I have a Bicornuate Uterus. What the heck does that mean? Well I will tell you. Where a “normal” uterus is sort of shaped like an upside down pear, a bicornuate uterus is more heart shaped, in that it has two sides of it. Heartshaped is a very nice way of putting it, as if you look at the image on the Wikipedia page it is not quite as romantic looking as “heart shaped” sounds!
I never realised until recently that actually there can be many different shapes of uterus, you can have a unicornuate uterus too, which means that you only have a one-sided uterus. Bicornuate uteri come in a variety of shapes and sizes as the term can be used to describe a uterus with a slight dip in the top, all the way through to a uterus that is literally divided into two. It is even possible for each side of the womb to have it’s own cervix, and even it’s own vagina.
The weirdest thing is that these variations can be quite common, but there is no real way of knowing you have such a uterus, unless you have a problem (though I suppose you may know it if you had 2 vaginas!). We found out that I have a bicornuate uterus because Monkey was a breech baby and we had to have a c-section. It was during my surgery that the consultant saw my uterus and realised there is no way Monkey would ever have had room to turn around, as my uterus is divided into two parts. This had not shown up on any scan, and we had even tried the ECV (External Cephalic Version), where they try to forcibly turn the baby. that would never have worked with Monkey and will never be tried again with any of my future pregnancies.
I would never have known this and I certainly never knew that in some cases bicornuate uteri can come with fertility problems and can be a cause of early miscarriage because there is simply not enough room in whichever side of the uterus they are in. I am actually really glad I didn’t know about that until I had carried a baby to full term as I would have worried over it. As it is i have been really lucky and it has not caused me any fertility problems.
So what does this mean for me? Well, again it varies from person to person, so they cannot say for definite what it means for each individual. Because the baby will grow in one side of the uterus, there is generally less room, and therefore is a higher chance of the baby being breech. Our initial consultant said to me there is a 50/50 chance of a breech baby, however the consultant we have seen this time said that it is much harder to quantify and that actually the chance of another breech baby is much higher. Initially the baby can turn around like normal, however eventually (and it varies from person to person and they cannot say when this is) there is likely to come a time when baby cannot turn, and they will become stuck in that position. Be it head down or breech.
The reason there is a higher chance that they will get stuck in a breech position is because most babies do not turn head down until the end of pregnancy and so it is very likely that they will not try to turn head down until it is too late to do so. There is still a chance though, particularly as my uterus has been stretched once and is stretching again, so there may be more time for this baby to turn, or she may turn down early enough.
Monkey was breech from really really early on last time, and although at the time I had no idea why, I always felt he was on my left side and while I would get feet kicking very low down on the right side, I never felt movement high up on the right side. Whenever I mentioned anything to friends/family it was dismissed, and to be honest I dismissed it, as I didn’t even know it was possible to have a baby only on one side! My bump was round all over but I only ever felt big movements on one side and then lower kicks on my right, as if he was diagonally across my tummy.
Even late on when his head was clearly visible at the top of my tummy, it was only ever really in the middle or over to the left, never on my right!
I am even more aware of it this time and once again this baby is on my left side. I get kicks (the sharper jerkier movements) in my pelvis and then bigger movements of head and elbows higher up, but all on my left side. Because I now know about my bicornuate uterus I suppose it is easier to feel what makes sense, but when I press the left side of my tummy, it is very firm and solid, whereas on my right side, it is much more soft and pliable. It is quite bizarre and looking at me I don’t think you could see the difference, but I can definitely feel it!
This is affecting my Pelvis and SPD as for some reason my right side is usually my weaker side, and early on the pain was definitely focussed on that side. Now though, I guess with the weight of the baby growing more on the left, the left side of my pelvis is far more painful now, so where I was working more on strengthening my right side, I now have to catch up and strengthen my left side more!!
Only time will tell whether or not our baba will have the space to turn face down when the time comes. If she does I am hoping to go for a VBaC. If not, it will be another C-Section, which I am not exactly looking forward to but is the safest thing for the baby at that point. We have an appointment with the consultant at 35/36 weeks and if she is Breech then, we will get booked in for the C-Section.
Anyone else out there with a Bicornuate Uterus? What did it mean for you?