What’s an inverted uterus? Here’s what you need to know about ‘one of the most serious complications of childbirth’

Inverted uterus in a series of X-ray images

An inverted uterus — a uterus that folds in on itself — is a serious, potentially deadly complication. (Illustration by Joamir Salacedo; photo from Getty Images

People assume that childbirth and pregnancy are easy. A small percentage of women will experience an extremely serious, potentially fatal, problem called an inverted Uterus. This is when the uterus folds in itself.

Vesna Vavladellis is one of those women — she experienced a uterine inversion while giving birth to her first child in 2016. Yahoo Life’s Vavladellis reveals that she was induced at 40.5 weeks. From there, things moved quickly. “The labor was really intense — I felt like I couldn’t catch my breath,” she says. Vavladellis said that her son was born six hours later. However, while Vavladellis was delivering the placenta she experienced sudden “excruciating pain.”

She says, “My obgyn was pushing really strongly and I noticed that there were panicking starting to settle.” “It was at that point that my uterus inverted.” Vavladellis was later told that her doctor was “frantically” trying to push her uterus back in, but it kept inverting — and she was bleeding heavily.

She recalls screaming and being in excruciating pain, adding that she didn’t get an epidural during labor. She adds, “I was feeling everything.”

She remembers seeing how worried her husband looked and reassuring him that everything would be OK. “I don’t think I had realized the gravity of the situation,” Vavladellis says. “I recall nurses trying to get to me to sign a consent form for the surgery. But I was not in a position to. My husband signed on my behalf.

Vavladellis had to go into emergency surgery in order for her uterus repositioned. She says that she had to have a balloon placed into her uterus to stop bleeding and keep my uterus intact.

Uterine inversion is something that most people don’t know about. It’s understandable that you might have questions about why this happens and what it is. Here are the facts.

What is an inverted umbilicus?

An inverted uterus can be “one of the most severe complications of childbirth” Dr. Jessica ShepherdTexas-based ob/gyn, founder of Sanctum Med + WellnessYahoo Life is told by. It happens when the fundus — the top part of the uterus — collapses into the uterine cavity. Shepherd says that it folds in itself. Although it is uncommon, the risk of death from shock and hemorhage is high when it does occur.

“The uterus is turned inside-out,” another way to look at it. Dr. Micah GarbYahoo Life was told by a Lake Forest Hospital ob-gyn, Judith.

Inverted uterus may occur during a C-section or vaginal delivery. Dr. Michael CackovicYahoo Life was told by a physician in maternal-fetal medicine at Ohio State University Wexner Health Center.

Uterine inversion can happen anywhere from every 3500 to every 20,000 births, according to The. Cleveland ClinicIt usually happens within 24 hours of delivery.

What is the reason for an inverted Uterus?

Cackovic states that it is not clear why an individual might experience an inverted or swollen uterus. “Excessive pulling of the cord when delivering placenta has been attributed,” he said, adding that it is possible that the placenta may be attached to the top part of the uterus.

Shepherd also suggests other possible causes: very rapid labor, manual removals of the placenta or the use of uterine relaxants during delivery.

Cackovic states that evidence is inconsistent and a causal relationship cannot be proven. Since spontaneous inversions are rare, it is possible that other factors may play a part.

Inverted uterus symptoms

According to the Cleveland Clinic, an inverted uterus can lead to severe blood loss and shock. Although symptoms may vary, they could include:

  • Vaginal bleeding may be either mild or severe.

  • Lower belly pain and feelings of pressure down

  • A smooth, round mass bulging out of your vagina

  • Blood pressure drops

According to the Cleveland Clinic symptoms of shock include:

  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded, dizzy, confused, tired, or drowsy

  • Rapid heartbeat, shallow breathing

  • Cold, clammy skin

  • Muscle cramps

  • Thirst

How does an inverted Uterus get treated?

Uterine inversion can be dangerous. Cackovic states that uterine inversion is life-threatening when it happens. Uterine inversion, if not treated promptly, can cause severe hemorhage and shock which can lead to maternal death.

According to Shepherd, the goal of treatment is to restore the uterus back to its normal position while managing the bleeding. Shepherd explains that after the placenta has been separated, the uterus can be manually pushed up to return it into the pelvis.

Garb states, “If this fails, urgent surgery can be the next step.”

According to the Cleveland Clinic a laparotomy (a procedure that makes an incision in the abdomen in order to access the pelvic cavity to reposition and position the uterus) is the most common type of surgery. After the uterus has been placed, the patient may be given drugs that will help it contract. This will reduce the risk of bleeding and keep the uterus in the right place.

Recovery can be difficult

Vavladellis claims that her physical recovery was “extremely hard.” I often tell people it’s like I gave birth twice vaginally and [had] A C-section. I was not only recovering after a vaginal birth, and a subsequent episiotomy but also from major surgery and healing from an incision that was made for my uterus.

She had been taking “extremely high pain medication” for a while and said that her pelvic floor was weak. Vavladellis states that she was often lying down because it was so difficult to sit. It made it difficult to look after her baby. Vavladellis began to see a pelvic therapist on a daily basis to strengthen the muscles in her pelvic area.

Vavladellis claims she was “really scared” when she discovered she was pregnant with her 2nd child. This was due to her experience with a uterine insertion. “I can remember telling my best friend I was pregnant and crying because it was going to happen again,” she recalls. “I was excited to be having another child, but I was terrified.”

She was recommended by her doctor to have a C-section in order to ensure safety. She says that the delivery was “a breeze” despite her fears. Vavladellis claims that she realized later that she had experienced trauma during her first childbirth, and sought counseling from a mental counselor. Now, she says, “My health — physically, mentally and emotionally — is back on track.”

A uterine inversion can lead to a successful pregnancy. Vavladellis was one example. Experts advise that you speak to your doctor immediately if your uterus is inverted to make sure you stay safe moving forward.

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