What Is Considered a Small Uterus?

No matter the size of the uterus prior to pregnancy, it stretches and grows during pregnancy.
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  • Written By: Marlene de Wilde
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 16 October 2014
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While there is no exact definition of a small uterus, one that is about 25% smaller than average should still be able to support a pregnancy. The average uterus is 3 inches (7.5 cm) long, 2 inches (5 cm) wide and 1 inch (2.5 cm) deep. Symptoms of a small uterus include irregular or no periods and abdominal pain. However, many women are unaware of uterine abnormalities as there may be no symptoms at all.

A healthy uterus is pear-shaped, hollow and lined with thick muscular walls. There are two fallopian tubes which are each connected to an ovary filled with eggs entering the uterus on either side at the top. A uterus that differs in structure from the norm is considered an abnormality which may or may not lead to difficulties in conception and pregnancy. The uterus, normal sized or smaller than average, stretches and grows when stimulated by the hormones released during pregnancy. It is only when the size is an indication of other conditions that a small uterus may lead to problems.

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The process of development of the female reproductive system begins in the embryo with the primordial Mullerian ducts. These are paired ducts which differentiate to form the fallopian tubes, uterus and vagina in the female child. A very rare condition affecting one woman in many thousands, called uterine agenesis, is a Mullerian duct anomaly. Uterine agenesis results in a very small uterus or none at all and is usually present with vaginal agenesis, which is the lack of or incomplete vagina. In this case, surrogacy is nearly always the only solution for women to have a child.

Another Mullerian duct anomaly leads to a unicornuate uterus. This is generally only half the size of a normal uterus and there is only one fallopian tube instead of two. As long as this is healthy and developed, then it should be possible for the woman to conceive but she will need careful monitoring during the pregnancy and birth as having a unicornate uterus significantly increases the risk of pregnancy loss and preterm labor.

There are many ways of diagnosing a small uterus. The most common test used first is that of the 2D ultrasound scan which is the one used by most gynecologists or obstetricians. This is enough to indicate that there is a problem but the images are not usually sharp enough for a diagnosis. Further tests include 3D ultrasound scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or a minor operation called a laparoscopy.

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difuse
Post 8

I'm 23 and have never had a period. The doctor told me that the size of my uterus is very small. I want to know if there is any way to increase its size.

amypollick
Post 6

@anon315374: Sounds like you need another OB/GYN, preferably one who specializes in high risk pregnancies. With one miscarriage and two stillbirths, it sounds like you need the kind of unique care only a high-risk specialist provides. If there is a teaching hospital in your area, they should have a high-risk doctor on staff. Good luck.

anon315374
Post 5

I have questions on if my uterus is too small. I am 23 years old. My pregnancy history includes a miscarriage at 8 weeks in 2007, my son was stillborn at 34 weeks in 2011, and my daughter was stillborn at 33 weeks in 2012. I have no idea what could be causing this problem.

One doctor said "maybe" my uterus is small. It makes me so mad because my doctors seem to have put my daughter's death in the past. I've been trying to find answers on my own. I know I will only get so far, and I will need my doc's help at some point, but until then I guess I'll look for answers myself.

anon271333
Post 4

I'm 22 years old and my problem is that my uterus size is small. I want to know if a cure for a small uterus is possible?

SZapper
Post 3

I just wanted to say that I agree with this article. There's pretty much no way of knowing about any internal abnormalities until a doctor tells you. Anyone reading this could have a small uterus (well, unless you're a man.)

As far as I know, my uterus is the regular size. However, a doctor told me quite awhile ago that I have a retroverted uterus. Apparently it faces the opposite direction than usual. What's interesting is that my doctor told me 1 in 5 women have this!

If my doctor hadn't told me that, I never would have known! I mean, how could I have?

ElizaBennett
Post 2

@Kat919 - If you think about it, you'll realize that the uterus is remarkably elastic. I have no medical knowledge about small uteri, but think about what a regular one does - it increases from the size of like an apple or even smaller to the size of a watermelon! So it's awfully elastic.

And when people are carrying multiples, it can get even bigger - but then there's a higher risk of pregnancy loss or preterm birth, increasing as the number of babies goes up. So maybe there's an analogy there.

I guess you lost touch with your friend, but I'm curious what she decided. I hope she found a way to be at peace with her situation one way or another, whether by taking her chances, by adoption or surrogacy, or by embracing a child-free life. My babies have been the great joy of my life and my heart aches for anyone who wants them and cannot have them.

Kat919
Post 1

How could a person with a small uterus be able to carry a baby to term? I mean, babies get pretty big at the end there. I had a friend in college years back who happened to mention that she actually had two small uteri (both, I assume, unicornuate) and that it might mean she would have trouble having children. She mentioned the risk of preterm labor or miscarriage and she wasn't sure she wanted to try having kids at all; she said it would just be too heartbreaking if she kept losing babies.

I don't know the specifics of her situation, but it made the title of this article catch my eye. How is it that you do not need a full-size uterus?

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