Why is the cervical stitch done?

You must have heard about the cervical stitch that is done during pregnancy, and you must have many questions about it. How is it done, and why. In this article, I will answer these questions and will give more details and information about this important procedure.

Cherifa Sharaf
Published on:Feb 12th 2023 |Updated on:Mar 10th 2024
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What is the cervical stitch?

It is a surgical procedure done under general or spinal anesthesia. This stitch is done in the cervix to prevent premature labor, it is usually done when the expecting mother has a history of painless premature births, that happen without contractions or any other signs of labor.

When is it done?

This procedure is usually done during the thirteenth week of pregnancy, after a 3D ultrasound to ensure the well-being of the fetus and the pregnancy. This procedure is also done when the expecting mother complains of period-like pains, and the ultrasound shows that the cervix is shorter than two centimeters.  Or in case the cervix is open before time. There is a debate in the medical community about whether the right step in such cases is to do a cervical stitch or just give hormones that help maintain the pregnancy. As if the cervical stitch is done without previous history of premature births can increase the chances of miscarriages.

Sometimes pregnant women undergo this procedure only for carrying twins, which can lead to premature birth or a miscarriage.

What are the risks of cervical stitches?

Just like any other surgical procedure, this too has potential risks, like the ones caused by general or spinal anesthesia, and the possibility of an infection that can lead to premature birth.

Is there an alternative to this procedure?

In case of an existing history of painless, symptomless premature births, where the baby is born without any of the labor symptoms. There is no alternative to the cervical stitch to prevent such a premature birth. The cervical stitch can be done through the vagina or abdomen.

This stitch is removed in the 37th week of pregnancy if the mother is expecting to have a vaginal birth. And if the mother is to have a c-section the stitch is undone in the same procedure. The doing and undoing of the stitch are not painful as they are both done under general or spinal anesthesia.

Also check out What is a cosmetic gynecology procedure? And do you need it?

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Cherifa SharafObstetrics & Gynecology Consultant

Consultant of obstetrics, gynecology & Infertility, with years of experience in women’s healthcare. Dr.Cherifa is practicing at Qasr El Eyni Hospital/ Cairo University in addition to several other hospitals and centers in Cairo Egypt. She holds a Ph.D. in medicine from Cairo University in addition to the European Diploma of Operative Gynecology from Clermont-Ferrand, France, and Diploma of Management of Infertility from Antoine Béclère Faculty of Medicine Paris, France. Dr. Cherifa is very passionate about providing the appropriate health care to women and believes the overall health of a woman is key to her reproductive and maternal health. She is a strong believer in the importance of raising women’s awareness and educating them about everything related to health in general and reproductive health in particular.

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