No. 373-Cervical Insufficiency and Cervical Cerclage



      The purpose of this guideline is to provide a framework that clinicians can use to determine which women are at greatest risk of having cervical insufficiency and in which set of circumstances a cerclage is of potential value.


      Published literature was retrieved through searches of PubMed or Medline, CINAHL, and The Cochrane Library in 2018 using appropriate controlled vocabulary (e.g., uterine cervical incompetence) and key words (e.g., cervical insufficiency, cerclage, Shirodkar, cerclage, McDonald, cerclage, abdominal, cervical length, mid-trimester pregnancy loss). Results were restricted to systematic reviews, randomized control trials/controlled clinical trials, and observational studies. There were no date or language restrictions. Searches were updated on a regular basis and incorporated in the guideline to June 2018. Grey (unpublished) literature was identified through searching the websites of health technology assessment and health technology–related agencies, clinical practice guideline collections, clinical trial registries, and national and international medical specialty societies.


      The quality of evidence in this document was rated using the criteria described in the Report of the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care.


      • 1
        Women who are pregnant or planning pregnancy should be evaluated for risk factors for cervical insufficiency. A thorough medical history at initial evaluation may alert clinicians to risk factors in a first or index pregnancy (III-B).
      • 2
        Detailed evaluation of risk factors should be undertaken in women following a mid-trimester pregnancy loss or early premature delivery, or in cases where such complications have occurred in a preceding pregnancy (III-B).
      • 3
        In women with a history of cervical insufficiency, urinalysis for culture and sensitivity and vaginal cultures for bacterial vaginosis should be taken at the first obstetric visit and any infections so found should be treated (I-A).
      • 4
        Women with a history of 3 or more second trimester pregnancy losses or extreme premature deliveries, in whom no specific cause other than potential cervical insufficiency is identified, should be offered elective cerclage at 12 to 14 weeks of gestation (I-A).
      • 5
        In women with a classic history of cervical insufficiency in whom prior vaginal cervical cerclage has been unsuccessful, abdominal cerclage can be considered in the absence of additional mitigating factors (II-3C).
      • 6
        Women who have undergone trachelectomy should have abdominal cerclage placement (II-3C).
      • 7
        Emergency cerclage may be considered in women in whom the cervix has dilated to <4 cm without contractions before 24 weeks of gestation (II-3C).
      • 8
        Women in whom cerclage is not considered or justified, but whose history suggests a risk for cervical insufficiency (1 or 2 prior mid-trimester losses or extreme premature deliveries), should be offered serial cervical length assessment by ultrasound (II-2B).
      • 9
        Cerclage should be considered in singleton pregnancies in women with a history of spontaneous preterm birth or possible cervical insufficiency if the cervical length is ≤25 mm before 24 weeks of gestation (I-A).
      • 10
        There is no benefit to cerclage in a woman with an incidental finding of a short cervix by ultrasound examination but no prior risk factors for preterm birth (II-1D).
      • 11
        Present data do not support the use of elective cerclage in multiple gestations even when there is a history of preterm birth; therefore, this should be avoided (I-D).
      • 12
        The literature does not support the insertion of cerclage in multiple gestations on the basis of cervical length (II-1D).
      • 13
        Placement of a cerclage in twins for ultrasound detected short cervix (<25 mm) might increase the risk of preterm birth (II-1D).
      • 14
        Emergency or rescue cerclage should be considered in twins where the cervix is dilated (>1 cm) prior to viability (II-2 B).

      Key Words

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