All shapes and sizes
The shape of the uterus is determined at birth. A typical uterus is shaped like a cone or upside-down triangle with a smooth, curved top. Abnormal forms adopt slightly different shapes, sizes, and even positions. The most common forms are bicornuate, septate, and didelphys. Bicornuate wombs have an indentation at the top and a heart-shaped appearance. A septate uterus has a deeper indentation and band of tissue that almost splits the womb. Both shapes can affect pregnancy through increased miscarriages. A bicornuate uterus has a risk of miscarriage in the second trimester, while a septate uterus has a high risk in the first trimester.
Didelphic and unicornate uteri
There are other rare formations of the uterus that severely impacts future pregnancy. Didelphys wombs go even deeper, dividing the womb into 2 separate cavities. There is also the rare unicornuate womb, where only one side develops. In rare cases, women with a unicornuate uterus can develop a second, smaller uterus or cervix. Each type of uterus can affect pregnancy or cause unwanted symptoms like pelvic pain.
How would I know if my uterus affects my pregnancy?
Most women with uterine abnormalities show no symptoms and do not know until pregnancy. Some women can have a healthy pregnancy and birth with an abnormal uterus. However, the shape of the womb comes into question when the woman tries to get pregnant and shows symptoms. For instance, some women may have irregular periods, pelvic pain, miscarriages, or premature births. Others may have difficulty conceiving. When symptoms arise, an OB/GYN can perform an ultrasound or hysteroscopy to determine if the uterus affects pregnancy.
The doctor can create an effective plan after confirming the shape of the uterus. Most cases would require close monitoring through ultrasound scans. Some women may benefit from minimally invasive surgery called a laparoscopy if there are still symptoms. The surgeon can make small incisions to improve the shape of the uterus. If infertility or repeated miscarriages persist, patients should consider alternative options like surrogacy.
You’re in good shape
An abnormal uterus can make some women anxious about current or future pregnancies. Some irregular shapes have high chances of infertility, miscarriage, or pre-term births. However, all is not lost. Many women go on to have successful pregnancies with abnormally-shaped uteri. In the event of repeated miscarriages, treatment options can improve the chances of a successful pregnancy.