Birth Definitions

Uterine Inversion Definition

Uterine inversion is a condition in which the uterus turns inside-out or is inverted. This occurs when the the pelvic muscles and ligaments that hold the uterus in place stretch or tear or weakens, and the uterus falls into the vagina. Uterine inversion can be a life-threatening emergency, as the exposed organ can lose its blood supply and become necrotic. This can be fatal in some cases.

Types of Uterine Inversion

There are four types of uterine inversion:

  1. Incomplete Uterine Inversion (1st degree): The top of the uterus has collapsed inside the uterine cavity.
  2. Complete Uterine Inversion (2nd degree): The entire uterus is inverted where the top part of the uterus folds into the opening of the uterus (cervix).
  3. Prolapsed inversion (3rd degree): The top of the uterus is prolapsed (protrudes outside the vagina).
  4. Total inversion (4th degree): Both the uterus and the vagina protrude outside the body.

Risk factors for uterine inversion include:

  • Giving birth to a baby with macrosomia (born larger than 8.8 pounds).
  • A previous C-section delivery.
  • Vaginal delivery after having a C-section.
  • Obesity
  • Advanced age
  • Congenital abnormalities of the uterus or uterine weaknesses.
  • Precipitous or prolonged labor.
  • Use of medicines such as magnesium sulphate that relaxes the uterus or prevents seizures in women with preeclampsia.
  • Short umbilical cord.
  • Placing too much strain on the umbilical cord to assist with delivery of the placenta (Crede Maneuver), particularly if the placenta is linked to the fundus.
  • Placenta accreta (the placenta has penetrated too far into the uterine wall).

This image shows how often the term ‘Uterine Inversion’ is used in relation to other, similar birth terms:

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