What is a Bicornuate Uterus?

Oct 12, 2000

Infertility is a difficult road many couples go through. There are many causes of infertility, of course. Too many to go through at once. There is one condition specifically I’d like to write a little about because it is part of my life. The condition is having a bicornuate uterus. Disclaimer: I am not in any way a medical professional. The information I present is based on research I have done to find out more about this condition. If you suspect you have an infertility problem, seek medical advice from your doctor for your best course of action.

What in the world is a bicornuate uterus you ask? It is a birth defect where the uterus does not form as it should. Instead of one whole uterus, there are usually two separate ‘horns’ that form the top of the uterus. If a fertilized egg implants in one of the horns, that pregnancy usually is not viable as the horns do have the normal uterine tissue to support a pregnancy, nor the space for a baby to grow. A bicornuate uterus can be associated with miscarriage, preterm delivery, fetal growth retardation, and an abnormal fetal presentation (breech or transverse), and sometimes various birth defects of the baby. A bicornuate uterus can be diagnosed by a combination of several techniques: ultrasound, MRI, HSG, hysteroscopy, or laparascopy.

Normally babies turn head down towards the end of pregnancy. However, with a bicornuate uterus, the baby may fit better with the head up so there's a higher incidence of breech positions. But the baby may also turn head down, it depends on the shape of the uterus and the baby's size. It's not true that every woman with a bicornuate uterus will carry a breech baby, and not every pregnancy a woman has will be breech. Pregnancies in women with a bicornuate uterus have a 55 -63% fetal survival rate with a 15 -25% rate of preterm delivery. If a woman is known to have a bicornuate uterus, her pregnancies will most likely be considered high-risk from what I’m told.

Many times a bicornuate uterus will go undetected until a woman delivers a baby. At If the doctor needs to examine the uterus after delivery, they may discover that it has an unusual shape. If a c-section is done the irregular shape of the uterus will probably be noticed.

For some good ultrasound and other pictures of a bicornuate uterus, visit http://matweb.hcuge.ch/matweb/Selected_images/uterus__congenital_anomalies.htm

My Story
I stopped taking the birth control pill when my husband and I decided to try to conceive. As time went on, my menstrual cycles became more and more irregular and painful. In 1998 I decided it was time to seek medical help. The doctor suspected that I had endometriosis and gave me a few choices.

After six months of debating with myself, I decided to have a laparascopy done. He said he would do an HSG while I was under anesthesia too. Turned out I did have a some endometriosis, and a lot of adhesions. My tubes were open though. Now, why he didn’t recognize my bicornuate uterus at that time I don’t know. He lasered the endometriosis and adhesions and I was sent on my way. “They” say the best time to conceive in those circumstances is the next six months. Well, it took us the full six months. My cycles had returned to normal, and when I least expected it and had given up on getting pregnant, it happened.

Most of my pregnancy was uneventful. I had NO morning sickness, just a lot of fatigue and heartburn. At about 12 weeks I had bright red bleeding while at a church function. First, my friends prayed over me, then drove me to my doctors office. The bleeding was slowing down by then and the doctor ordered an ultrasound. When I was done with that and he gave me the report, it was that I had a tear in the placenta and it was lying low next to my cervix, but the baby was fine. He sent me home on bedrest for the weekend. I never had another problem after that.

At 37 weeks, my baby was still in the breech position. The doctors decided to try turning the baby manually and I was scheduled for two days later. The procedure was unsuccessful, the baby wouldn’t budge, so the doctor scheduled me for a c-section early the next week. The c-section went smooth and once he had my baby out he could see that I had a bicornuate uterus.

I feel so blessed to have my daughter. After doing research and seeing what the possibilities could have been with this condition, I am so grateful that neither I nor she has had any problems. She is the light of our lives and we are just in awe over watching her grow and learn.

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