What is a tilted uterus?
In most women, the uterus as a fairly straight shape and is positioned vertically within the pelvis. A uterus that is tilted points backward, meaning toward the back wall of the pelvis. In medical terminology, a tilted uterus generally is called retroverted uterus, although a variation on this is called an anteverted uterus, meaning that the uterus is tilted more upward than usual, tilted upward toward the bladder. Such uteri also can be called malpositioned.
How common is a tilted uterus in pregnancy?
Approximately 19 percent of women have a retroverted uterus. Since any type of malpositioned uterus can increase the chances that a pregnancy will end very close to the beginning of pregnancy, the percentage of pregnant women with such a condition may be somewhat lower than the 19 percent of women in the general population who have the condition. Thus, retroverted uterus has been reported to occur in roughly 11 to 19 percent of pregnant women from the point of conception.
How is a tilted uterus diagnosed?
A tilted uterus can be detected on a routine pelvic exam. Ultrasonography can provide your physician with additional information that can aid the diagnosis.
Does a tilted uterus cause problems during pregnancy?
First of all, early in pregnancy, a retroverted uterus can hide a pregnancy, making it tricky to detect the pregnancy on ultrasound exam. Next, certain abnormal shapes of the uterus can make it difficult for a pregnancy to progress. As a pregnancy grows, a retroverted uterus increases the risk of bleeding and can lead to whats called incarceration. This means that the uterus is pulling tight on the developing baby, and tightens increasingly as the pregnancy advances, akin to a Chinese finger trap. This can put both you and the baby in grave danger by cutting off blood supply to the placenta, plus it makes it likely that you will need a cesarean section. It also can lead to retention of urine, putting you at risk of urinary tract infection.
Does a tilted uterus during pregnancy cause problems for the baby?
Yes. If the uterus is retroverted, this increases the risk of spontaneous abortion (miscarriage). If the baby makes it through most of the pregnancy to the point of being viable, and the uterus stays tilted, it is likely that there will be problems during delivery if a cesarean section is not performed. On the other hand, it is also possible that the growth of the baby will cause the uterus to straighten out by about the 12th week of pregnancy, such that the pregnancy will be normal from that point onward.
What to consider about taking medications when you are pregnant:
- The risks to yourself and your baby if you do not treat the tilted uterus
- The risks and benefits of each medication you use when you are pregnant
- The risks and benefits of each medication you use when you are breastfeeding
What should I know about using medication to treat a tilted uterus during pregnancy?
The principal category of medication that you might possibly need in the event that you are pregnant with a retroverted uterus is an antibiotic treatment for a urinary tract infection should one develop. Such an infection may also give you a fever. Thus, in addition to antibiotics for the infection, you may take medication for fever, such as acetaminophen or paracetamol. These fever medicines are very low-risk, as long as you do not have a liver problem, and the antibiotic regimen can be selected so as to be low risk during pregnancy.
Who should NOT stop taking medication for a tilted uterus in pregnancy?
Everybody who is given antibiotics for a urinary tract infection that develops as a consequence of a tilted uterus needs to complete the course of therapy. Otherwise, you and the baby are at greater risk for severe complications. As for the fever medications, you should take them as needed, because fever itself can harm the baby.
What should I know about choosing a medication for tilted uterus in pregnancy?
You may find Pregistrys expert reports about the individual medications to treat tilted uterus here. Additional information can also be found in the sources listed at the end of this report.
What should I know about taking a medication for tilted uterus when I am breastfeeding?
If you have a lower urinary tract infection as a consequence of urine retention during pregnancy with a tilted uterus, an antibiotic can be chosen that minimizes the risk to a nursing infant. If you have an upper urinary tract infection (an infection that has moved beyond the bladder to the kidneys), or if you have certain other complications, the antibiotic choices are more limited, but you may be too ill to breastfeed anyway in such cases.
What alternative therapies besides medications are there to treat a tilted uterus during pregnancy?
As noted earlier, a tilted uterus may cause problems, the worst problems involving, or resulting from, incarceration during pregnancy, but the situation also may resolve on its own. The main therapy for a tilted uterus, therefore, is watchful waiting.
What can I do for myself and my baby when I have a tilted uterus during pregnancy?
Be patient, go to your routine obstetric checkups and be aware that in the end, you may experience a normal pregnancy.
Resources for tilted uterus during pregnancy:
For more information about tilted uterus during pregnancy, contact http://www.womenshealth.gov/ (800-994-9662 [TDD: 888-220-5446]) or read the following articles: