Cervical length measurement - A pictorial review

Gillian Coleman, Ultrasound Department, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust and University of Derby

Preterm birth is one of the largest causes of neonatal morbidity. The cervical length measurement can be used during pregnancy to act as a predictor for the likelihood of preterm labour and can act as a tool for surveillance of the cervix to enable clinicians to guide any intervention or treatment in a timely fashion.

The measurement of cervical length is an advanced technique which is inherently difficult for trainee and newly qualified sonographers to become competent and confident in performing. Cervical length scanning is frequently performed by feto-maternal medicine specialists and obstetricians at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust with specific preterm birth clinics now being undertaken. Consequently, the number of cervical length scans performed by the obstetric ultrasound department is not as large which impacts on staff confidence in performing the technique.

The aim of this pictorial review is to outline the cervical anatomy which is visualised when performing a cervical length ultrasound examination. The optimum technique will be discussed alongside common pitfalls of the cervical length examination and how to overcome these. It is aimed that this review will act as a useful guide in the technique of performing the cervical length scan to aid the confidence of obstetric sonographers.

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