The Importance of the Uterine Arteries During Pregnancy

Uterine arteries are blood vessels that play a fundamental role during pregnancy. Damage to them can lead to serious and undesirable consequences.
The Importance of the Uterine Arteries During Pregnancy
Sara Viruega Encinas

Written and verified by the pharmacist Sara Viruega Encinas.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

Uterine arteries are the blood vessels that are responsible for transporting blood to a woman’s uterus. They begin at the internal iliac (hypogastric) artery and, at the same time, divide into branches that later lead to the ureters or the bladder

The importance of the uterine arteries during pregnancy

The uterine arteries are especially important during pregnancy, as they serve the purpose of nourishing the placenta. Through the blood that comes from these blood vessels, the fetus obtains the nutrients it needs for growth and development.

During pregnancy, a woman’s body is exposed to a great number of changes, both physical and hormonal. These include fundamental changes in the circulatory system and in the circulation of blood.

During the 9 months of gestation, the volume of a woman’s blood increases. This increase is necessary in order to deal with the growing needs of her own body as well as that of her baby. This change, among others, is the reason why many pregnant women suffer from varicose veins and hemorrhoids during pregnancy.

The Importance of the Uterine Arteries During Pregnancy

Therefore, during pregnancy, changes also take place in a woman’s blood vessels, including her uterine arteries. This is because they must be able to handle the increased blood flow. To be more specific, in order for blood flow to increase, the resistance of these blood vessels must decrease, as we’ll explain below.

On occasion, some cases of infertility have to do with problems with a woman’s uterine arteries. For example, insufficiency in the irrigation of blood to the uterus or damage to these vessels.

Studying the uterine arteries

Currently, it’s possible to study the uterine arteries through the use of a Doppler echocardiography. In general, doctors perform this study around the time that a woman is 20 weeks pregnant. This study helps to predict possible prenatal complications that may appear by measuring the resistance of the uterine arteries to blood flow.

Doppler echocardiography is an ultrasound technique that’s capable of measuring blood flow. So, it can detect alterations in blood vessels, the presence of clots, narrowing, decreases in circulation, and other problems. Furthermore, the study can take place abdominally or vaginally.

Normally, the resistance of the arteries to the flow of blood decreases progressively as pregnancy advances. This allows the blood vessels to handle the increase in the volume of blood. If this doesn’t occur, complications may arise, such as preeclampsia or intrauterine growth restriction, and others – including fetal death.

Complications regarding uterine arteries

Preeclampsia is a serious pregnancy complication. It consists of an increase in blood pressure that can cause damage to different organs. Therefore, controlling your blood pressure during pregnancy is an essential measure.

The Importance of the Uterine Arteries During Pregnancy

Some studies reveal that approximately 70% of cases of preeclampsia are detectable via Doppler echocardiography of the uterine arteries. In fact, doctors can use this technique along with the routine ultrasound at 20 weeks of pregnancy, along with the morphological study.

At the same time, intrauterine growth restriction causes a fetus to be too small in regard to its gestational age during pregnancy. It tends to be associated with premature pregnancy and low birth weight. One of the causes is, precisely, any alteration in the uterine arteries. This tends to lead to babies not getting enough blood flow or nutrients.


Uterine arteries are fundamental blood vessels when it comes to pregnancy. Damage to these arteries can produce serious, undesirable complications. If you have any questions, be sure to talk with your doctor about your concerns.

Given the seriousness of possible complications, you should perform moderate physical exercise while you’re pregnant. For example, exercises that activate and improve circulation are especially beneficial. What’s more, we can prevent other common pregnancy symptoms, such as varicose veins and hemorrhoids.

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This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.