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    Incompetent cervix is suspected when a woman has three consecutive spontaneous pregnancy losses during the second trimester (the fourth, fifth and sixth months of the pregnancy). The likelihood of this happening by random chance is less than 1%. Spontaneous losses due to incompetent cervix account for 20-25% of all second trimester losses. A spontaneous second trimester pregnancy loss is different from a miscarriage, which usually happens during the first three months of pregnancy.

    The physician can check for abnormalities in the cervix by performing a manual examination or by an ultrasound test. The physician can also check to see if the cervix is prematurely widened (dilated). Because incompetent cervix is only one of several potential causes for this, the patient's past history of pregnancy losses must also be considered when making the diagnosis.

    Source: The Gale Group. Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine, 3rd ed.";

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