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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1999 Mar;180(3 Pt 1):639-44.

Cervical length in uncomplicated pregnancy: A study of sociodemographic predictors of cervical changes across gestation.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York 10016, USA.



We conducted this study to evaluate sociodemographic factors associated with changes in the length of the cervix across gestation in pregnancies that resulted in term deliveries.


This study is an observational cohort design of sonographically determined cervical length measured at 3- to 4-week intervals in 125 women with a singleton pregnancy between 20 and 32 weeks gestation. We developed a structured questionnaire to collect psychosocial and sociodemographic characteristics. We used bivariate analysis, analysis of variance, and regression analysis to study variation in cervical length.


Overall, cervical length decreased minimally as gestational age progressed. However, among black women cervical length decreased significantly with increasing gestational age (P =.006). In addition, high psychosocial stress was associated with significantly shorter cervices later in gestation, independent of race (P =.003). Finally, women whose occupations involved skilled manual labor had shorter cervices (P =.02).


Women who are black, under stress, or working as skilled manual laborers demonstrate significant shortening of the cervix during gestation. Given that a shorter cervix predisposes to preterm delivery, our findings provide new insights into the well-described association of these psychosocial and sociodemographic factors with an increased risk of preterm delivery.

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