Although the last few weeks and months of a pregnancy can be kind of miserable, moms-to-be know that a premature birth is something that should be avoided at all costs. So, despite their efforts to induce labor, they make every effort to keep their babies inside the womb as long as needed. Some women, however, need a little help staying pregnant. A procedure called a cerclage can help prevent preterm labor for women with cervical issues. If your doctor requests this procedure, there are a few important things to know about getting a cerclage, which could save your baby's life.
If your doctor tells you that you have a short or incompetent cervix, you might need a cerclage. It sounds scary, but it's actually a relatively simple procedure. According to the Baby Med, an incompetent cervix isn't strong enough to withstand the pressure and weight of a growing baby. It puts you at risk of going into labor early or having the amniotic sac rupture. To stop that from happening, your doctor can perform a cerclage and stitch your cervix closed until you can safely deliver your baby.
Here are nine things to know about the procedure, including the benefits and the risks.
1. It's Usually Done Around 13 Or 14 Weeks
As you begin your second trimester, your baby is still small. Despite how little they've grown by that point, it's the best time to put in a cerclage according to March of Dimes.
2. It Can Be Done Later, If Necessary
If you're well into your second trimester and are just now learning that you need a cerclage, don't worry. A cerclage can still done later in your pregnancy if your cervix starts to weaken or shorten at that point, according to the American Pregnancy Association (APA).
3. It Could Lead To Bleeding And Cramping
A cerclage can save your baby from being born premature, but it can have some unpleasant side effects for you. Baby Center noted that a cerclage can cause bleeding, creeping, and tons of discharge.
4. It Can Cause A Miscarriage
According to the Mayo Clinic, a cerclage can lead to a miscarriage. Although the point of a cerclage is to potentially save your baby's life, there's also a slim possibility that it has a disastrous outcome.
5. It Can Increase Your Chances Of Needing A C-Section
The Mayo Clinic also noted that if you've had a trans-abdominal cerclage, your doctor will most likely want you to have a C-section. That's because they'll need to make an incision to remove the cerclage anyway.
6. It Has A Really High Success Rate
While a cerclage doesn't absolutely guarantee a full-term pregnancy, it does significantly increase your odds. According to Healthline, about 85 to 90 percent of women who need a cerclage will carry their pregnancy to term.
7. It Doesn't Always Work
A cerclage may help correct issues with your cervix, but that doesn't necessarily mean you're in the clear. Fit Pregnancy noted that other issues can still pop up that cause you to go into labor early.
8. It's Usually Taken Out Around 37 Weeks
According to Pregnancy Corner, a cerclage will typically be removed around 37 weeks. That's when a pregnancy is considered full term and it's safe to deliver your baby.
9. If You've Had One, You'll Probably Need One Again With Future Pregnancies
If you needed a cerclage to help you get through your last pregnancy, chances are you'll need to have another one done next time you're expecting. According to Baby Center, most doctors will want you to get a cerclage as a precaution once you've already had one.