Uterine (Cervical) Prolapse During Pregnancy - Everything You Need To Know
Are you pregnant and do you want to stay abreast about complications that may arise during pregnancy? Do you experience an odd feeling or discomfort in your pelvic region? Have you been to checkups and has your doctor mentioned something like a uterine or cervical prolapse during pregnancy? Are you worried about the same and want to know more about it?
If you nodded along or are simply curious to know more about the condition, scroll down and learn about cervical or uterine prolapse and more.
What Is Uterine Prolapse During Pregnancy?
You uterus, or the womb in which your unborn baby will stay protected, is made of muscles. Ligaments and pelvic muscles help hold it in shape. Sometimes, the ligaments and pelvic muscles that support the uterus can stretch, and become weak. If this happens, they will not be strong enough to support the uterus or womb any longer. In such a case, you might suffer from something like a uterine or cervical prolapse.
In a uterine or cervical prolapse, the uterus will slip or sag from the place it is supposed to be. Once that happens, it will leave its position and enter the vagina instead, which is the birth canal for your baby. However, it is important to note that the occurrence of uterine or cervical prolapse during pregnancy is quite uncommon (1).
Uterine or cervical prolapse is of two types
- Incomplete Uterine Or Cervical Prolapse: In an incomplete uterine or cervical prolapse, your uterus will partly sag into the vagina.
- Complete Uterine Or Cervical Prolapse: In a complete uterine or cervical prolapse, your uterus will sag so much that some of the tissues might rest just outside the vagina.
The Different Stages Of Uterine Or Cervical Prolapse
In case of complete as well as incomplete uterine or cervical prolapse, there are various stages where your uterus will change place depending on the strength and weakness of your muscles. Here are the stages:
- First Degree: In the first-degree situation, your cervix will drop into the vagina.
- Second Degree: In the second-degree situation, your cervix will drop to the space that is just inside the opening of your vagina.
- Third Degree: In the third-degree situation, your cervix will be outside your vagina.
- Fourth Degree: In the fourth-degree situation, your entire uterus will be outside your vagina. The condition is known as procidentia.
Causes Of Uterine Or Cervical Prolapse During Pregnancy
There are various factors that can lead to a uterine or cervical prolapse. Here are some of the most common reasons:
- Advanced age can weaken the muscles in and around the pelvic region.
- Over-straining due to constipation, fluid accumulation in the abdomen, a pelvic tumor and even severe coughing, can lead to pressure on the abdomen.
- If you gain too much weight during your pregnancy or are obese.
- If you had a major surgery in your pelvic area earlier, it could lead to a loss of external support.
Symptoms Of A Uterine Prolapse While Pregnant
If you experience a minor uterine or cervical prolapse in pregnancy, you may not notice any symptoms at all. However, if your condition is anything between moderate to severe, you may notice the symptoms as shared below:
- Bleeding from your vagina or an increase in your regular vaginal discharge. Your vaginal discharge will increase while you are pregnant, but if you have a uterine or cervical prolapse, the discharge will be even higher.
- You may have problems while having intercourse.
- While sitting, you will feel as if you are sitting on a ball.
- A constant feeling of pulling or heaviness in your pelvis.
- Severe and prolonged constipation even after you hydrate regularly.
- Regular infections in the bladder.
- Visually seeing your uterus or cervix coming out from your vagina.
Diagnosing Uterine Or Cervical Prolapse During Pregnancy
One of the first things you need to do when you notice any or all of the symptoms mentioned above is to get in touch with your doctor immediately. Your doctor might follow some methods like:
- Check your symptoms and perform a pelvic exam. It will help your doctor establish whether or not you have a uterine or cervical prolapse or if your symptoms are indicative of some other health condition.
- During the pelvic exam, your doctor will use a speculum and insert it into your vagina. A speculum is a tool that will let your doctor see the inside of your vaginal canal and even your uterus.
- While initially you may have to lie down for the regular examination, your doctor can ask you to stand up while performing the examination using the speculum.
- If your doctor is not able to diagnose the condition properly, he may ask you to ‘bear down.’ You will have to react in a way as if you were about to pass your bowels. It will help your doctor to be able to diagnose your condition better and more accurately.
Treating Uterine Or Cervical Prolapse During Pregnancy
You may not always require treatment for uterine or cervical prolapse, but your doctor will guide you depending on your situation. During pregnancy, your doctor will try and use as many non-surgical procedures as possible. Here are a few methods that your doctor might suggest:
- Try to reduce weight so that there is lesser pressure on the pelvic area.
- Perform Kegel exercises that will help strengthen the muscles in your vagina.
- You may be asked to use a pessary that will be inserted into your vagina and fit under your cervix. It will help to push your uterus and cervix upwards and keep them in place.
While uterine or cervical prolapse may not always be possible, if you keep your weight in check and exercise, you can avoid it. Speak to your doctor about the best possible way to take care of uterine prolapse and pregnancy.
If you suffered from the same during your pregnancy, do share your experience and tips here.