• cervical length;
  • sonography;
  • triplets;
  • fetal reduction



To evaluate the application of transvaginal sonography assessment of cervical length before fetal reduction for predicting spontaneous preterm birth in triplet gestations reduced to twins.


This retrospective study was conducted at the ultrasound unit of a university-affiliated municipal hospital. The study cohort consisted of 25 women with triplet gestations following ovulation induction or assisted-reproduction techniques who underwent fetal reduction to twins. Cervical length was assessed via transvaginal sonography before fetal reduction, and data on pregnancy outcome were retrieved from maternal records and/or maternal interviews.


Cervical length (mean ± SD) at reduction was 4.0 ± 0.85 (range: 1.2–5.5). Five women were excluded from statistical evaluation because pregnancy complications precluded spontaneous delivery. Two of 3 (67%) women with a cervical length of <3.5 cm delivered prior to 33 weeks' gestation compared with 1/17 (6%) women with a cervical length ≥3.5 cm. This difference was statistically significant (P < 0.05). The sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value of cervical lengths <3.5 cm to predict delivery prior to 33 gestational weeks was 67%, 94%, 67%, and 94%, respectively.


Measurement of cervical length in triplet pregnancies before fetal reduction provides useful predictive information on the risk for preterm delivery. © 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Clin Ultrasound33:329–332, 2005