Combined therapy with vaginal progesterone, Arabin cervical pessary and cervical cerclage to prevent preterm delivery in high-risk women

Shimrit Shor, Ariel Zimerman, Ron Maymon*, Michal Kovo, Maya Wolf, Ifat Wiener, Jacob Bar, Yaakov Melcer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Purpose: Preterm birth is the leading cause of perinatal morbidity and mortality. Vaginal progesterone cervical cerclage and Arabin cervical pessary are considered as preventive treatments in women at risk for preterm birth. However, there is less evidence as to which of these interventions is the preferred management. The current study aims was to compare the outcome of pregnancy in women with a short cervical length managed with 4 different treatment protocols: therapy with vaginal progesterone, cervical cerclage and an Arabin cervical pessary (group A), Arabin cervical pessary and vaginal progesterone (group B), cervical cerclage and vaginal progesterone (group C), or vaginal progesterone alone (group D). Methods: A retrospective cohort study of singleton pregnancies managed in three tertiary medical centers between September 2011 and December 2017. Results: In the study period, 286 pregnant women underwent vaginal ultrasonography between 15 and 29 weeks gestation. They all had a short cervical length (≤25 mm). Of these, 18 (6.3%), 120 (41.9%), 38 (13.3%) and 110 (38.5%) patients received treatment classifying them into groups A, B, C, and D, respectively. A significantly higher rate of patients in group A had either a history of cervical incompetence (44.4 versus 9.2 versus 7.9 and 0.9%, respectively, p =.0001) or a cervical procedure (61.1 versus 37.5 versus 28.9 and 27.3%, respectively, p =.027) compared to patients in group B, C, and D. Despite having a shorter cervical length at recruitment in group A (median (range); 14.5 (0–25) versus 15 (0–25) versus 15.5 (0–25) and 19 (2–25) mm, respectively, p =.002) the rate of spontaneous preterm delivery <37-week gestation was similar across groups (44.4 versus 32.5 versus 36.8 versus 32.7%, respectively, p =.665). Conclusion: A combined rescue therapy involving vaginal progesterone, cervical cerclage, and Arabin cervical pessary emerges as a promising management strategy in pregnant women who have a short cervical length and a high background risk for preterm delivery. This combination may prolong their pregnancy and safely bring them near term. Additional studies are needed to confirm these preliminary findings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2154-2158
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine
Issue number13
StatePublished - 2021


  • Cervical pessary
  • preterm birth
  • progesterone
  • short cervical length
  • transvaginal ultrasound


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