Q: I just found out I have a septate uterus. Will it affect my ability to get or stay pregnant?
A: A septate uterus is a congenital condition in which a thin membrane called a septum divides the uterus, either partially or completely. While the condition does not affect a woman's ability to conceive, it can impact a pregnancy's outcome. "We see a higher risk of first- and second-trimester pregnancy loss with septate uterus," says Beth W. Rackow, M.D., an assistant professor of OB-GYN at Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn. "There is also an increased risk of preterm labor." Luckily, a septate uterus can be treated before pregnancy with a minor procedure called a hysteroscopy. "This involves inserting surgical instruments through the cervix and removing the septum without having to make an abdominal incision," Rackow explains. It's usually done on an outpatient basis. Septate uterus is the most common congenital uterine malformation, affecting 1 percent of all women. Because there are varying degrees of severity, "Not everyone needs to be treated," Rackow says. "If you do, it's comforting to know that this is the only congenital uterine anomaly that can be fixed with a minimally invasive procedure, thereby improving reproductive outcomes."