Sadly, most women do not know that they have an incompetent cervix until it is too late. A second trimester miscarriage or a stillbirth are the unfortunately ways a women usually finds out.
My incompetent cervix started because one of the triplets had too much amniotic fluid, polyhydramnios. The extra amniotic fluid increased pressure on my cervix. As each baby became polyhydramnios, the pressure on my cervix increased and my cervix shortened...ultimately to 5mm (should have been 4.5cm or longer). However, in most cases, there is no known cause for the cervix shortening and opening.
The March of Dimes states that "Providers have not found a reliable way to routinely check all women for cervical insufficiency." I find this hard to believe, because the March of Dimes then goes on to say that "if a woman has previously lost a pregnancy in the second or third trimester, vaginal ultrasound during the next pregnancy may help predict preterm birth." If I read this correctly, then doctors, oh, I mean providers, know exactly what to do - give every pregnant woman a vaginal ultrasound around twenty weeks to check the cervix. This is what saved my triplets. Well, not the ultrasound itself, but having the knowledge that my cervix was in trouble, so the doctors and I could do something about it.
You can find more information at the March of Dimes website HERE and at the American Pregnancy website HERE. There is also a great forum Incompetent Cervix Support Forum HERE. I found great information at the former two websites and lots of support and hope at the later.
Here are some chapters of my book, Five Strands of Hope: