January is marked as Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, dedicated to increasing education and awareness about cervical cancer prevention. The month encourages women to prioritize their health by scheduling screenings and vaccinations Early detection significantly improves treatment outcomes. Cervical Cancer Awareness Month serves as an important reminder for women to take proactive steps towards their wellness, which ultimately contributes to reducing the incidence of cervical cancer worldwide.
Cervical health plays an important role in preventing preterm birth, a significant concern in maternal and child health. Acting as a physical and immunological barrier, the uterus prevents entry of microbes from the vagina into the amniotic sac.
Dr. Lena Gupta, Senior Consultant – Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Rosewalk Healthcare explains how certain conditions or complications related to cervical health can increase the risk of preterm birth, defined as delivery before 37 weeks of gestation.
Role of Cervical Health in Preventing Premature Birth:
Uterine function: The cervix, a narrow passage between the uterus and vagina during pregnancy, provides structural support to the developing fetus. It acts as a barrier to keep the embryo in the uterus until it is fully developed. Cervix during pregnancy has been associated with a shorter cervical length. With a regular ultrasound, doctors can identify women who are more likely to have premature labor.
Cervical insufficiency: When the cervix opens early, cervical insufficiency can lead to premature birth. Previous cervical trauma, surgical procedures, or cervix-related congenital problems may contribute to this condition. For women at risk of preterm labor due to cervical insufficiency, a procedure known as cervical cerclage may be performed. This involves sewing the cervix closed to strengthen it and reduce the risk of premature birth.
Infections and Cervical Health: Infections affecting the cervix, such as bacterial vaginosis, or STDs such as gonorrhea or chlamydia may increase the risk of preterm birth. These infections can weaken the cervix and cause inflammation that leads to early labor.
Lifestyle Aspects and Cervical Health: Leading a healthy lifestyle including eating a balanced diet, drinking plenty of water, quitting smoking and having safe sex is beneficial for cervical health. Avoid smoking as it increases the risk of premature birth and cervical insufficiency.
Treatment and supportive interventions: To support cervical health and reduce the risk of preterm birth, doctors may recommend progesterone therapy, bed rest, or other interventions based on each patient’s characteristics.
To maintain optimal cervical health, reducing the risk of preterm birth is crucial. Regular screening, early intervention for identified problems, addressing risk factors and promoting overall wellness during pregnancy play an important role in protecting the health of both mother and child. It is important to spread widespread knowledge about vaccines and encourage women to take vaccines on time as we can protect cervical health.
By emphasizing the importance of cervical health in prenatal care, one can strive to reduce the incidence of preterm birth and improve outcomes for mothers and their babies.