What Is an Open Uterus?

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  • Written By: Erin J. Hill
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 08 September 2019
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An open uterus typically refers to a dilated cervix, which is the uterine opening. This would primarily be a problem during pregnancy when the womb should remained closed while the baby develops inside. During the average woman's menstrual cycle, the cervix will open and close regularly to allow for menstrual flow and to make way for sperm to enter during ovulation. The exact amount a woman's cervix opens and the width of that opening will depend on the individual and whether the woman has had children.

The most common reference to an open uterus relates to a condition known as an incompetent cervix. This condition affects pregnant women and it refers to a cervix that will not remain closed. The cervix is the opening or mouth of the uterus, and it should remain closed and protected by the mucus plug throughout pregnancy until labor approaches. Women with an incompetent cervix are a higher risk of premature labor and uterine infection, both of which are dangerous for the pregnancy.


Incompetent cervix can sometimes be remedied with surgery. This requires a doctor to sew the cervix closed until labor and delivery draws nearer. Women who have this procedure are often encouraged to avoid heavy lifting and other strenuous activities until they give birth to prevent opening the stitches. Some may even be put on bed rest. Once the pregnancy is full term, at around 37 weeks gestation, the stitches are removed and labor is allowed to progress normally.

Unfortunately, many women don't realize they have an open uterus until premature labor begins. It is possible for the cervix to remain closed during the first half of pregnancy and then open slowly as the baby grows and puts more pressure on the opening. If labor is still in its very early stages, medication can often be given to stop contractions before they progress. Additional medications and steroids may also be given to prevent infection and to help hasten the development of the baby's lungs in case a premature delivery is inevitable.

An open uterus can also occur outside of pregnancy, since the cervix goes through many changes throughout a woman's menstrual cycle. During ovulation the cervix produces more mucus and opens wider to allow for the passage of sperm. This makes pregnancy more likely to occur, and many women who are trying to conceive monitor the appearance or feel of their cervix to determine when these changes are taking place. The cervix also opens wider during the menstrual cycle so that blood can pass through.


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Post 3

@lighth0se33 – I didn't know that an open uterus was an indication of ovulation until my best friend tried to get pregnant and started monitoring hers. She could actually tell by feeling when it was ready.

I'm kind of uncomfortable with this method. I even hate it when the doctor has to give me an exam down there.

However, I guess it works. My friend got pregnant with twins through this method of checking for ovulation.

Post 2

My aunt had stitches during her pregnancy to keep her uterus closed. She was able to keep them in until time for delivery, and everything went smoothly.

I think that if she hadn't gotten the stitches, she probably would have gone into premature labor or even lost the baby. I'm glad that stitching up the uterus is a safe option, because the cousin that she gave birth to became my best friend!

Post 1

I never thought about the cervix having to open to release menstrual blood. I always assumed that the area was always open.

My flow is usually so strong and steady that I don't see when it would have time to close! I hope I don't have a permanently open uterus, though, because I do hope to have kids one day.

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