Age 26 – Torn Cervix

This photo is from a 26 year old woman who has had one vaginal birth, 19 months before this photo was taken. The recovery from the birth of her 9 1/2 pound baby girl seemed slow as she bled for 2 months postpartum and experienced much pressure and pain in her pelvis.

Since she was breastfeeding, she did not ovulate for 14 months after her son was born (lactational amenorrhea). She began ovulating and getting her period again 14 months postpartum. She noticed that, depending on her cervix’s position during different days of her cycle, her cervix felt very tender after intercourse with her husband. She felt deep ridges in her cervix with her finger and started asking questions.

When she looked at her cervix using a speculum, she thought it looked “torn.” It is uncommon for a cervix to tear during labor and birth, but her midwife and doctor confirmed that is what her cervix looks like.

Here is a little about the birth story. She planned to have a home waterbirth with a midwife in attendance. She dilated to 3cm and remained there for 9 hours with no progression. Her contractions were 1 min to 1 1/2 min apart for this entire time. Her midwife did a vaginal exam and discovered that she had a posterior, asynclitic baby (posterior means that the baby’s position is back-to-back with the mother – or face-up – and ascynclitic means that the head coming down at an angle and is not evenly applied to the cervix). The midwife used a Rebozo technique (a Mexican tradition for rotating babies using a large sarong-like cloth wrapped around the mama to ‘rock’ the baby into a better position) and internally used her fingers to rotate the baby’s head into a more favorable position. Within 45 minutes the mother was checked again, this time completely dilated to 10 cm.  She pushed for 3 1/2 hours to finally deliver a 9 1/2 baby with a slight shoulder dystocia. Her awesome midwife jumped into the birthing pool to get her shoulders free.

Immediately after the birth, her midwife noticed that her vitals were abnormal and her body looked as if it were going into shock: a high pulse, low blood pressure, and extreme dizziness. The midwives assumed that she was having some blood clotting issues so they did a manual sweep of her uterus to make sure that she didn’t have any retained placenta or tears. It took about five hours of constant attention to get her vitals back to normal, but they did finally return enough to settle everyone down and not require hospital transport.Her doctor recommend that after she conceives the next time that she measure her cervix and periodically have the midwives check to make sure that the cervix isn’t becoming too short.

The mother still has unanswered questions about how her cervix tore. Common causes for cervical tears include pushing before completely dilation, pushing against a cervix that is slightly swollen, if the baby’s head is slightly misapplied to the cervix, or the baby has wide shoulders. The mother is satisfied with her care during the birth an postpartum and hopes this photo answers some questions for mothers having similar experiences.