The uterus is formed during embryogenesis by the fusion of the two paramesonephric ductscervix and is usually associated with a double vagina. Causes for the failure to fuse are not known. Associated defects may affect the vagina, the renal system, and less commonly, the skeleton. (also called mullerian ducts). This process usually fuses the two mullerian ducts into a single uterine body but fails to take place in these affected women who maintain their double mullerian systems. A didelphic uterus will have a double
Women with the condition may be asymptomatic and unaware of having a double uterus. However, a study by Heinonen showed that certain conditions are more common. In his study of 26 women with a double uterus gynecological complaints included dysmenorrhea and dyspareunia. All patients displayed a double vagina. The fetal survival rate in 18 patients who delivered was 67.5%. Breech presentation was present in 43% and premature delivery common (21%)
A pelvic examination will typically reveal a double vagina and a double cervix. Investigations are usually prompted on the basis of such findings as well as when reproductive problems are encountered.
Helpful techniques to investigate the uterine structure are transvaginal ultrasonography and sonohysterography, hysterosalpingography, MRI, and hysteroscopy. More recently 3-D ultrasonography has been advocated as an excellent non-invasive method to evaluate uterine malformations
A specific association of uterus didelphys, unilateral hematocolpos and ipsilateral renal agenesis has been described.
A number of twin gestations have occurred where each uterus carried its pregnancy separately. A recent example occurred on February 26, 2009, when Sarah Reinfelder of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan delivered two healthy, although seven weeks premature, infants by cesarean section at Marquette General Hospital. It is possible that the deliveries occur at different times, thus the delivery interval could be days or even weeks.
A UK woman with a double uterus gave birth to triplets in 2006. Hannah Kersey, of Northam in Devon, gave birth to a pair of identical twins from an egg that implanted into one womb and then divided, and to an infant from a single egg that implanted into the other womb. This was the first known birth of viable triplets in a woman with a double uterus. It is estimated that the possibility of such a birth is about 1 in 25 million. A triplet pregnancy in a woman with uterus didelphys was reported from Israel in 1981; one baby died in utero, and of the remaining babies, one was delivered at 27 weeks gestation and the other 72 days later
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