A retroverted or tipped uterus is just another normal variation
in the position of a woman's uterus. About 20% of women have a
uterus that is naturally retroverted. That is, leaning backwards
towards the spine, rather than forwards to rest above the bladder
(called anteverted). You may have been told you have a retroverted
uterus by a caregiver during an internal examination, or after
having a pap test. The uterus is a mobile
organ suspended by ligaments and can move from being at the front
to the back or visa versa.
1-30 shows the uterus in an
shows the uterus in a retroverted
Occasionally a retroverted uterus may be caused because it is
held down in this position by scar tissue after an infection or
because of endometriosis. This may cause a woman to have pain with
sex or more painful periods and sometimes fertility problems. These
conditions need to be investigated by a
Will it affect my pregnancy?
A retroverted uterus generally does not affect a woman's
pregnancy. After about 12 weeks of pregnancy the uterus grows with
the unborn baby, up and out of the pelvis like any other pregnancy.
From this point on it sits in exactly the same position as a uterus
that started off being anteverted (leaning forward).
In extremely rare cases, it has been known for the growing
uterus to be inhibited from growing out of the woman's pelvis by
her normally protruding lower spine (or sacrum). The medical term
for this is an incarcerated uterus. If this happens, the woman may
start complaining of some pain and being unable to pass urine,
usually at about 12 to 14 weeks of pregnancy. The caregiver may
recommend being admitted to hospital and having a
passed into the bladder (to allow the urine to escape), as well as
doing some pelvic rocking on your hands and knees to help release
the uterus from the pelvis. These treatments are usually effective
within hours or perhaps a few days.
Updated November 2007
Gabbe SG, Niebyl, JR, Simpson JL. Obstetrics, Normal and problem
pregnancies, 4th Edition, 2001, Churchill Livingstone, New
Stables D. and Rankin J. Physiology in Childbearing with Anatomy
and Related Biosciences. 2004, Bailliere Tindall, Edinburgh.
Last revised: Wednesday, 28 August 2013
This article contains general information only and is not intended to replace advice from a qualified health professional.