(HealthDay News) – For women with a short cervix, use of a cervical pessary significantly reduces the risk of spontaneous delivery before 34 weeks, according to a randomized trial published online April 3 in The Lancet.

To investigate whether insertion of a cervical pessary in women with a short cervix reduces the rate of early preterm delivery, Maria Goya, MD, from the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona in Spain, and colleagues conducted a randomized controlled trial of 385 pregnant women. Participants, who were identified at gestational weeks 20–23 as having a cervical length of ≤25mm, were randomized to cervical pessary (192 women) or expectant management (193 women). One hundred ninety women in each group were analyzed.

The researchers found that, compared with the expectant management group, spontaneous delivery before 34 weeks was significantly less frequent in the pessary group (6% vs. 27%; odds ratio, 0.18). There were no serious adverse effects reported with use of the cervical pessary.

“The cervical pessary is an affordable, safe, and reliable alternative for prevention of preterm birth in a population of appropriately selected at-risk pregnant women who have been screened for cervical length assessment at the midtrimester scan,” the authors write.

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