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Cervical stitch advice

(36 Posts)
Alexandra6 Tue 14-May-13 15:17:51

Hi, I've only had one LLETZ treatment and they don't check the cervix as standard after one treatment. However I insisted the consultant take a look and he had a look and felt around with his fingers, and then said his advice would be to have a stitch now (at 13 weeks) as I'd had a fair amount removed. He didn't actually do a scan or anything so I asked if he can do a scan to try and check the length first (to be more accurate) and he agreed. So I'm now booked in for that scan and the surgery two days later at Homerton. I'm just looking for stories/support really, anyone with advice or good/bad experiences of stitches. Feeling sad and scared.

Pizdets Tue 14-May-13 15:42:51

Hi Alexandra, I was in your position about 7 weeks ago and posted on here, will try to find a link to my post as I got some really reassuring and lovely stories from a lot of ladies on here.

I had my stitch put in at 14 weeks. The procedure wasn't pleasant but was fairly straightforward and I was in and out within a day. Since then it's been pretty much 'business as usual' and I'm feeling much more relaxed about the pregnancy than I ever thought I would. I still walk the dog x2 per day, go to pregnancy yoga twice a week, do housework (more's the pity!) and see my friends, although I do try to take it a bit easy and walk slowly etc.

Main problems for me have been no swimming and no sex (latter is by far the worst!) but I suppose that's the way it goes. I'm now almost 21 weeks and had a good 20 week anomaly scan which has made me feel even better. There are a couple of other ladies who are also on here with a cerclage, including a lovely lady called RainboxFX (I think) who might spot your post. She was about where I am when I posted and must be nearing 30 weeks now, would be good to know how she's getting on!

I'll check back so feel free to PM me or ask more questions on here. I know how you feel, it's very scary and quite overwhelming but it's been a much more positive experience for me so far than I worried!


Pizdets Tue 14-May-13 15:45:48

Here's the link to my thread, hope it helps!

Alexandra6 Tue 14-May-13 16:06:26

Thanks piz I remember you and was trying to find your thread! I will read through smile Just can't wait to be as far as you are and feeling good about it all.

Did you get a second opinion on your cervix length? Am wondering if I should pay for a private second opinion?

Anyone else with any experiences, please post. Can't seem to find any risks to having it done as a precaution (as mine would be done at such an early stage it wouldn't be a rescue stitch) so I guess it's a no brainer but it would be good to hear opinions.

Alexandra6 Tue 14-May-13 16:08:44

Oh and piz, had you had LLETZ treatments? I only had one so seems funny that it's so bad, and also the doctor was going to do a stitch after just looking at it and feeling with his fingers so feels a bit unreliable?! Better to be safe though I guess if no negative risks to having it done?

Pizdets Tue 14-May-13 16:28:17

Hi Alexandra, I can see why you're concerned. The decision to do mine was very quick too, but it was based on an internal scan and I was just under the cut off (should have been 2.5cm and measured 2.3/2.4cm). They've re-scanned me since and it's got about 1/3 longer as the stitch has taken the pressure off.

I didn't get a second opinion as I'm at Queen Charlotte's in London and they're generally very well respected and are also doing quite a lot of research into cervical incompetence (I'm part of their research project now) so I feel I can trust them. Maybe go back to your doctor with your questions and see if they can put your mind at rest? When are you booked in for the internal scan?

I only had one LLETZ treatment too and had been told that it would probably not cause any problems, but I also had a very late surgical termination last year (18 weeks) when they found our little girl was very unwell, so I think that contributed too.

All my exams have been done by scan, although they do take a lot of swabs, but I believe this is for their research.

Sorry I can't help more!


Alexandra6 Tue 14-May-13 16:43:16

piz did you need antiobiotics afterwards? Really don't want to take them when pregnant. And yes I'd feel much better if he'd scanned properly rather than felt around and looked. He did say it's uneven, shorter at the front than the back, but he reckoned about 2cm-ish at the front.

Alexandra6 Tue 14-May-13 16:44:18

Oh and I'm booked for an internal scan on 28th. Weird he didn't offer that and I had to demand he do it first?

Pizdets Tue 14-May-13 16:56:36

Nope, no antibiotics, don't think you need them unless there's a problem.

Could you do some research and look at having it done at another hospital if you're not confident in your consultant? I know Prof Bennett at QCCH is well known and I think St Mary's also has a good reputation for that kind of thing? Both west London, though.

I have an appointment at the prem clinic on Monday and can ask them how it works if you like?


Alexandra6 Tue 14-May-13 17:08:30

Thanks again piz someone at work recommended a consultant and have sent him an email - but not sure how it works and if I can be referred to a specialist at a hospital which is nothing to do with my midwife treatment.

