Uterus Types / Shapes and Risks of Miscarriages
The uterus is a pear-shaped organ which is located near the pelvis and is approximately 7.5cm long, 5cm wide and 2.5cm deep. The fundus is the upper part of the uterus and it’s where the fertilized egg develops into a baby.
Unfortunately, not all women are born equal and some may have a uterus which differs in shape, size, and structure. This condition is called abnormal uterus – or a uterine abnormality – and it can be considered as a risk factor for miscarriage and in some cases, a cause of recurrent miscarriages. As per various studies, between one woman in 30 to one in hundred have some form of uterine abnormalities.
Different Types of Uterus Abnormalities
Having a uterine abnormality doesn’t always increase the risk of miscarriage or increase the likelihood of a woman not having a healthy pregnancy. While some do increase the risk of miscarriage and mandate treatment, others might not cause any issues with the pregnancy – it all depends on the magnitude and severity of the condition. Moreover, it can also be fairly difficult to understand how many women are affected by this sort of abnormality, as it’s entirely possible to have one without knowing it.
Depending on the nature of the abnormality, the primary concern would be tackling the difficulties which might arise while carrying the baby for the whole nine months of pregnancy. This may also necessitate extra monitoring over the pregnancy period. Here are the various uterus abnormalities or various shapes of the uterus and the risks associated with it:
- Bicornuate uterus
Resembling the shape of a heart instead of a pear, this abnormality has a deep indentation at the top. Because of this peculiar shape, this type of uterus is also called as a uterus with two horns. Studies and statistics have revealed that approximately one in 250 women may be afflicted with this kind of condition while also being a common occurrence in women who have had a history of miscarriage. Although this condition is said not to increase the likelihood of a first-trimester miscarriage, it may increase the risk of a second-trimester miscarriage. Additionally, it also needs to be mentioned that most women with this condition don’t require surgery to repair it.
- Uterus didelphys
Also known as a double uterus, this is a slightly uncommon abnormality where there two separate, inner cavities – each having its own separate cervix and vagina. This condition is said to be prevalent in 1 in every 350 women and women affected with this condition should ideally consult an expert in high-risk pregnancy if they’re looking to conceive.
- Arcuate uterus
Arcuate uterus almost resembled a normal uterus expect for the fact that it has a dip or a slight indentation at the top. It is a very common uterine abnormality that’s known to affect one woman in 25. However, in most cases, this condition does not cause any problems during pregnancy.
- Septate uterus
Regarded as the common congenital uterine abnormality, this is where a muscular barrier or fibrous wall called as septum divides the uterus into two sections. The division can be either partial (partial septate uterus) which means that it’s extended only partly into the uterus or complete (complete septate uterus) where entails that it has reached all the way to the cervix. Partial septate are a far common occurrence in women and about one woman in 45 is affected by this condition. It also needs to be emphasized that a septate uterus, whether partial or complete, may make it more difficult for a woman to conceive and carry a baby to term. In such cases, health care providers often recommend surgery (hysteroscopy) to repair the uterus by removing the abnormal tissue thus helping reduce the risk of miscarriage.
- Unicornuate uterus
Also referred to as a one-sided uterus, in this condition the uterus is only half the size of a normal womb and there is only one fallopian tube present. The shape of the uterus appears like a single horn and is considered to be a rare abnormality, affecting about one woman in 1,000. Being a congenital condition, even surgery can’t make the uterus any larger and the only treatment as such is getting the rudimentary horn removed or a cervical cerclage to decrease the risk of preterm delivery. This condition is common in women with a history of miscarriage.
A health care provider makes use of various special tests to accurately diagnose one of these conditions. Some of the most common ones are detailed as below:
- Vaginal or 3-D ultrasound
- MRI or Magnetic resonance imaging
If any of these tests reveal there to be an issue with the uterus, the health care provider may recommend surgery, especially if the patient has had a history of miscarriage or premature birth.