The effect of uterine fibroids on pregnancy is an important consideration to make when planning to start a family. Fibroids may affect your fertility and may also impact your ability to carry a pregnancy successfully. If you’re concerned about how fibroids can adversely affect your fertility or create problems in your pregnancy, fibroid treatment and pregnancy planning with a fibroid expert can help you manage your fibroids and reduce their effect on your current or future pregnancy.
The majority of pregnant women do not encounter complications as a result of fibroids, but some do. For the 10 to 30% of women who do, these range from abdominal pain to more serious challenges that could affect the baby’s delivery or successful development. Your symptoms depend on the types of fibroids you have, the size of your fibroids, and how many there are.
The most common symptoms of fibroids include:
Going to a fibroid gynecologist early on and discussing fibroid treatments and pregnancy can help you treat and address these symptoms before they impact your overall fertility. Even if you have fibroids, having a fibroid ultrasound at regular intervals can help you monitor the progress of your pregnancy and the growth of your fibroids.
Fibroids and pregnancy are associated for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is hormones. An increase in estrogen appears to have an effect on growing fibroids and estrogen levels rise during pregnancy. After delivery, estrogen and progesterone levels decline dramatically, and fibroids often shrink. Lactation further reduces estrogen and progesterone.
Interestingly, the risk of developing fibroids is higher in women who have never given birth. The cause of this is believed to be increased exposure to menstrual cycles uninterrupted by pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Some women with fibroids have uneventful pregnancies, while others may experience complications. Increased risks posed by fibroids include:
Fetal growth restriction – Large fibroids may prohibit a fetus from growing to full size due to decreased room in the uterus.
Placental abruption – The placenta can tear away from the uterine wall because it’s blocked by a fibroid, reducing vital oxygen and nutrients.
Preterm labor and delivery – Fibroids may cause intense fibroid pain, who could lead to uterine contractions that lead to early labor and delivery. In these cases, partnering with a healthcare professional specializing in fibroid treatments and pregnancy is essential.
Cesarean section – If the cavity is shaped abnormally due to the presence of fibroids, the baby may not be able to align for vaginal delivery and may be in breech position. Additionally, fibroids can keep the uterus contracting and can block the birth canal, slowing down the progress of labor.
Miscarriage – Research shows that spontaneous miscarriage rates in early pregnancy are higher in women with fibroids than women without fibroids. Additionally, bleeding and pain is significantly more common.
If you suspect you have fibroids, the team at Viva Eve can diagnose your condition and suggest the best course of treatment. With an interdisciplinary team of specialists all in house, Viva Eve provides customized, expert care pertaining to fibroid treatments and pregnancy.
Fibroid treatment during pregnancy varies due to risk to the fetus. Less invasive approaches are usually recommended, such as bed rest, hydration, and pain medication. A doctor specializing in fibroid treatments and pregnancy can diagnose your condition and explain what measures you can take during your pregnancy journey.
If you have fibroids and you want to start a family, seek the care of a specialist, who can oversee fibroid treatments and pregnancy to optimize your chances of having a healthy pregnancy.