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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Cervical cerclage, or cervical stitch, is a procedure to close your cervix during pregnancy. Cerclage may help prevent premature delivery of your baby. The stitches may be removed around week 37 of pregnancy. The procedure is usually done through the vagina but can be done through the abdomen.
WHILE YOU ARE HERE:
Before your procedure:
- Informed consent is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.
- An IV is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.
- Anesthesia is medicine to make you comfortable during the procedure. Healthcare providers will work with you to decide which anesthesia is best for you.
- General anesthesia will keep you asleep and free from pain during your procedure. Anesthesia may be given through your IV. You may instead breathe it in through a mask or a tube placed down your throat. The tube may cause you to have a sore throat when you wake up.
- Spinal or epidural anesthesia numbs the area and dulls the pain. You may still feel pressure or pushing during the procedure.
During your procedure:
A speculum is inserted into your vagina to hold it open. You may have a small incision in your abdomen instead. Stitches or tape will be used to close your cervix tightly. If you have an abdominal incision, it will be closed with stitches. A sanitary pad will be placed.
After your procedure:
You will be taken to a room to rest until you are fully awake. You will be monitored closely for any problems. Do not get out of bed until your healthcare provider says it is okay. You will then be able to go home or be taken to your hospital room.
- An ultrasound will show how your baby is doing after surgery. Healthcare providers will monitor your baby's heartbeat and any contractions you may have.
- A Foley catheter is a tube put into your bladder to drain urine into a bag. Keep the bag below your waist. This will prevent urine from flowing back into your bladder and causing an infection or other problems. Also, keep the tube free of kinks so the urine will drain properly. Do not pull on the catheter. This can cause pain and bleeding, and may cause the catheter to come out.
- You may need to wear pressure stockings or inflatable boots after the procedure. The stockings are tight and put pressure on your legs. The boots have an air pump that tightens and loosens different areas of the boots. Both of these improve blood flow and help prevent blood clots.
- You may need to walk around the same day of your procedure. Movement will help prevent blood clots. Do not get out of bed on your own until your healthcare provider says you can. Ask for help before you get up the first time. When you are able to get up on your own, sit or lie down right away if you feel weak or dizzy. Then press the call light button to let someone know you need help.
- You will be able to drink liquids and eat certain foods once your stomach function returns after the procedure. You may be given ice chips at first. Then you will get liquids such as water, broth, juice, and clear soft drinks. If your stomach does not become upset, you may then be given soft foods, such as ice cream and applesauce. Once you can eat soft foods easily, you may slowly begin to eat solid foods.
- Pain medicine may be given to decrease pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you ask for more medicine.
- Antibiotics help prevent infection caused by bacteria.
- Tocolytics stop or prevent labor contractions.
- Antinausea medicine helps calm your stomach and prevents vomiting.
- Bowel movement softeners make it easier for you to have a bowel movement. You may need this medicine to prevent constipation.
You may bleed more than expected or develop an infection. Your cervix may tear. Your bladder, intestines, or amniotic sac may be damaged. Your risk for a miscarriage may increase. You may have contractions or vaginal bleeding. Your cervix may not be able to open or shorten in preparation for delivery. You may develop a permanent narrowing of your cervix. Your water may break and you may go into labor.
CARE AGREEMENT:You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.