Obstetrical Outcomes in Adult Patients Born with Complex Anorectal Malformations and Cloacal Anomalies: A Literature Review

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Journal of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology








anorectal malformations; complex pelvic malformations; delivery mode; mullerian anomalies; pregnancy


© 2018 North American Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology Patients born with complex anorectal malformations often have associated Müllerian anomalies, which might affect fertility and obstetrical outcomes. Other vertebral-anorectal-tracheoesophageal-renal-limb associations, such as renal or cardiac anomalies, could also affect pregnancy intention, fertility rates, and recommendations about mode of delivery or obstetrical outcomes. Associated conditions present at birth, like hydrocolpos, could also potentially affect fertility. Depending on the complexity of the anomaly, primary reconstruction might include vaginoplasty, vaginal interposition, perineal body reconstruction, and extensive pelvic dissection. After the initial reconstruction, patients might have multiple additional surgeries for stoma reversal, bladder augmentation, and creation of conduits, all with potential for pelvic adhesions. Pregnancy intention, fertility rates, mode of delivery, and obstetrical outcomes data are limited in this patient population, making it challenging to counsel patients and their families. We sought to evaluate all available literature in an attempt to better counsel families. A PubMed literature search was undertaken to review this topic. Search terms of “cloaca,” “anorectal malformation,” “pregnancy,” “cloacal exstrophy,” “vaginal delivery,” and “cesarean section” were used and citation lists from all identified articles were checked to ensure that all possible articles were included in the review. We also outline comorbidities from the fetal period to adulthood that might affect reproductive health. Of the articles on anorectal and cloacal anomalies, 13 reports were identified that covered obstetrical outcomes. They were in patients with previous anorectal malformation, cloaca, and cloacal exstrophy repair. Twenty-four pregnancies were reported in 16 patients. Two ectopic pregnancies, 5 spontaneous miscarriages, 1 triplet pregnancy, and 16 singleton pregnancies were reported with a total of 19 live births. Regarding the method of conception, 15/18 pregnancies occurred spontaneously and 3/18 were via assisted reproductive technology with in vitro fertilization. There were 19 live births, of which at least 8 were preterm. Müllerian anatomy was reported in 8 of 13 articles. Only 2 patients underwent vaginal delivery (1 patient with repaired cloaca malformation had an operative vaginal delivery and 1 patient with repaired imperforate anus with rectovaginal fistula had a normal spontaneous vaginal delivery). The remaining patients all underwent a cesarean section. There were no reported cases of maternal mortality, and maternal morbidity was limited to recurrent urinary tract infections and worsening chronic kidney disease. There is a paucity of information regarding obstetrical outcomes in adult anorectal and cloaca patients. However, patients with previous cloacal repairs have achieved pregnancy spontaneously, as well as with in vitro fertilization. Patients with repaired cloacal malformations are at increased risk of preterm birth and cesarean delivery. Most patients with cloacal anomalies have an associated Müllerian anomaly and therefore have an increased risk of preterm labor. From our review we conclude that contraception should be offered to patients not desiring pregnancy, and cesarean section is likely the preferred mode of delivery. On the basis of this review, we recommend proactive data collection of all such patients to document outcomes and collaboration among providers and between centers devoted to this complex patient population.

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