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Retroverted uterus in pregnancy

Retroverted uterus in pregnancy


Will it affect my pregnancy?

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.

Anteverted uterus Image 1-30 shows the uterus in an anteverted position.

Retroverted uterus Image 1-31 shows the uterus in a retroverted position.

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 gynaecologist.

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 catheter 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

Information sources

Gabbe SG, Niebyl, JR, Simpson JL. Obstetrics, Normal and problem pregnancies, 4th Edition, 2001, Churchill Livingstone, New York.

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.

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