Sonographic measurement of cervical length in threatened preterm labor in singleton pregnancies with intact membranes
Objectives: To predict when delivery will occur, within 48 h and 7 days of presentation and before 35 weeks' gestation in women presenting with threatened preterm labor. Methods: Sonographic measurement of cervical length was carried out in 510 women with singleton pregnancies presenting with threatened preterm labor and intact membranes at 24 to 33 + 6 weeks of gestation. The measurement was not taken into account in the subsequent management of the pregnancies. The outcome measures were delivery within 48 h and 7 days of presentation and delivery before 35 weeks. Results: The median gestation at presentation was 30 + 1 (range, 24 to 33 + 6) weeks and the median cervical length was 25 (range, 1-51) mm. Delivery within 48 h of presentation occurred in 21 (4.1%) cases, delivery within 7 days occurred in 43 (8.4%) and delivery before 35 weeks occurred in 76 (14.9%). Logistic regression analysis demonstrated that the only significant independent predictor of delivery within 48 h was cervical length (odds ratio (OR), 0.73; 95% CI, 0.65-0.81) and for delivery within 7 days the independent predictors were cervical length (OR, 0.69; 95% CI, 0.63-0.76) and vaginal bleeding (OR, 19.42; 95% CI, 3.87-97.4). In the subgroup of women who did not deliver within 7 days of presentation, the incidence of delivery before 35 weeks was 7.1% (33 of 467) and the only significant independent predictor of such delivery was cervical length (OR, 0.92; 95% CI, 0.88-0.96, P < 0.0001). There was no significant independent contribution to any of the outcome measures from ethnic group, maternal age, gestational age, body mass index, parity, cigarette smoking or use of tocolytics. Conclusions: In women with threatened preterm labor sonographic measurement of cervical length helps to distinguish between true and false labor and to predict early preterm delivery. Copyright © 2005 ISUOG. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.