Fibroids and Pregnancy
Are you aware that about 33 percent of women develop uterine fibroids during their childbearing years, with up to 80 percent affected by age 50? Fibroids are unpredictable and can be caused by a number of different factors –– most notably, hormones. If you are in your prime reproductive years, it’s important to be aware of what can happen with fibroids while pregnant.
Developing uterine fibroids while pregnant can be problematic for some women. These noncancerous growths can newly develop due to an influx of pregnancy hormones. Alternatively, previously asymptomatic fibroids can cause a range of painful, unpleasant, and even alarming symptoms like heavy bleeding, severe cramps, and extreme fatigue.
If all of this sounds pretty stressful, we hear you. Fortunately, our fibroid experts can help evaluate your individual situation and put you on the right path towards managing your fibroids before, during, and after pregnancy. Here’s what you need to know about fibroids and pregnancy.
Can You Get Pregnant With Fibroids?
Yes, you sure can. However, you might want to hit “pause” on that plan for a moment and first visit your doctor or a fibroid specialist. This is due to several reasons:
- Fibroids tend to grow and cause problems during pregnancy
- Some women experience increased fibroid symptoms such as bleeding, cramps, pelvic pain, and frequent urination
- If such symptoms do worsen during pregnancy, you won’t be able to receive treatment until after giving birth
- While the majority are able to successfully carry full-term pregnancies and give birth to healthy babies, some women with fibroids experience pregnancy complications
- Depending on fibroid location, a small percentage of women may experience difficulty conceiving as a result of these benign growths
Because fibroids do have the potential to cause complications based on where they develop, how large they grow, and how many are present, your doctor may recommend some additional testing to closely monitor your pregnancy through each trimester.
For more information on getting pregnant with fibroids, please visit our Conceiving With Fibroids page.
Fibroids During Pregnancy
If you are already pregnant, you probably have some questions about fibroids and pregnancy. Keep in mind that most affected women are able to deliver a healthy baby. However, you’ll want to be on the lookout for a number of pregnancy complications.
How Fibroids Affect Pregnancy
The main complications that can arise from fibroids that develop during pregnancy include:
Breech positioning and other complications associated with fibroids can increase the need for cesarean delivery.
Submucosal fibroids that grow just under the uterine lining and protrude into the womb can increase the likelihood of placental abruption. This situation occurs when the placenta detaches from the uterine wall before delivery, preventing the fetus from getting oxygen.
FETAL GROWTH RESTRICTION
Intramural fibroids can sometimes cause fetal growth restriction, which occurs when large fibroids take up space inside the womb and prevent full development of the fetus.
Fibroids are associated with preterm delivery in part because the acute abdominal pain of blocked blood flow to a fibroid has the potential to induce early labor during pregnancy. Another sign that increases the risk for preterm delivery is if the doctor has noticed that your fibroids have increased in size during pregnancy.
If fibroids have led to an abnormally shaped uterine cavity, the baby could have difficulty getting into proper position for vaginal delivery.
Some fibroids can cause heavy bleeding to occur after delivery.
How to Deal With Fibroids During Pregnancy
Along with concerns over potential complications, you may be dealing with fibroid symptoms. Here are some home remedies to help alleviate your pain or discomfort:
- Use a hot water bottle or heating pad
- Take warm showers or baths
- Change positions as needed to find what is most comfortable for you
- Eat a healthy, well-rounded diet
- Exercise regularly to release your body’s natural pain-killing endorphins
- Discuss the risks and benefits of taking over the counter pain medications –– such as Tylenol –– with your doctor
Be sure to attend all scheduled prenatal visits to help ensure the best possible outcomes for you and your baby.
Can Fibroids Prevent Pregnancy?
Fertility is a common concern for many women with fibroids. The fibroids size and location can affect fertility and the ability to conceive. Submucosal fibroids (the least common type of fibroids), may increase the likelihood of infertility, because they may block the Fallopian tubes. Fibroids may also distort the uterus, which can negatively impact embryo implantation.
Although you may want to pursue fibroid treatment before pregnancy, it is also important to note that some treatments for fibroids, such as hysterectomy, could affect your ability to conceive. While fibroid surgery can help women with fibroids find relief from symptoms like heavy bleeding and pain, it can also make future pregnancy impossible.
Contact USA Fibroid Centers
If you know you have fibroids and you are planning on getting pregnant soon, you might find it useful to consult with a fibroid specialist. Unfortunately, fibroid treatment cannot be pursued while you are pregnant. Although there can be complications that arise from fibroids during pregnancy, there is far more risk of undergoing a procedure or surgery while you are pregnant.
If you are pregnant already and experiencing pain or bleeding, or if you notice symptoms like frequent urination or stomach bloating beyond the scope of normal pregnancy, consult with one of our fibroid specialists on how to best manage your fibroids while pregnant.
At USA Fibroid Centers, we offer Uterine Fibroid Embolization –– a minimally invasive, non-surgical treatment that can eliminate your fibroid symptoms while maintaining your fertility.