Tilted Uterus and Early Pregnancy
Tilted Uterus and Early Pregnancy
Many medical sites say a tilted uterus really does not affect an early pregnancy. However, based on the many stories at the Misdiagnosed Miscarriage , it could affect your pregnancy but only if you allow yourself to be diagnosed with a miscarriage too soon
If you are newly pregnant and have been told you have a tilted uterus, you may not see your baby as early as other women with ultrasound. As a result, a number of women who do have a tilted uterus are misdiagnosed with miscarriages. In fact, many women report their gestational sacs looking empty until nine or ten weeks before the baby is found.
While a tilted uterus does not affect the baby in any way, it can affect when the baby is seen. Please, be reassured, this has everything to do with the ultrasound equipment and nothing to do with your baby.
Keep in mind, if you have a tilted uterus and are diagnosed with possible miscarriage, your chances of miscarrying are the same as everybody else.
Just know that with a tilted uterus, you are more likely than most to be misdiagnosed.
I believe every woman deserves to have no doubt before having her pregnancy ended.
I am not a medical professional. The information I share is meant to supplement the information given you by your doctor. If you feel your doctor is not doing enough for you or not willing to listen to your concerns, I strongly encourage you to take what you've learned here and get a second opinion.
What is a Tilted Uterus?
So you've found out you have a tilted uterus.
If you found out you have a tilted uterus (AKA retroverted or tipped), know that you are not alone. Researchers believe up to 1/3 of all women have a tilted uterus and many just do not know it.
Approximately 2/3 of all women have an anteverted uterus. An anteverted uterus tips forward toward the bladder. The other 1/3 or so have a uterus that is tipped back toward the rectum and spine.
The uterus can and does change positions between pregnancies. Just because you have a tilted uterus at some point in your life does not mean it will always be tilted.
Just so, if your uterus is tilted forward, it can become retroverted.
Do I Have a Tilted Uterus?
Because a tilted uterus is so common, many women have no idea they have one. Doctors rarely mention it except in passing. If you ask during an internal exam or transvaginal ultrasound, the physician, nurse or ultrasound technician can tell you the position of your uterus.
You may have a tilted uterus if you have some pain or uncomfortableness typically during sex. Pain, severe cramping or diarrhea during your period can also be a sign. Some women report that they are more prone to lower back pain while others have problems using tampons.
Do You Have a Tilted Uterus?
Tilted Uterus and Early Pregnancy
You may be falsely diagnosed with blighted ovum
Before I begin, let me share what a blighted ovum is. A blighted ovum (AKA anembryonic pregnancy) is when the fertilized egg attaches itself to the uterus but the baby stops developing before even the yolk sac is formed. If you can see a yolk sac, you do not have a true blighted ovum.
Because I was diagnosed with a blighted ovum between 5 1/2 and 8 weeks, I've since shared the story of finding my baby at nearly nine weeks. As a result, many women have shared their own misdiagnosed blighted ova stories at the Misdiagnosed Miscarriage site. We've come to realize over the last few years, the majority of us have a tilted uterus. Many of our babies are first seen with hCG levels well into the tens of thousands sometimes even over 100,000. Ultrasound literature, however, states that some sort of development ought to be seen when hCG levels reach 3,600 or so. The ultrasound literature also claims that if the sac if 18mm large or larger, a blighted ovum diagnosis may be made. However, we've seen in women with a tilted uterus, their sacs may be quite a bit bigger before anything can be seen.
Does Research Back This Up?
No, unfortunately research does not YET back up our claim that women with a tilted uterus will often be further along before their babies can be seen. And, the reason that research does not YET back it up is because nobody has ever researched the combination tilted uterus/first trimester/transvaginal ultrasound link. We have found studies indicating research is going that direction however.
For example, a study by Dr. Ronald Wachsberg shows that a transrectal ultrasound can be beneficial in a woman with a tilted uterus. Transrectal ultrasonography for problem solving after transvaginal ultrasonography of the female internal reproductive tract
However, we also know that most women are not going to ask their physicians for a transrectal ultrasound so, in that case, time is the only true measure of whether a pregnancy is viable or not.
Another possible study indirectly backing this up:
According to study by LACHLAN CH. DE CRESPIGNY, et al.,
The gestation sac size in pregnancies resulting from in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and embryo transfer have been compared with those in spontaneous pregnancies. Small-for-dates gestational sac sizes were found in 36% of the IVF pregnancies. This proportion held for both singleton and multiple pregnancies. With increasing gestation beyond 8 weeks the gestation sac volume increasingly approached normal. In contrast to spontaneous conceptions, IVF pregnancies had a low rate of pregnancy loss once fetal heart movements were demonstrated, when the gestation sac size was small-for-dates. Small sac size in an IVF pregnancy may lead to the misdiagnosis of a failed pregnancy.
The interesting thing about this study is that other studies indicate that up to 30 to 40% of women have a tilted uterus. I suspect these women simply had a tilted uterus. We know that later in the first trimester when the uterus is in a more typical position, dates are right on again which is the case in this study.
UPDATE: The Medical Community Recognizes the Tilted Uterus Problem!
When I wrote this page, you just couldn't fine any doctor online discussing the possible link between a tilted uterus and misdiagnosed miscarriage. I was so excited this last week to discover the American Pregnancy Association has added this information:
"If an ultrasound is done at 6 to 7 weeks and a heartbeat is not detected, does that mean there is a problem?
No it does not mean there is a problem. The heartbeat may not be detected for reasons that include: tipped uterus, larger abdomen, or inaccurate dating with last menstrual period."
I was so excited I even blogged about it:
Important New Guidelines for Diagnosing a Miscarriage
The UK is the first to acknowledge that misdiagnosed miscarriages are indeed a problem. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has revised its guidelines. If your gestational sac is more than 25mm and/or the CRL is 7mm or more, you should wait a week to verify (if there are no complications). If the measurements are less, you are too early to diagnose. For more information (and something to take to your doctor), please, see my new page:
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