Most women will go through their pregnancies never needing to know what an incompetent cervix is. Put simply, it is when the cervix can no longer support the growing weight of your baby, the pressure causes the placenta to rupture and the mother goes into premature labour.
Is it serious?
Incompetent cervis is a serious condition. Average weights of babies in the womb become too heavy at a stage where they would not normally be able to survive outside of the uterus usually well before 24 weeks. This means that, usually, you'll have a miscarriage, though there have been cases of premature babies surviving this young.
Is it my fault?
Incompetent cervix is nobody's fault, it's one of those things that can just happen, however sad and traumatic it is. Sometimes the cervix is just weak, sometimes it's been damaged by a previous delivery or even by an abortion or D&C following a miscarriage. Whatever the cause, it's not your fault and nobody can be blamed for incompetent cervix occurring.
Can anything be done to help prevent this?
For most women, there is no sign that they may have incompetent cervixes until they are pregnant and they experience this trauma.
Doctors are likely to offer "cerclage" for subsequent pregnancies, which is a surgical stitch that helps to support the cervix in place. This is normally done towards the end of the first trimester, or at the doctor's discretion, and removed a couple of weeks before your baby is due. Some doctors are reluctant to undertake this procedure where there is any doubt, as it can in some rare cases induce a miscarriage.
Before and after cerclage, your doctor may also prescribe bed rest to minimise any further risk, and will probably recommend that you and your partner abstain from sexual intercourse until your baby is born.