During pregnancy, the female reproductive system undergoes a lot of change. The uterus and the cervix are the main organs which prepare the body for pregnancy and childbirth. The cervix, in particular undergoes rapid changes during the last trimester. Medical practitioners often examine the texture of the cervix to estimate the time of labor. A soft, ripened cervix indicates an onset of labor. While these changes are perfectly normal, some women may be plagued by the problem of an inflamed cervix or cervicitis during pregnancy.
Causes of an Inflamed Cervix During Pregnancy
In medical terms, an inflamed cervix refers to a condition in which the cervix appears rough. An inflamed cervix often resembles ground beef. During pregnancy, the cervix often becomes softer than usual. This makes it susceptible to bleeding even when it is irritated slightly. This explains why pregnant women often experience bleeding after sexual intercourse or pelvic exams. While cervical bleeding is normal to some extent, an inflamed cervix may pose certain risks to mother and baby.
More often than not, an inflamed cervix is due to some kind of infection. Women who have a history of Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs), bladder infections, bacterial vaginosis, yeast infections etc., are likely to have an inflamed cervix. Besides, Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) such as chlamydia, syphilis, HPV, and gonorrhea also contribute to cervical inflammation. However, most women who are diagnosed with an inflamed cervix during their pregnancies, may have undergone treatment for these diseases and infections long before their pregnancies. Even a history of yeast infections or vaginitis during your teen years may make you susceptible to an inflamed cervix when you get pregnant.
Many a time certain actions on part of women make them prone to this condition. Douching is one such method which introduces bacteria and various other microbes into the sensitive cervical region. Besides, insertion of tampons is another causative action for this condition. If you have been doing any of these acts before your pregnancy you might have introduced infection into your cervix then itself. However, the delicate nature of the cervix during pregnancy causes the symptoms to become more evident. Women fitted with Intra Uterine Devices (IUDs) are also likely to develop an inflamed cervix over time.
Diagnosis and Treatment
As evident from the above information, there might be several causes for an inflamed cervix. Hence, a series of tests have to be performed to ascertain the exact cause of the condition, so that appropriate treatment can be initiated. Your doctor will take into account your medical history for bacterial or other infections. He may also perform tests such as a pap smear to detect abnormal cell growth.
Incidence of STDs can also be confirmed through these tests. After zeroing in on the cause of cervicitis, your doctor may then prescribe appropriate medications. Bacterial infections can be treated with antibiotics while HPVs and genital herpes may need stronger anti viral drugs. STDs such as chlamydia, gonorrhea can also be treated successfully without affecting the baby.
If you are in your final trimester, your doctor may want to keep a close watch on your cervix. All the infections must be treated while the baby is well protected in the uterus. If the infection is present during childbirth, your baby may easily contract it while passing through the birth canal. In case your cervix shows signs of thinning, your doctor may start preparing you for preterm labor. In such case, care has to be taken to not spread the infection to the baby.
Thus, an inflamed cervix during pregnancy is potentially harmful to mother as well as baby, if not treated on time. Hence, if you experience abnormal bleeding or cervical pain during pregnancy, seek medical intervention on an urgent basis. Hope you found this article helpful.