If you have been diagnosed with an arcuate uterus, it's not the end of the world. Many women
with uterine abnormalities go on to have healthy full term pregnancies. I was diagnosed
with an arcuate uterus. I had a normal pregnancy and normal delivery even at the age
of 44. There are many factors which may affect how a uterine abnormality will affect a
pregnancy. The severity of the abnormality may be a factor and where the pregnancy
implantation occurs may also be a factor. This article addresses the different types of
Only about 3 to 4 percent of women have an abnormal uterus. But that just means detecting the problem is that much more difficult. And it can be a problem with serious consequences,
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine
lists seven kinds of abnormal uterus. They all derive from defects in two tubes,
called the Mullerian ducts that are responsible for shaping the uterus
during fetal development. If the Mullerian ducts don't form or perform
as they should, the result is an abnormal uterus.
Here are the seven
kinds of abnormal uterus and ways to have a healthy pregnancy in spite
Arcuate. A small "dent" in the top of an otherwise
normally shaped uterus distinguishes this condition. The Mullerian ducts have
fused but have not reabsorbed completely. The problem does not seem to have much
effect on normal pregnancy so seldom requires treatment.
Septate. The uterus takes on a Y shape because of tissue extending part way or all the way down the middle.
It can cause reduced blood flow to the fetus and hinder development. A procedure called a hysteroscopic metroplasty can repair the problem
in outpatient surgery.
Unicornuate. In this case, one Mullerian duct fails to form and the uterus takes on a horned shape
with just one fallopian tube. If the embryo winds up in the partly formed horn and the horn is not attached to the uterus, the horn might rupture
when the embryo gets too big. If surgery is done, about half of women with the condition will be able to have a successful pregnancy.
Bicornuate. A heart-shaped uterus is the result when the Mullerian ducts do not join at the top. Because of the large "dent" at the top
of the uterus, the fetus does not have as much room to develop. Miscarriage or premature delivery could occur. The uterus can be repaired surgically.
Didelphys.Although the two Mullerian ducts develop, they do not fuse and create the uterus. Instead, two smaller uteruses
form. The restricted space can result in miscarriage or premature delivery. The problem
can be surgically repaired.
DES-related. The drug diethylstilbestrol (DES), taken during pregnancy,
increases the chance of having a baby girl with an abnormal uterus. Premature delivery and miscarriage can result. Cervical
cerclage can prevent early delivery in affected women.
Agenesis or Hypoplasia. Women with this condition
cannot carry a fetus because they are born without a vagina, cervix, fallopian tubes and, possibly, no uterus at all. However, it
is possible for these women to have children by surrogate using eggs from their ovaries.
Although an abnormal uterus is rare,
fertility doctors recommend that women experiencing infertility rule out the possibility with a thorough physical examination. Such
an exam can prevent problems during pregnancy and increase the chances of carrying a baby to term.
The Reproductive Resource Center
provides in vitro fertilization (IVF), egg donation and other services in Kansas City and the surrounding area, helping women and couples
with infertility reach their reproductive goals.
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