In cases where there is a concern about the possibility of early childbirth or miscarriage due to a weak cervix, a procedure known as a cervical cerclage, or cervical stitch, may be recommended.

This surgical intervention is performed to keep the cervix closed. The cervix, which is funnel-shaped, naturally opens during childbirth to allow the baby to pass from the uterus through the vagina.

The procedure can be conducted at a hospital or surgical center; most patients are discharged on the same day.

Why Is It Done?

A cervical cerclage is performed when there is a risk that the cervix may weaken or open prematurely. This premature cervical dilation could result in a premature birth or miscarriage. Your healthcare provider may recommend this procedure if:

  • You have a history of pregnancy loss during the second trimester due to painless cervical dilation.
  • You’ve previously undergone a cervical cerclage.
  • Your cervix starts to open during the second trimester without causing pain.
  • You’ve given birth before 34 weeks of pregnancy and had a short cervical length before reaching 24 weeks of pregnancy.

When Is It Performed?

Ideally, if you have experienced complications in previous pregnancies, a cervical cerclage should be performed between 12 and 14 weeks of your current pregnancy.

However, the procedure can be carried out up to 24 weeks into the pregnancy. Beyond this point, a cervical stitch could risk rupturing the amniotic sac, potentially leading to premature birth.

When Is It Not Recommended?

A cervical cerclage may not be suitable if you are experiencing preterm labour, vaginal bleeding, uterine infection, the leakage or rupture of the amniotic sac before 37 weeks of pregnancy, or if the amniotic sac protrudes through the cervix.

This procedure is typically recommended for pregnancies with a single baby.