After my water broke, and I delivered my daughter seven weeks early, I often wondered why. Did I do something wrong? Would it happen again if I were to get pregnant in a few years? Most women who experience preterm labor ask themselves these same questions. Many times there aren’t answers. For me, I didn’t have any answers until my daughter was almost three months old.
About two months after my daughter was born, I had some postpartum complications that required a D&C (Dilation and curettage). During this procedure, the doctor happened to discover that I had a uterine septum. In the simplest terms, a uterine septum is a wall in the middle of the uterus. Many women, like myself, can have this condition without ever knowing.
A uterine septum can vary in size and can be hard to detect with just an ultrasound. Usually a diagnosis will require more invasive measures because it can easily be confused with a heart shaped uterus. In fact, it is so difficult to tell, the doctor who performed my c-section of my second daughter’s birth thought that I had a heart shaped uterus during surgery.
A septum can cause problems with both fertility and pregnancy. Many women who have a uterine septum can still get pregnant like I did. However, it can cause miscarriage if the embryo settles on the wall’s lining. The lining does not have the same abilities or blood flow as the outer walls of the uterus to support and grow a baby. According to my doctor, it was a miracle that I was able to get pregnant at all with my daughter because my septum was extremely large.
A uterine septum can also cause problems later in pregnancy because the wall creates a much smaller space for the baby to grow and move. This can cause preterm labor or it can cause a baby to be in a breech position.
After my diagnosis, I was referred to a fertility specialist to undergo more tests. I had an MRI and an HSG along with a few ultrasounds to confirm the septum and it’s size. Then my doctor scheduled me for a hysteroscopy, an outpatient surgery to remove my septum. My doctor told me going into the surgery that they would not be able to remove the entire wall. She explained that removing too much of the wall, once you begin to reach muscle, can cause complications later on.
My procedure went really well and my doctor was very confident in my future fertility. In fact, we were blessed with a surprise pregnancy just three months after my surgery. I was able to carry my second daughter to just over 38 weeks, although she was breech. If you have any more specific questions about my diagnosis or treatment, please feel free to contact me.