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    Find out what other moms-to-be are asking. Join in the discussion with Henci Goer, whose expertise is determining what the research tells us best promotes safe, healthy birth. If you would like to contact Henci outside of the Ask Henci forum, send an email to

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    Nov 10

    Labor Dystocia increases risk for incompetent cervix in future pregnancies???

    Archived User

    Hi Henci,


    So, I was recently at a birth at a major medical center,  my doula client spent a long time at 7 cm, (around 12 hours, 8 unmedicated) and as the Chief Resident was discussing options (AROM, Pit, C/S, etc) she cited the "danger" of being at a certain dilation for an extended period of time...( and I think she meant/stated transition dilation....I can't recall clearly due to no my lack of sleep at the birth)

    Anyway, she told my client that if her cervix remained unchanged at 7 cm, her risk of incompetent cervix would go up in future pregnancies.

    I have never heard this (but, clearly, I don't know everything...)

    Can you steer me to anything that supports her statement.  I gave her my card and asked for resources, if she had time, but don't expect to get anything from her...

    Does a stalled labor (particularly in the later transiton phase, put a woman at greater risk for IC in future pregnancies?


    Henci Goer

    I am not aware of research that supports this ob's statement. I will say in dispute of it that research shows that most women who experience stalled labors that end in cesareans will go on to have vaginal births in subsequent pregnancies if they are allowed to labor, not uncommonly to bigger babies than they supposedly could not birth the first time. Another thing that makes me doubtful that this resident knew what she was talking about is calling the difficulty "incompetent cervix." (Don't you love the biases of obstetric terminology and how medical model thinking instills fear and doubt--just what a woman in the midst of a difficult labor needs? :-p) Insofar as I have ever heard, "incompetent cervix" means exactly the opposite: a cervix that opens too early in pregnancy. Let us know if you hear back, but as you say, I don't think either of us should hold our breath.

    -- Henci

    All Times America/New_York

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