A cervix that is too short may raise the risk of preterm labor. Cervical cerclage is surgery to stitch a band of strong thread around the cervix. This helps hold it closed. The band is removed after 36 to 38 weeks of pregnancy to allow for delivery. It can also be done with a ring called a pessary.


American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ Committee on Practice Bulletins—Obstetrics. Practice Bulletin No. 171: Management of Preterm Labor. Obstet Gynecol. 2016 Oct;128(4):e155-64, reaffirmed 2018.

Cervical cerclage. Maternal and Infant Care Clinic. University of Washington Medical Center website. Available at: http://depts.washington.edu/dippweb/micc-cervcerc.pdf. Accessed August 3, 2020.

Premature labor. American Pregnancy Association website. Available at: http://americanpregnancy.org/labor-and-birth/premature-labor. Accessed August 3, 2020.

Preterm labor and birth. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development website. Available at: https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/preterm/Pages/default.aspx. Accessed August 3, 2020.

Preterm labor and birth. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website. Available at: https://www.acog.org/patient-resources/faqs/labor-delivery-and-postpartum-care/preterm-labor-and-birth. Accessed August 3, 2020.

Preterm labor. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:https://www.dynamed.com/condition/preterm-labor. Accessed August 3, 2020.

Prevention of preterm labor and preterm birth. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:https://www.dynamed.com/prevention/prevention-of-preterm-labor-and-preterm-birth. Accessed August 3, 2020.

Last reviewed March 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Beverly Siegal, MD, FACOG  Last Updated: 2/26/2021