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Obstet Gynecol. 2000 Sep;96(3):346-50.

Change in cervical length after cerclage as a predictor of preterm delivery.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University Medical Center, Utrecht, The Netherlands.



To determine whether the degree of cervical lengthening after cerclage and whether serial follow-up measurements of cervical length after cerclage are predictive of pregnancy outcome.


Eighty women whose primary physician determined that a prophylactic (n = 50) or urgent cerclage (n = 30) was indicated had transvaginal ultrasonographic evaluation before and after cerclage. Thereafter, most women had three additional transvaginal ultrasound examinations until 32 weeks' gestation. At each examination, the mean of three measurements was calculated. Statistical analyses were done by t test, analysis of variance, and logistic regression, with significance set at P <.05.


The mean +/- standard deviation precerclage cervical length was 27.2 +/- 10.3 mm and after cerclage was 34.1 +/- 9.9 mm (n = 80, P <.001, paired t test). No significant association was found (r = -0.26) between the difference in cervical length (postcerclage - precerclage lengths) and pregnancy outcome. Patients with a prophylactic cerclage had a mean cervical length that was consistently longer in patients delivering at term compared with those who delivered preterm at 20 to 32 weeks' gestation. In the urgent cerclage group a significant difference in cervical length between those who delivered at term compared with preterm was evident only at 28 to 32 weeks.


The increase in cervical length after cerclage is not predictive of term delivery. Serial cervical length measurements in the late second or early third trimester predict preterm birth but could provide earlier warning in patients with a prophylactic cerclage than in patients with urgent cerclage.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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