Uterine Abnormalities And Pregnancy Loss

Repeated miscarriages can be a devastating occurrence for women or couples eager to start or grow a family. In almost all cases, there is an underlying cause. An abnormally shaped uterus can be an especially concerning reason. Congenital uterine abnormalities (CUA) refer to an irregular shape, size, or structure of the uterus that was present from birth. There are also cases of uterine abnormalities that develop over time. A CUA can prevent the safe implantation of an embryo or the natural growth of a fetus. Women with uterine abnormalities have several options to help tackle the issue head-on.


Improper uterine development

Congenital uterine abnormalities impact implantation and lead to miscarriages, defined as the loss of a pregnancy before 20 weeks. There are several types of congenital uterine abnormalities. A double uterus occurs when the uterus develops into 2 separate channels and organs, increasing the risk of pregnancy loss. A bicornuate uterus forms a heart shape, giving the organ 2 distinct cavities. Other forms include septate and arcuate, which directly impact endometrial cavities. A rarer unicornuate uterus occurs when only half the uterus forms. The reduced space limits fetal growth and increases pregnancy loss rates. Some uterine abnormalities may prevent healthy blood flow to parts of the uterus, which is essential for gestation.

Diagnosis is the first step

Most women are unaware of the condition until there are fertility challenges. At this point, the hopeful woman or couple should visit a doctor for an assessment. The healthcare provider can confirm a uterine abnormality with a physical exam, ultrasound, and medical history. Additional imaging tests like hysterosalpingogram (HSG) can provide an even clearer picture of the shape of the uterus. An accurate diagnosis helps the medical team recommend the right course of action to improve the patient’s chances of pregnancy.

Time to take action

Women with a differently shaped uterus can have natural pregnancies. Yet, for most, this abnormality can cause long-term fertility challenges. Uterine abnormalities often lead to poor blood flow, low implantation rates, and recurrent pregnancy loss. The good news is that treatment options are available. Surgery for uterine abnormalities, for instance, is an effective solution. Using minimally invasive means, a surgeon can make incisions to influence the shape, remove obstructions, or enhance the blood flow of the uterus. Hormone medication can also help but may not produce results without surgery.

Consider ART

There are cases where surgical treatment does not improve the chances of pregnancy. Should that happen, in vitro fertilization (IVF) is another viable option. This innovative process allows a fertility clinic to create healthy embryos using sperm and egg samples. The woman will take fertility medication to increase egg production and prepare for implantation. With IVF, the fertility team can bypass any obstructions due to an abnormally shaped uterus and monitor the embryo closely. For severe cases, gestational surrogacy, where another woman without a CUA carries the child, is the best option.

Recurrent miscarriages are not your future

Pregnancy loss can be devastating for any couple trying to get pregnant. The situation is unfortunate and stressful, but there are options available to improve pregnancy chances. The first step is to get a full reproductive assessment to find the root cause of the repeated miscarriages. If the doctor discovers a congenital uterine abnormality, the next step is treatment. Surgery or procedures like IVF can bring renewed hope to women with CUAs who struggle to get pregnant naturally.

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