Cochrane Summaries

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Cervical assessment by ultrasound for preventing preterm delivery

Berghella V, Baxter JK, Hendrix NW
Published Online: 
28 February 2013

Preterm birth before 37 weeks is the main cause of death and disability for neonates. The lower part of the uterus, called the cervix, is the opening or passage through which births, including preterm, occur. Ultrasound performed through the vagina can detect early changes of the cervix that predict preterm birth. This review assessed if knowledge of such changes can prevent preterm birth. Of the 13 trials identified, five (507 women) were eligible for inclusion. Currently, the studies reported are insufficient to recommend ultrasound of the cervix for prevention of preterm birth. Since there is a tendency for knowledge of the results of the cervical ultrasound to be associated with a lower chance of preterm birth in women who have uterine contractions and preterm labor, further research should be encouraged.