Change in cervical length after arrested preterm labor and risk of preterm birth

K.N. Rennert, S.H. Breuking, E. Schuit, M.N. Bekker, M. Woiski, M.A. De Boer, M. Sueters, H.C.J. Scheepers, M.T.M. Franssen, E. Pajkrt, B.W.J. Mol, M. Kok, F.J.R. Hermans*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objective To assess the association between preterm birth and cervical length after arrested preterm labor in high-risk pregnant women.Methods In this post-hoc analysis of a randomized clinical trial, transvaginal cervical length was measured in women whose contractions had ceased 48 h after admission for threatened preterm labor. At admission, women were defined as having a high risk of preterm birth based on a cervical length of < 15 mm or a cervical length of 15-30 mm with a positive fetal fibronectin test. Logistic regression analysis was used to investigate the association of cervical length measured at least 48 h after admission and of the change in cervical length between admission and at least 48 h later, with preterm birth before 34 weeks' gestation and delivery within 7 days after admission.Results A total of 164 women were included in the analysis. Women whose cervical length increased between admission for threatened preterm labor and 48 h later (32%; n=53) were found to have a lower risk of preterm birth before 34weeks compared with women whose cervical length did not change (adjusted odds ratio (aOR), 0.24 (95% CI, 0.09-0.69)). The risk in women with a decrease in cervical length between the two time points was not different from that in women with no change in cervical length (aOR, 1.45 (95% CI, 0.62-3.41)). Moreover, greater absolute cervical length after 48 h was associated with a lower risk of preterm birth before 34 weeks (aOR, 0.90 (95% CI, 0.84-0.96)) and delivery within 7 days after admission (aOR, 0.91 (95% CI, 0.82-1.02)). Sensitivity analysis in women randomized to receive no intervention showed comparable results.Conclusion Our study suggests that the risk of preterm birth before 34weeks is lower in women whose cervical length increases between admission for threatened preterm labor and at least 48 h later when contractions had ceased compared with women in whom cervical length does not change or decreases. (C) 2021 The Authors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)750-756
Number of pages7
JournalUltrasound in Obstetrics & Gynecology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2021


  • arrested preterm labor
  • cervical length
  • change in cervical length
  • preterm birth
  • threatened preterm labor
  • TIME

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