Management of Pregnancy with Cervical Shortening: Real-Life Clinical Challenges

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Background and Objectives: Preterm birth is the leading cause of neonatal mortality worldwide and may be responsible for lifelong morbidities in the survivors. Cervical shortening is one of the common pathways to preterm birth associated with its own diagnostic and management challenges. The preventive modalities that have been tested include progesterone supplementation and cervical cerclage and pessaries. The study aimed to assess the management strategies and outcomes in a group of patients with a short cervix during pregnancy or cervical insufficiency. Materials and Methods: Seventy patients from the Riga Maternity Hospital in Riga, Latvia, were included in the prospective longitudinal cohort study between 2017 and 2021. Patients were treated with progesterone, cerclage, and/or pessaries. The signs of intra-amniotic infection/inflammation were assessed, and antibacterial therapy was given when the signs were positive. Results: The rates of PTB were 43.6% (n = 17), 45.5% (n = 5), 61.1% (n = 11), and 50.0% (n = 1) in progesterone only, cerclage, pessary, and cerclage plus pesssary groups, respectively. The progesterone therapy was associated with a reduced preterm birth risk (x2(1) = 6.937, p = 0.008)), whereas positive signs of intra-amniotic infection/inflammation significantly predicted the risk of preterm birth (p = 0.005, OR = 3.82, 95% [CI 1.31–11.11]). Conclusions: A short cervix and bulging membranes, both indicators of intra-amniotic infection/inflammation, are the key risk factors in preterm birth risk predictions. Progesterone supplementation should remain at the forefront of preterm birth prevention. Among patients with a short cervix and especially complex anamnesis, the preterm rates remain high. The successful management of patients with cervical shortening lies between the consensus-based approach for screening, follow-up, and treatment on the one side and personalising medical therapy on the other.
Original languageEnglish
Article number653
Number of pages11
JournalMedicina (Kaunas)
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 26 Mar 2023


  • preterm birth
  • short cervix
  • cervical insufficiency
  • progesterone
  • intra-amniotic infection
  • uterine cervix
  • pessary
  • cerclage

Field of Science*

  • 3.2 Clinical medicine

Publication Type*

  • 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database


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