Definition - What does Uterine Fundus mean?
The uterine fundus is the dome-shaped uppermost, rounded part of the uterus. The shape and competency of the uterine fundus are assessed when a woman reports inability to conceive because uterine factors such as uterine fibroids can interfere with the implantation of the embryo within the uterus (uterine factor infertility).
The fundal height is also used to determine the progression of pregnancy.
FertilitySmarts explains Uterine Fundus
The uterine fundus is important for the following reasons:
1. It becomes occupied by uterine tumors called fibroids that arise from the muscular layer of the uterine wall. Massive tumors cause the uterine fundus to enlarge, displacing it from its normal position.
2. The growth (height) of the fundus, when expressed in centimeters, is used as a guide to assess if it coincides with the stage of the pregnancy. A shorter or longer than normal height may signal the presence of some serious problem. It gives an estimation of the fetal growth and development during pregnancy. The fundal height is measured by placing the tape or fingers between the top of the woman's uterus to the top of the joint of the pubic bones. It is mostly recorded on every prenatal visit. The fundal height loses its accuracy as the pregnancy approaches term.
A shorter height can be due to one of the following reasons:
- Incorrect estimation of the due date of pregnancy as determined by the first day of last menstrual period (LMP). This can occur when the woman does not remember the first day of the last LMP
- Too little fluid in the amniotic sac (oligohydramnios)
- Fetal descent to the pelvis, which usually occurs two to four weeks prior to delivery
- Restriction of the growth of the fetus while in the uterus
- A small fetus
On the other hand, a larger height may be secondary to one of the following factors:
- Women pregnant with twins or multiples
- Error in the calculated due date of pregnancy
- A diabetic mother with a large fetus
- Too much fluid in the amniotic sac (polyhydramnios)
- Birth weight greater than the 90th percentile at birth
- Breech baby
- Abnormal fertilized egg or enlargement of tissue from the placenta as seen in molar pregnancy