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Cerclage

A cerclage is a stitch placed around a pregnant woman’s cervix to prevent the cervix from opening prematurely. Some of the reasons to perform this procedure include a history of incompetent cervix or an ultrasound showing a short cervix in early pregnancy.

Procedure

Your doctor will determine whether you need a cerclage. Some of the reasons to perform this procedure include a history of incompetent cervix or an ultrasound showing a short cervix in early pregnancy. A special type of cerclage called a “rescue” cerclage may be used in emergency situations where the cervix has already dilated to a significant extent. Before the cerclage is performed you will be given either epidural or general anesthesia. You will be placed in stirrups and a speculum placed in your vagina like a pap smear. A special material is then used to place a stitch around the cervix and tighten it so that your cervix will be able to hold the pregnancy in place. A second stitch is often placed for better support.

Risks

As with any surgical procedure, there is risk of bleeding, infection and complications due to anesthesia. These are rare. Also there is a risk to the pregnancy of ruptured membranes and preterm labor.

Post Procedure

You may be discharged home after the procedure or kept in the hospital for a few days for monitoring. When you are ready for delivery, the cerclage wil be removed in a separate procedure, usually in the office.

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