Kelly1814 Tue 14-May-13 17:44:07

Hello hello! I had a stitch 5 weeks ago at 14 weeks, Pizdets was a wonderful support to me ( thank you!).

I was in and out of hospital in a day, had a general anaesthetic. Recovery time was fine, I was signed off work for a week though and I'm glad I put my feet up.

I've had two lettzs, 5 colposcopies and cryosurgery, as a result have very little cervix left. Mine measures 2 cm in places and less than half a cm in others. As a result the procedure was very tricky and the doc wasn't so positive afterwards.

I'm now 19 weeks, baby growing fine, all is good. My cervix cant get any longer as physically it can't apparently, but it hasnt got shorter.

I won't lie, it was mentally tough but am feeling good and positive now.

My advice would be to get the stitch, and ASAP. The earlier it's done the better the success rates. Best of luck and do keep us posted.

Oh, I had antibiotics as a precautionary measure as one of the things that can make the stitch fail is infection and I took them just to be on the safe side.

Hope this helps smile

Plinky82 Tue 14-May-13 19:47:48

Hello ladies,
I'm sorry to hi-jack this thread but I'm hoping you might be able to help.

My daughter was born at 33 weeks in 2011 and is doing well now; I am now 22 weeks pregnant with number 2 and had a cervical length scan at 19 weeks which showed my cervix was 2.8- 2.9 cm. The consultant had said that 3cm was the aim and I didn't need a stitch as my daughter had arrived at 33 weeks.
I have an appointment with a consultant next week to follow up but I have done too much googling and am worried that the length should actually be a cause for concern.

My question is do any of you know what cervical length should be at certain stages of pregnancy and whether I should be worried?!

Thanks for reading!

Alexandra6 Tue 14-May-13 21:45:42

plinky have you googled (presumed so)

I'm totally confused by info online though as it seems an elective stitch at my stage is rare (usually emergency later) and also it seems the measurements aren't that accurate and vary. No one else seems to have been advised to have a stitch just as precaution at 12 weeks like I have, especially after just one lletz. So glad yours is working well kelly can understand why you went for it and sounds like absolutely the right decision.

Help!! I don't know what to do!

Pizdets Tue 14-May-13 21:50:22

Kelly, good to hear you're feeling more positive. Pinky, I'm really sorry but don't know much about cervix length at our stage of pregnancy as I've had the stitch in for about 6 weeks now. I had a scan at c 18 weeks and think mine measured about 3.1cmx which they were happy with.

If they scanned yours and didn't mention funelling or thinning then that sounds positive. Hopefully someone who knows a bit more can advise soon.

Alexandra, keeping fingers crossed for you, get in touch if you need anything.


DachsandPup Tue 14-May-13 22:07:21

I've not had any treatments but i lost twins at 20 weeks in 2011 due to PROM and early dilation. I had a precautionary stitch with my next pregnancy, at 14 weeks, and my daughter is now 13 months. I'm now pg again - currently 16 weeks - and have had another precautionary stitch. To be honest, if a stitch will be required, it's less risky and more likely to be successful the earlier they do it, because if they wait for the cervix to start shortening they have less to work with and it's more likely to be unsuccessful...

Alexandra6 Tue 14-May-13 22:37:28

Thanks dachs sorry about your twins and I'm so glad you have your daughter and wish you all the best for this one.

It does seem I'm unusual in that I've been offered the stitch with no history of loss and just one lletz (although I think the amount taken away each lletz can vary) but it does sound like a precautionary stitch would make sense anyway. Just so worried about the risks/infection and doing more harm than good. Will never forgive myself either way if something goes wrong. Been googling for nearly 7 hours now and am none the wiser, just anxious and confused. My gut is saying get a second opinion and get the stitch, but am so scared sad

Kelly1814 Wed 15-May-13 06:44:04

my doc told me that a 'normal' cervix was 5 cms at least, so at 2 or less i had no qualms whatsoever about having the stitch.

even one lettz can take away a lot of cervix so every case is different.

the risks are really very very tiny and much better when planned and done in advance rather than leaving it and risking having to have an emergency one.

i have no regrets at all about mine.

good luck alexandra, i do completely understand how stressful it is. i long to have the little things to worry about and just enjoy this pregnancy, i am trying but it is tough.

there are lots and lots of great success stories from ladies who have had stitches and healthy pregnancies so i focus on those.

Alexandra6 Wed 15-May-13 13:03:12

Thanks Kelly, it's so good to hear from people who've had it. I thought there would be more but maybe it's quite rare - although sounds like you've heard more success stories?

