In the News
What’s It Like to Have TWO Uteruses?
Bettys want to know!
When we heard about Sarah Reinfelder, the woman with two uteruses who recently gave birth to twins – one from each womb- we forgot all about Octo-mom. Two uteruses or uteri – call them what you will (both are acceptable) – are far more intriguing!
Dubbed “The Womber” by the New York Post, the 21-year-old from Michigan gave birth to two baby girls – Kaylin Joy and Valerie Marie – last week. Though told she would never be able to have children, she now has three – the twins and a son who is about 10 months old.
“They told me, ‘Your birth control isn’t working,'” Reinfelder told NBC News. “‘Guess what? You’re pregnant!’ I was like, ‘OK.’ And then they did the ultrasound and said, ‘Guess what? You’re pregnant twice!’ And that’s when I almost wet my pants.”
And while conceiving and carrying a baby in each uterus is extremely rare and dangerous – her doctor estimates the chances of a successful pregnancy in her situation is about one in 5 million – actually having two wombs is more common than we’d have imagined.
We started to think about just how this would work, and it sent our mind spinning. So we spoke with Dr. Leesa A. Kaufman, an OBGYN for Life Stages in Dayton, Ohio, who gave us the facts:
How does the development of two wombs happen?
It occurs during development of a female fetus in utero where the two sides of the part of the fetus that the female reproductive system originates from fail to fuse, therefore remaining as two separate uteri, cervices and a vaginal septum.
Wow, that’s amazing. How many women have two uteri?
It’s estimated to occur in 1 in 3,000 women.
How would you know you have two uteri? Could someone be walking around with them and not even know?
During a routine exam by gynecologist, a vaginal septum would be noted and then double uterus would be suspected. An MRI would then be done to confirm.
OK, so if we’ve been to the gynecologist and they haven’t said anything, we’re probably safe. Phew.
If you do have two uteri, does that mean you get two periods?
No, you would still get one period per month as the menstruation is hormonally stimulated, not driven by the uterus itself.
How do they affect menopause?
This does not affect menopause.
Would two uteri affect a woman’s daily life?
The only difference would be that two separate Pap smear specimens need to be obtained – one from each cervix. Also, the pregnancy, even if single, would be high risk due to decreased size of uterine cavity.
Does anyone have more than two uteri?
No one has more than two.
Would the babies be the same gestational age or could you essentially have them be days or weeks apart in development?
The babies would be conceived at the same time but you could deliver them at different times.
Dr. Leesa A. Kaufman is a board certified OBGYN practicing in Dayton, Ohio at LifeStages – Samaritan Centers For Women. She is a member of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.