Vaginal progesterone, cerclage or cervical pessary for preventing preterm birth in asymptomatic singleton pregnant women with a history of preterm birth and a sonographic short cervix

Academic Article


  • Objective To compare the outcome of pregnancy in cohorts of women with singleton pregnancy and history of preterm birth and sonographic short cervix managed with different treatment protocols, namely cerclage, vaginal progesterone or cervical pessary. Methods This was a comparison of three management protocols for women with singleton pregnancy and a high risk of preterm birth because of a prior spontaneous preterm birth before 34 weeks and a shortened cervical length detected by transvaginal ultrasound. The study included 142 women who were initially treated with cerclage (USA), 59 with vaginal progesterone (UK) and 42 with cervical pessary (Spain). Perinatal outcomes were compared between the three cohorts. Results There were no statistically significant differences in perinatal losses, neonatal morbidity and preterm births among the three groups, apart from a higher rate of preterm birth before 34 weeks' gestation after treatment with vaginal progesterone in comparison with treatment with cervical pessary (32% vs 12%; relative risk (RR) = 2.70; 95% CI, 1.10-6.67). When only the subgroups of women with cervical length < 25 mm, irrespective of gestational age, were compared, the difference between these two cohorts was not statistically significant (RR = 2.21; 95% CI, 0.83-5.89). Conclusion Cerclage, vaginal progesterone and pessary appear to have similar effectiveness as management strategies in women with singleton pregnancy, previous spontaneous preterm birth and short cervix. Direct randomized comparisons of these strategies, or combinations thereof, are needed to determine optimal management. Linked Comment: Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol 2013:41:130 Copyright © 2012 ISUOG. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Alfirevic Z; Owen J; Carreras Moratonas E; Sharp AN; Szychowski JM; Goya M
  • Start Page

  • 146
  • End Page

  • 151
  • Volume

  • 41
  • Issue

  • 2