A Cer-what?

I work in labor and delivery often as I admit patients and today I learned something even more about a cervical cerclage. Unless you’re in the nursing field and/or have ever had one or know someone who has, most folks do that funny head-tilt thing and say “a what”?

A cervical cerclage is placed when a mama has an incompetent cervix, causing the cervix to shorten and thus dilate before term. The cerclage is a surgical procedure that closes the cervix with a few stitches to ensure the continued health of both mama and baby until term. Mama is put under general anesthesia because it is very painful and uncomfortable.

The normal length of the cervix is around 3″ and as it shortens (effacement), the risk of preterm labor increases. Once the cerclage is in place, mama is usually put on modified to full bed rest, depending on if she has any other pre-term symptoms (contracting, bleeding, etc…). As she reaches term at 37 weeks, her doctor will then snip the stitches holding her cervix close and allow mother nature to take over. The resident I was observing said that most women go into labor quickly, within a few days of having it removed. Unlike when it’s placed, mama is awake and can be described as something akin to a pap smear (the feeling at least).

This form of medical intervention is one which I am thankful for. I myself have not had to have one, but I know mamas who have and had healthy babies because of it.

Have you had a cerclage? What was your experience like?

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