When I found out that I had abnormal cells on my cervix (ladies if you don’t know where that is I urge you to google it now…nevermind, I’ll do it for you, just click here) my main concern was how it would affect my ability to get pregnant, maintain a pregnancy, and have a safe, non-surgical delivery. (I’m not pregnant now but I am 30 and it turns out the biological clock is for real and for the last few years babies have been on the brain :))
All the research I did about the LEEP procedure, my recommended treatment to remove the abnormal tissue, turned up warnings that I would probably be left with a scarred cervix which could lead to increased likelihood of miscarriage, preterm labor, and delayed dilation during delivery. The last concern is the most common, and while not ideal there are ways to break up the scar tissue at that point. Any of these issues are just possibilities, I have read many accounts of women having no issues whatsoever with scar tissue in their pregnancy and delivery.
Kath has been devouring all things pregnancy (of course!) and recently came across a Pregtastic podcast on cervical scar tissue and delivery. Two things I heard during the 30 minute podcast kind of shocked me.
First, it’s not just the procedures to remove abnormal cells from the cervix (LEEP, Cone, and Cryotherpy) that can cause this kind of scar tissue. IUD’s, abortion, and miscarriages (if there is surgical removal of tissue), basically anytime the cervix is manually dilated, can also leave the cervix scarred.
Second, doctors and patients aren’t talking about this! It’s very common these days for women to have either had their cervix manually dilated for one of the above reasons before or during their “child-bearing years” and so to me it seems like one of the first questions a doctor should ask in a prenatal exam. Why? Because when scar tissue prevents the cervix from dilating correctly things can take a very long time to progress-or not progress-and intervention by way of pitocin and Cesarean section are much more likely. If you have any reason to believe that your cervix has scar tissue and you see pregnancy in your future I highly recommend that you listen to this podcast.
I am generally pretty good at not worrying about something until I am given cause to worry but I do believe that being informed it key. When I become pregnant I will be armed with the information that there may be scar tissue that needs to be dealt with and you better believe that I will tell each and every health care provider that I come in contact with about my LEEP. If you are in a similar situation I urge you to do the same, don’t expect that your doctor, nurse, or midwife will be able to tell or will think to ask.