Having fibroids during labor and delivery

If you’re navigating labor and delivery with fibroids, here’s what you should know from the perspective of USA Fibroid Centers.

Uterine fibroids, non-cancerous growths within the uterus, are quite common, affecting up to 80% of women by menopause. While many women with fibroids experience no symptoms, some may encounter issues such as heavy menstrual bleeding or pelvic discomfort.

During pregnancy, fibroids typically remain stable in size. In fact, research from a study conducted by the National Centers for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), indicates that the majority of fibroids observed during pregnancy showed little to no change, with any growth being minimal, particularly in the initial weeks.

Most women can get pregnant with fibroids and successfully and deliver a healthy baby, although there’s a slightly heightened risk of preterm labor and cesarean delivery associated with fibroids. According to the NCBI study, approximately 10% to 30% of women with fibroids may experience pregnancy-related complications, typically of mild severity.

Which Fibroids May Impact Labor and Delivery?

It’s important to recognize that fibroids vary in size and location. Larger fibroids, especially those blocking the cervix or affecting the uterine cavity (known as submucosal fibroids), could potentially lead to challenges during labor. Monitoring fibroids, particularly those exceeding three inches in diameter, is crucial during pregnancy, as their impact can vary depending on their size and position within the uterus.

Your initial ultrasound, typically performed around the 6 to 8-week mark, can provide insights into the presence of fibroids.

Do Fibroids Cause Complications During Labor?

Labor complications may arise depending on the size and location of fibroids. While many women can deliver vaginally and at full term, others may require a cesarean section (C-section) or may experience preterm labor.

Open communication with your healthcare provider about potential labor complications due to fibroids is essential. Address any symptoms or concerns promptly to ensure appropriate care throughout your pregnancy.

Fibroids and Preterm Labor

While fibroids don’t invariably lead to preterm labor, they may contribute under certain circumstances. Pain associated with fibroids could trigger uterine contractions, potentially resulting in early delivery. Early disclosure of fibroid presence to your doctor allows for proactive management and planning.

Cesarean Section (C-Section) and Fibroids

The likelihood of requiring a cesarean delivery due to fibroids depends on their size and location within the uterus. Submucosal fibroids, which grow within the uterine cavity, pose a higher risk of complications. Studies suggest a 3.7-fold increased risk of cesarean delivery among women with fibroids.

Despite this increased risk, cesarean deliveries remain a safe option for both mother and baby. Advancements in medical techniques ensure that cesarean sections can be performed efficiently, even in the presence of large fibroids.

After fully recovering from postpartum, your fibroids can easily be treated through nonsurgical treatments like uterine fibroid embolization (UFE).

Uterine Fibroids Pregnancy and Delivery Risks

Even with modern medicine, labor and delivery with fibroids can lead to potential complications. It’s important to be aware of some of the less common fibroids and pregnancy complications, such as:

  • Miscarriage during pregnancy (usually within the first or second term)
  • Placenta abruption (when the placenta separates from the inner wall of the uterus before birth)
  • Malpresentation (abnormal positioning of a fetus at the time of delivery)
  • Labor dystocia (obstructed path of the fetus during delivery)
  • Postpartum hemorrhage (heavy bleeding after the birth)

However, modern medical techniques can rectify many of these less common complications during labor due to fibroids.

Can You Give Birth if You Have Fibroids?

The ability to conceive and carry a pregnancy to term largely depends on various factors, including the size, number, and location of the fibroids, as well as any associated symptoms or complications.

While some women with fibroids may experience challenges during pregnancy, such as an increased risk of preterm labor or the need for a cesarean section (C-section), many others can have successful pregnancies and deliver healthy babies.

Postpartum Fibroid Treatment

Following childbirth and recovery, exploring fibroid treatment options may be necessary. The Fibroid Fighters Foundation offers information on various treatment options, including nonsurgical approaches like uterine fibroid embolization (UFE). This outpatient procedure, performed without anesthesia or overnight stay, effectively addresses fibroid-related symptoms.

At USA Fibroid Centers, we prioritize patient-centered care and aim to provide you with the information and support necessary to make informed decisions about your postpartum fibroid management. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

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