Cervical cerclage is a procedure that sutures, or stitches, the cervix closed during pregnancy to help prevent premature birth. The sutures can be put in vaginally, called a transvaginal cervical cerclage, or abdominally, called a transabdominal cervical cerclage. The sutures are usually removed when the baby is considered full term.
When is cervical cerclage recommended?
If your cervix is at risk of opening before your baby is ready to be born or if your cervix actually begins to open early, cervical cerclage may be suggested.
During pregnancy, the cervix gradually softens, shortens and opens as it prepares for the birth process. In some cases, it might open too soon and cause premature birth.
Specifically, your OB/GYN may suggest cervical cerclage if you have:
- A history of one or more second-trimester miscarriages or premature births related to painless cervical dilation
- A history of prior cerclage due to painless cervical dilation in the second trimester
- A short cervix before the 24th week of pregnancy and history of preterm birth before 34weeks of pregnancy
- A prior cervical injury
- Painless cervical dilation before the 24th week of pregnancy
In some case cervical cerclage is recommended before conception.
When is cervical cerclage not recommended?
Your OB/GYN may not consider cervical cerclage an option for you if you also have:
- Vaginal bleeding
- Preterm labor or contractions
- Intrauterine infection
- Premature rupture of membranes
- Prolapsed fetal membranes
- Twins or other multiple pregnancy
What are the risks of cervical cerclage?
- Uterine contractions
- Vaginal bleeding
- Cervical tear
- Sutures may loosen
- Cervix is unable to shorten or open
- Cervix is permanently narrowed or closed
- Abnormal connection between the bladder and vagina
- Premature membrane rupture
- Preterm labor
- Uterine rupture