Special Procedure At Banner Helps Reduce Future Miscarriages

Rainbow babies are babies who are born after the mother has lost one or more babies.  They are called rainbow babies because like rainbows, they bring joy after a storm.  Banner University Medical Center offers laparoscopic abdominal cerclage.  In this procedure, the surgeon makes two to four tiny incisions in the abdomen which enables the him/her to reach the cervix with minimal disruption to the mother’s anatomy.

Typically, the cervix remains closed until the end of a pregnancy when a baby is ready to be born.  For some women, the cervix opens too soon, and the baby is born too early.  Physicians recommend laparoscopic abdominal cerclage for women who have previously lost babies in the second trimester because the cervix opened prematurely.  It is also advised for women whose cervix begins to open too soon in any pregnancy, or who have had babies before 34 weeks because of a short cervix.

The advantages of laparoscopic abdominal cerclage include being able to repeat the procedure in subsequent pregnancies, a more secure stitch, and the elimination of foreign body material entering the vagina.  The procedure can even be performed before conception for women who have a shortened or absent cervix. 

Laparoscopic abdominal cerclage is typically done at 12 weeks of pregnancy.  It is considered a safe procedure, though there are some risks involved.  These risks include injury to bladder or other organs near the incision, premature labor or delivery, bleeding, infection, or tearing of the cervix.  The chances of an incident are very small.  The surgery is performed under anesthesia.  Birth will be by caesarean section.

During the procedure, the surgeon uses a laparoscope to perform the surgery.  A laparoscope is a thin lighted tube that is inserted through a small incision in the abdomen.  The scope allows the surgeon to see inside the abdomen by sending images to a video screen.  The abdomen is filled with carbon dioxide to make space for the surgeon to work.  Surgical tools are inserted through the other holes.  Special surgical tape is wrapped around the cervix and tied in a knot to close the cervix.  Finally, the incisions are closed with stitches or staples.

Recovery time is generally 4-5 days; sometimes this requires bedrest.  Some women are released from the hospital the day of the procedure, while others are kept overnight for observation to ensure against premature labor.  Women should not return to work or exercise routines until they are cleared by their physician. 

Laparoscopic abdominal cerclage is one example of the ways modern medicine is improving the lives of women – and their rainbow babies who bring so much joy into the world.