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.
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.
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.