Top of the page
Cervical cerclage (say "SER-vuh-kul ser-KLAZH") is a procedure that helps keep a pregnant woman's cervix from opening too soon before delivery.
The cervix is the lower part of the uterus. It leads to the vagina. During pregnancy, it is tightly closed to protect the baby. Normally, it doesn't open until the baby is ready to be born. Most of the time, this happens at 37 to 42 weeks. But sometimes it opens too early.
In cervical cerclage, the doctor sews the cervix shut early in the pregnancy. The stitches are removed in time for the baby to be born.
This procedure may be used when:
The anesthesia may make you sleep. Or it may just numb the area being worked on. The procedure will take less than an hour.
Many women go home the same day.
This procedure has helped some high-risk pregnancies last longer. But it also has risks. It can cause infection or miscarriage.
How long it takes to recover depends on the type of cerclage procedure you had. Your doctor can give you an idea of what to expect. You may get antibiotics to prevent infection.
Cervical cerclage may be done if you:
Success of the cervical cerclage procedure is defined as a pregnancy that lasts until term or close to term.
Cerclage has helped some high-risk pregnancies last longer. But it also has risks—it can cause infection or miscarriage. For women who have had a preterm birth because the cervix did not stay closed, cervical cerclage may prevent another preterm birth.footnote 1
The risks of cervical cerclage are rare. They include:
CitationsHaas DM (2011). Preterm birth, search date June 2010. BMJ Clinical Evidence. Available online: http://www.clinicalevidence.com.
Current as of: June 16, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Sarah Marshall MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Kirtly Jones MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2021 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.