Cervical Cerclage

During birth, the baby travels from the uterus through the cervix, which is the lower part of the uterus that opens to the vagina. In women who are not pregnant, the cervix is closed and firm. During pregnancy, the cervix begins to soften and dilate, or open, as the body prepares to give birth.

However, if a pregnant woman’s cervix opens too soon, the baby is at risk of being born prematurely. Cervical cerclage is a procedure that involves surgically stitching the cervix closed during pregnancy to help prevent premature birth.

Your doctor may talk with you about cervical cerclage if:

  • You have had complications due to early cervical dilation in a previous pregnancy.
  • Your physical exam finds that your cervix is at risk of opening too soon.
  • You have had cervical cerclage during a previous pregnancy.

How is Cervical Cerclage Performed?

Cervical cerclage is usually performed in a hospital or surgical center using general or local anesthesia. Most women do not need to stay overnight.

Mercy’s expert surgeons use the most advanced surgical techniques to perform cervical cerclage. It may be done in one of two ways:

  • Transvaginal cerclage, the most common method, is done through the vagina. Typically, the closure is removed around the 37th week of pregnancy.
  • Transabdominal cerclage is performed through an incision in the abdomen and is usually done only if transvaginal cerclage is not possible. If you have a transabdominal cerclage, your baby will be delivered by caesarean section and the closure will be removed at that time.

After the procedure is complete, you may have cramps, spotting or other minor symptoms for several days. Depending on your individual needs, your doctor may recommend limiting activity or give you other instructions. Your doctor also may want to check your cervix on a regular basis until your baby is born.

Any time you have questions or concerns about your pregnancy, be sure to let your Mercy care team know. We’re here to help you and your baby stay healthy all along the way.

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