Obstetrics - OB Tests and Procedures - Cerclage

Cervical Cerclage

Cervical cerclage is a surgical procedure used to keep the cervix closed during pregnancy. The cervix is the lowest part of the uterus and extends into the vagina. During normal pregnancy it remains closed until the third trimester. 

Cervical cerclage is used to prevent a miscarriage or premature delivery if you have an incompetent cervix. An incompetent cervix is a cervix that opens without labor too early in a pregnancy. Stitching around the cervix helps keep it closed as the baby grows. The procedure may be used if you have a history of miscarriages during the second trimester of pregnancy.

If you have a history of second-trimester miscarriages, a cerclage may be done at the beginning of your second trimester. Otherwise it may be done at the time your health care provider finds that your cervix is opening too early.

An alternative treatment for an incompetent cervix is bed rest that may last for several months.

You will be given a general, spinal, or epidural anesthetic. Your health care provider will then stitch 1 or 2 bands of strong thread around your cervix. He or she will tighten the thread to hold the cervix firmly closed. 

The thread is removed when your provider decides the baby is mature and safe to deliver. This is generally around the time of the 37th week of pregnancy. If you have contractions or your bag of water breaks while the thread is still in, call your provider right away.

If your baby is born by C-section rather than vaginally, the thread may be left in. 

Cervical cerclage prevents miscarriage or premature delivery caused by cervical incompetence. The procedure is successful in 85% to 90% of cases. A cerclage procedure will probably be done for each of your next pregnancies.

 


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