My Cervix is Short

Premature (or preterm) delivery means delivery before 37 weeks gestation. Most babies with serious complications of prematurity are born before 34 weeks. In New South Wales, 5-10% of all babies are born prematurely.

All pregnant women should have a fetal anatomy scan at 18-20 weeks. It has been shown that women who have a short cervix on this scan, have a higher than average risk of preterm delivery. Therefore, it is becoming common to measure the cervical length during the fetal anatomy scan, to identify women who are at increased risk for delivering prematurely. By convention, a cervix which measures 25mm or less is called “short”. Approximately 10% of women will have a short cervix on scan at 18-20 weeks.

My cervix is short on my 19 week scan – what is my chance of delivering prematurely?

When measured on trans-vaginal ultrasound at 18-24 weeks, a shorter cervical length (CL) predicts a higher chance of premature delivery. The average cervical length at this gestation is 40mm. Women with a CL <25mm have a 30% risk of preterm delivery. If the cervix is <15mm, the chance of preterm delivery is 50%.

Can you recommend any treatment to reduce this risk?

The recommended treatment for women with a short cervix identified on ultrasound depends on how short the cervix is and whether the woman has a history of premature delivery in a previous pregnancy. The 3 options for women with a short cervix are:

  1. Do nothing – even women with a short cervix are most likely to deliver at term
  2. Commence vaginal progesterone medication to reduce the risk
  3. Insert a cervical stitch (cerclage) to reduce the risk

The team at SHORE FOR WOMEN are very experienced in managing women with a short cervix identified on ultrasound. We perform the cervical length scans ourselves and have cared for hundreds of women with a short cervix.

Other High-risk Pregnancy Lists

  • Mater Hospital
  • North Shore Private Hospital
  • The University Of Sydney
  • Royal College Of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists