Cervical cerclage is a surgical procedure performed during pregnancy, typically in the second or early third trimester. It involves stitching a band of strong thread around the cervix to help keep it closed, which can prevent premature birth in women with a weak or short cervix. This procedure is usually done under local or general anesthesia.

Key Takeaways

  1. Cervical cerclage is a surgical procedure often utilized during pregnancy to help prevent preterm birth or miscarriage. This involves the placement of stitches around the cervix to help keep it closed, providing extra support.
  2. The procedure is usually performed between weeks 12 to 14 of pregnancy and is typically considered for women who have a history of preterm birth or who have been diagnosed with a weak or short cervix (cervical insufficiency/ incompetence).
  3. It’s important to note that the cerclage is usually removed around week 37 of pregnancy to allow for a natural delivery. However, in some cases, depending on the type of stitches used, it may not need to be removed for a vaginal birth.


Cervical cerclage is a significant term in motherhood as it refers to a crucial medical procedure performed to prevent preterm birth or miscarriage, especially in mothers facing the problem of a weak or short cervix.

The procedure involves positioning a stitch or stitches around the cervix, usually between 12 and 14 weeks of pregnancy, to hold it firm and closed, thereby helping in sustaining the pregnancy.

The stitch is usually removed at around 37 weeks to prepare for childbirth.

Without this intervention, the weight of the developing baby can cause the cervix to open prematurely leading to premature delivery or loss of the pregnancy.

Thus, understanding the term “cervical cerclage” is vital for expecting mothers and could be life-saving in certain pregnancies.


Cervical cerclage, in the context of motherhood, is considered a lifesaving procedure predominantly performed with the intention of safeguarding pregnancies that are at high risk of preterm birth. The procedure is typically recommended for expectant mothers who have a weak or short cervix (known as cervical insufficiency), a condition that may lead to an early labor or pregnancy loss, especially during the second trimester.

The aim of cervical cerclage, accordingly, is to help keep the cervix closed and thus prolong the duration of the pregnancy, offering the fetus more time to develop in the womb. The procedure operates by placing stitches around the cervix to provide additional support and effectively ‘tie’ it closed.

By doing so, the cervix is kept from dilating prematurely which can prevent an early birth or miscarriage. It is commonly performed between week 12 and week 24 of pregnancy, but each case is distinctive and depends on the specific circumstances and medical history of the mother.

While cervical cerclage can significantly improve the chances of carrying a baby to term for those with cervical insufficiency, as with all medical procedures, it does come with certain risks and must be carefully considered in consultation with healthcare professionals.

Examples of Cervical cerclage

Example 1: A woman named Sarah had experienced three second-trimester losses in the past. After numerous tests, the doctors figured out that the reason behind these losses was due to her incompetent cervix, which could not stay shut for the required period during pregnancy. To prevent any further losses, Sarah’s doctor suggested a cervical cerclage. This was a procedure where a stitch was placed around her cervix to act like a purse string and keep the cervix closed. Successfully, Sarah was able to carry her next baby to term and had the stitch removed close to her due date.

Example 2: Maria had a healthy first pregnancy without any complications. But during her second pregnancy, she went into premature labor during the 20th week. After this incident, Maria and her doctors decided to do a cervical cerclage during her third pregnancy. With this preventative measure, Maria was able to carry her baby full-term.

Example 3: Lisa was pregnant with twins and was at a high risk of preterm labor due to the increased pressure on the cervix. To prevent premature birth, the doctors decided to perform a cervical cerclage during week 16 of her pregnancy. By preventing the early opening of the cervix, Lisa was able to keep her babies safe and carry them until the 37th week, averting the health risks associated with preterm birth.

Frequently Asked Questions about Cervical Cerclage

What is cervical cerclage?

A cervical cerclage is a surgical procedure often used to prevent preterm labor when the cervix starts to shorten and open too early during a pregnancy. In this procedure, a stitch is placed around the cervix to keep it closed.

Who may need a cervical cerclage?

Women who have a history of cervical shortening or incompetent cervix are often recommended to undergo a cervical cerclage.

When is cervical cerclage performed?

Typically, a cervical cerclage is performed between week 12 and week 14 of pregnancy and is not done later than week 24. It is expected to be removed around week 37.

What are the risks related to cervical cerclage?

The potential risks can include infection, cervical damage, preterm labor, premature rupture of the membranes, or miscarriage. However, without the procedure, the risk of a preterm birth is considerably higher in some women.

How long is the recovery period after a cervical cerclage?

Recovery time can vary, but most women are able to resume their normal routines within a few days. However, physicians often recommend avoiding heavy lifting and sexual activity for at least a week after the procedure.

Related Motherhood Terms

  • Obstetrics
  • Preterm labor
  • Incompetent cervix
  • Bed rest
  • Pregnancy complications

Sources for More Information

  • Mayo Clinic: A reliable source of information for various health topics, including cervical cerclage.
  • WebMD: Another trusted site for health-related information which provides detailed articles on topics including cervical cerclage.
  • American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: This Professional medical organization provides in-depth information on a variety of obstetric and gynecological procedures and conditions.
  • Healthline: This site focuses on all aspects of health and wellness and features detailed articles on a range of topics, including cervical cerclage.