Request an Appointment Call: (480) 756-6000 or Text: (480) 660-4040

Request an Appointment Call:
(480) 756-6000 or Text: (480) 660-4040

Understanding Cerclage: A Patient Education Guide

Cerclage is a medical procedure used to reinforce the cervix during pregnancy, particularly in cases where there is a risk of cervical insufficiency or premature birth. This intervention involves suturing the cervix to provide support and prevent it from opening too early. This patient education guide aims to provide a comprehensive overview of cerclage, its purpose, types, procedure, recovery, and role in preventing premature birth.

Purpose of Cerclage: Cerclage is performed to address cervical insufficiency, a condition where the cervix begins to open prematurely during pregnancy, increasing the risk of premature birth or miscarriage. The primary purposes of cerclage include:

  1. Preventing Premature Birth: Cerclage helps maintain the cervix’s structural integrity, reducing the likelihood of early dilation and promoting a full-term pregnancy.
  2. Supporting High-Risk Pregnancies: Cerclage is often recommended for women with a history of premature birth or cervical insufficiency, as well as those with certain anatomical or medical risk factors.

Types of Cerclage: There are three main types of cerclage:

  1. Transvaginal Cerclage: This is the most common type, where a stitch is placed around the cervix through the vagina. It is usually performed before pregnancy or early in the second trimester.
  2. Transabdominal Cerclage: In this type, the stitch is placed higher up on the cervix through an abdominal incision. It is typically considered when transvaginal cerclage is not feasible or has been unsuccessful.
  3. Rescue Cerclage: This emergency procedure is performed when cervical insufficiency is detected during pregnancy. It involves placing a cerclage stitch after the cervix has started to dilate.

The Procedure: Here’s what you can expect during a cerclage procedure:

  1. Timing: Cerclage is usually performed between 12 and 24 weeks of pregnancy, depending on the individual situation and type of cerclage.
  2. Anesthesia: The procedure is typically done under regional or general anesthesia to ensure your comfort.
  3. Stitch Placement: The cervix is gently manipulated, and the stitch is placed around the cervix to provide support and prevent early dilation.
  4. Recovery: After the procedure, you may need to rest and avoid strenuous activities. Follow your healthcare provider’s recommendations for recovery.

Recovery and Monitoring: After a cerclage procedure, you’ll likely need to follow specific guidelines for recovery and monitoring:

  • Activity Restrictions: Your healthcare provider might recommend limited physical activity and avoiding heavy lifting during the recovery period.
  • Follow-Up Appointments: Regular prenatal check-ups and ultrasounds will be scheduled to monitor the cervix’s status and the overall health of the pregnancy.

Role in Preventing Premature Birth: Cerclage plays a significant role in preventing premature birth, especially in high-risk pregnancies:

  • Risk Reduction: By providing support to the cervix, cerclage reduces the risk of premature dilation and helps maintain the pregnancy to term.
  • Increased Pregnancy Duration: Cerclage can extend the duration of the pregnancy, allowing the baby to develop and grow in a more controlled environment.
  • Improved Outcomes: For women with a history of cervical insufficiency or premature birth, cerclage increases the chances of a successful full-term pregnancy.

Conclusion: Cerclage is a valuable medical intervention designed to prevent premature birth by reinforcing the cervix and reducing the risk of cervical insufficiency. This procedure is often recommended for women with a history of early dilation or certain risk factors. If you’re considering cerclage or have been advised to undergo the procedure, discussing your concerns and questions with your healthcare provider will help you make informed decisions and ensure the best possible outcomes for both you and your baby.

Scroll to Top