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Ultrasound assessment of the gravid cervix to assess for risk of spontaneous preterm birth

Spontaneous preterm birth is a health problem rising in incidence globally and a leading cause of perinatal morbidity and mortality.

Sonographers and ultrasound imaging play an important role in assessing a pregnant patient’s risk of spontaneous preterm birth because ultrasound imaging can detect a shortened cervix, one of the most common contributors to spontaneous preterm birth.

This guideline has been developed to assist sonographers in making clinical decisions on how and when to assess the gravid cervix. Specifically, it provides guidance on when and how to assess the gravid cervix. 

Click the link below to view and download:


Supplementary Documents

The following supplementary files are designed to provide additional explanations and education relating to the clinical guideline. Click the image to view each document.


Image Gallery

The image gallery provides examples of different sonographic images of the gravid cervix.

Patient Information

The patient information can be used or adapted for use in medical imaging facilities. It may be used as a patient handout, or as a guide to assist verbal explanations provided by sonographers to patients.

Short Form Guide

The short form guide is a condensed version of the full clinical guideline for easy reference. It includes a summary of the recommendations illustrated using a flow chart, a list of risk factors for spontaneous preterm birth, ‘how to’ guidance for transvaginal, transabdominal and transperineal sonography of the gravid cervix, minimum sonographer reporting requirements and an example worksheet. It is recommended that sonographers read the full clinical guideline prior to referring to this short form version.


A detailed description of the methodology used to develop the clinical guideline is provided in the appendices.

Evidence Tables

The evidence tables summarise the underlying level of evidence on which each recommendation is based on.

Online Learning Module

To assist sonographers, the ASA has developed a special edition Online Learning Module to guide your learning and test your knowledge in making clinical decisions on how and when to assess the gravid cervix. Complete the Online Learning Module and gain 1.5 CPD points. 

Start the Online Learning Module 

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