Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine

View all recommendations from this society

Released February 3, 2014

Don’t place a cerclage in women with short cervix who are pregnant with twins.

Women with a short cervical length who are pregnant with twins are at very high risk for delivering preterm, but the scientific data, including a meta-analysis of data published on this issue, shows that cerclage in this clinical situation not only is not beneficial, but may in fact be harmful, i.e., associated with an increase in preterm births.

These items are provided solely for informational purposes and are not intended as a substitute for consultation with a medical professional. Patients with any specific questions about the items on this list or their individual situation should consult their physician.

How The List Was Created

As a national medical specialty society, The Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine relies on the input of any number of its committees in the development of various documents. In the case of the items included in this list, the Publications Committee reviewed the literature and evidence from SMFM’s published documents for possible topics. A sub-group of the Committee initially developed a list of 10 items that the Committee then ranked for the top five with input and suggestions by the Society’s Executive Committee. The final list has been reviewed and approved by the Society’s Risk Management Committee and Executive Committee.

SMFM’s disclosure and conflict of interest policy can be found at


Durnwald CP, Momirova V, Rouse DJ, Caritis SN, Peaceman AM, Sciscione A, Varner MW, Malone FD, Mercer BM, Thorp JM Jr, Sorokin Y, Carpenter MW, Lo J, Ramin SM, Harper M, Spong CY; Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Maternal-Fetal Medicine Units Network (NICHD MFMU). Second trimester cervical length and risk of preterm birth in women with twin gestations treated with 17-alpha hydroxyprogesterone caproate. J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2010 Dec;23(12):1360–4.

Berghella V, Odibo AO, To MS, Rust OA, Althuisius SM. Cerclage for short cervix on ultrasonography: meta-analysis of trials using individual patient-level data. Obstet Gynecol. 2005;106:181–9.