it's a little overly cautious.

The lack of pre-term labor symptoms is good, you're right. My worry there is that I don't know if/when I'm having Braxton Hicks. I'm not feeling anything that feels like... well, anything! I feel baby moving a ton, but nothing that really feels like squeezing or cramping or anything like that.

I've started to pack my birth bag, so I'm preparing early, but also hoping that it'll just sit around for another 2 months.
Let's try this again.........

I was 23 weeks when the doc discovered my cervix was shortening. I apparently was having contractions but didn't know it. I stayed in the hospital the first month, placed on meds to stop constractions and then at home bedrest for 2 more months......made it all the way to 37 1/2 weeks when my little bundle of joy was delivered full-term and healthy !

Your situation is not as severe as mine was but I wanted you to know that even in worse cases, it can work out just fine. Take it easy and follow your doc's orders to the letter.

HTH and wishing well!
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Just an update...I had my 32 week midwife appointment today and all looks good. Baby is measuring ahead (eep!) and is in a really good position (LOA). She said in the absence of other symptoms, I really shouldn't worry about the shortening cervix. She still advised to lay off any serious weight baring exercise, no heavy lifting and try to relax, but otherwise I'm fine to more or less do whatever. She suggested I start swimming, but we don't really have access to a pool. I'm going to look into adult swim times at the local pool, but I'm not wild about public pools. I might check it out and see though. We'll see.

Thanks for sharing your experience CSaint. I really appreciate it.
Yay! Glad everything is okay. I really didn't have anything else to offer earlier, or now for that matter, but I was thinking about you and your baby.
Thanks SarahMarie! How are you doing? I think you're due just a little bit after me, right?
I am due on August 18. Tomorrow makes 31 weeks. Doing great other than the high blood pressure at the office that I mentioned in another post. Sometimes 9 weeks seems like forever away and other times it seems like it's just around the corner!
The same thing happened to me. They noted a low lying placenta at my 18 week u/s and recommended a follow up at week 29 at which point they told me my cervix was shortening (I don't remember what the measurement was at that point). They sent me to the hospital to monitor for contractions (I wasn't) and gave me steroid shots in case I went into pre term labor and basically scared the pants off me. The OB on staff at the hospital (my OB was on vacation) put me on modified bed rest and I started going for cervix checks weekly. I spent the first week taking it easy but not really doing bedrest and at my next check my cervix had continued to shorten. When I saw my OB she basically said what RCW said, that bedrest is useless but that I should continue to take it easy and that she figured I would have the baby mid December (I was due Jan 6).

At 36 weeks they told me I was 2 cm dilated and would go any day. Then I was 3 cm. Then 4. And NOTHING, not a single contraction, NOTHING. I walked around 4 cm dilated for almost two weeks. Every week my OB would be all oh, make an appt for next week but I won't see you here, har har har. All through this they kept asking if I was having contractions and I wasn't.

I ended up going 41 weeks and when I went into labor I went from my very first contraction to having them 4 minutes apart in 1/2 an hour and when I got to the hospital I was 7 cm dilated.
I haven't got the slightest idea how to change people, but I still keep a long list of prospective candidates just in case I should ever figure it out.
The same thing happened to me. They noted a low lying placenta at my 18 week u/s and recommended a follow up at week 29 at which point they told me my cervix was shortening (I don't remember what the measurement was at that point). They sent me to the hospital to monitor for contractions (I wasn't) and gave me steroid shots in case I went into pre term labor and basically scared the pants off me. The OB on staff at the hospital (my OB was on vacation) put me on modified bed rest and I started going for cervix checks weekly. I spent the first week taking it easy but not really doing bedrest and at my next check my cervix had continued to shorten. When I saw my OB she basically said what RCW said, that bedrest is useless but that I should continue to take it easy and that she figured I would have the baby mid December (I was due Jan 6).

At 36 weeks they told me I was 2 cm dilated and would go any day. Then I was 3 cm. Then 4. And NOTHING, not a single contraction, NOTHING. I walked around 4 cm dilated for almost two weeks. Every week my OB would be all oh, make an appt for next week but I won't see you here, har har har. All through this they kept asking if I was having contractions and I wasn't.

I ended up going 41 weeks and when I went into labor I went from my very first contraction to having them 4 minutes apart in 1/2 an hour and when I got to the hospital I was 7 cm dilated.
Originally Posted by rileyb
Wow - thanks for sharing your experience! Amazing similarities. So you went to the hospital within half an hour of your contractions starting? How long did you labor for at the hospital?


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I get high BP at doctors' offices too, SarahMarie. They've kept a really close eye on me and I've monitored at home too. It's kind of a pain, but all seems fine. I'm glad you're doing well overall. I'm due Aug 6th, so we're really close!


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Wow - thanks for sharing your experience! Amazing similarities. So you went to the hospital within half an hour of your contractions starting? How long did you labor for at the hospital?


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Originally Posted by Like.Australia
Earlier that day I had thought I was leaking fluid and had called the OB but since I had an appt the next morning they told me not to come in unless my water broke or regular contractions started. I had had my membranes stripped two days earlier to try to start labor and my contractions started at 11:30pm and the first two were 6-7 mins apart or so and then they started coming every 5 minutes - then every 4 and I was like, umm I should probably go to the hospital. My OB had mentioned that since I was so dilated that labor might move fast so I figured I'd rather go to the hospital and get sent home than to have a baby in a car by the side of the road. By the time we got everything together and got out of the house and got to the hospital and checked in, etc. it was close to 1am. I had originally planned on not doing any meds but chose to do the epidural at 3am and had her at 10:30am after pushing for 15 mins. I probably would have had her much earlier if I hadn't chosen the epidural but all in all I had a good experience.

I anticipate that for my next my cervix will shorten early too but I'm not too worried.
I haven't got the slightest idea how to change people, but I still keep a long list of prospective candidates just in case I should ever figure it out.

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