Going to see another doctor now for (hopefully) a second opinion. The original doctor just didn't fill be with confidence by just having a quick look and feel and saying it "felt a bit short"?! Most people seem to have it done after having proper measurements/scans or at a later stage when it starts to shorten (although my doctor did say an early one is better though of course they can't be as sure that I will need it).

Can't even look at my beautiful baby pic without sobbing, having a really hard time with it! My biggest worry is the whole 'if it ain't broken, don't fix it' - just wasn't expecting to have to make a difficult decision when it's so early about what might go wrong.

Kelly1814 Wed 15-May-13 13:12:01

alexandra, i do know how you feel. i have told very few people about the pregnancy due to the stitch and not feeling confident it would hold, (work don't know and am 19 weeks!) and a friend who does know just pointed out that this is such a special time in my life, i should try to enjoy it. my SIL also said oh it's the happiest time of your life...this is easy to say when you are not in daily fear of losing your baby and at high risk. i would love that my biggest worry was can i eat goats cheese or runny eggs!

try not to be upset, i know it is easier said than done. the procedure really is simple and once it's done you'll know that you did everything in your power that you could.

also, some women with a short cervix don't get it diagnosed at all, and then have real problems or miscarry etc... i consider myself lucky that i knew, and could do something about it.

let us know how the second opinion went? and if you want to chat any time am here xx

Alexandra6 Wed 15-May-13 15:45:27

Just had my second opinion - he thinks the cervix looks "ok" at 300mm-ish (he said that was average but it should be longer at this stage surely?). He did say it's really hard to tell, as at this stage the placenta is against the cervix and it's hard to tell what's cervix and what's placenta! Was anyone else told this? His advice is to be rescanned and not stitch now. He's also going to call my other consultant to talk about why the advice was different (is this a bit like cheating on my usual consultant?! Hopefully he'll understand why I went to someone else, as it's so important - especially as the advice is different!)

I am worried that so much of the decision is based on previous loss - I can't BEAR to face a late loss before they will do everything they can to prevent something going wrong. I did ask what are the reasons for not getting it done as a precaution for me and he said risk of infection and also they don't know for sure how much it actually helps and they don't know if it might end up doing more harm than good in someone who wouldn't have ended up needing it.

However no one can say I don't need it! Wow this is horrible. I'm going back to see the same guy in two weeks for a rescan (he said three, I said two!). I also want to keep my stitch surgery appointment which would be the day after at the other hospital and have another scan there too but I'm worried they'll get annoyed by me doubling up. However as clearly opinions differ, surely it makes sense to get more opinions.

Argh. I almost wish the opinion was unanimous 'get it done now' as it's making me worried we'll leave it too late and the worst will happen and I honestly just couldn't cope. Really wish I was worrying about goats cheese and runny eggs smile x

Pizdets Wed 15-May-13 15:57:21

Hi Alexandra,

You know what? That sounds like good news to me! I was definitely told that 2.5cm was the cut-off for a consideration for the stitch, so 3cm is safely over that (I was only 2.3cm so not much below).

My stitch went in at 15 weeks, so you have time for another scan and to make a more informed decision. I'm sorry your consultant hasn't filled you with confidence, it's the not knowing which is the worst!

Hoping that you can try and put it out of your mind for a couple of weeks at least, you're not in immediate danger of a miscarriage as the baby is so small, from what I understand.


firstdayofnewme Wed 15-May-13 16:10:18

Hi Alexandra,

Congratulations - that's great news. I agree with piz - I was told that they didn't worry in the slightest unless it was under 2.5cm. I didn't really trust what they were telling me so did some of my own research and found some extensive medical research from July 2011 which stated that average cervix length at 11-14 weeks is 31mm - so your bang on normal. Sounds to me like you don't have a decision to make. grin

Alexandra6 Wed 15-May-13 16:13:16

Thanks piz I saw my baby on the scan today again and it looked so lovely, honestly not trying to be dramatic but feel like my heart is literally breaking with panic about my body letting it down! Thanks for the reassurance, you're right, two weeks isn't long and then they can take another look. I want to keep seeing both consultants so I get both opinions, am going to beg and hope they don't get annoyed! confused

Alexandra6 Wed 15-May-13 16:14:06

Ah thanks firstday I could cry with relief at that research. Another reason why I should try and relax a bit for two weeks smile

AllBellyandBoobs Wed 15-May-13 17:22:03

Hi, i had LLETZ and a cone biopsy a few years before getting pregnant. I had a short cervix (2.5cm if i remember correctly). I was monitored every 3 weeks using an internal probe and my cervix actually grew, it was 5cm when i was discharged from clinic at 28 weeks. I think you're right to push for regular scans. Best of luck!

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