If you suffer from uterine fibroids, you may be wondering if it’s safe or even possible to become pregnant. Many women may not even realize they have fibroids until after they become pregnant and the doctor finds them in an ultrasound.
In most cases, fibroids do not pose a problem during pregnancy, but there are situations where they do. Depending on the size of the fibroid and where it is within your uterus, you may run into complications.
Pain throughout pregnancy
During pregnancy, hormones in your body cause your uterus to grow and enlarge to accommodate the growing fetus. The influx of these hormones may also cause the fibroids to grow. Because of the fetus that needs blood to grow, the fibroids may grow beyond their own blood supply, which can cause one of two things to happen.
The fibroids may undergo either red degeneration or white degeneration. With red degeneration, it bleeds into itself, and with white degeneration, portions may undergo cell death and become cystic. These can both cause temporary mild to severe abdominal pain, which can usually be controlled with over the counter medication.
In early pregnancy, there may be bleeding and a slightly increased risk of miscarriage, depending on where the fibroid is in the uterus. If it is submucosal, or grown into the uterine cavity, it can prevent normal implantation of the pregnancy or disrupt the growth of the placenta.
In late pregnancy, there are three main concerns. The first is preterm labor, which is more likely if the fibroid is large or if there are multiple fibroids. The second, placental abruption (the abnormal separation of the placenta) can occur if the fibroid grows into the place where the placenta is attached. Lastly, fetus growth restrictions are possible, but studies have not shown that it is any more likely with fibroids than without.
Depending on the size and location of the fibroids, they may cause complications during delivery, including causing the baby to lie in breech or transverse position or blocking the progress of labor or expulsion of the placenta.
If it seems like the fibroids may cause problems, the doctor may elect to perform a Cesarean section. At this time, he or she probably will not remove the fibroids because the risk of excessive bleeding is too high. Typically, your fibroids will shrink as your uterus recovers.
Under normal circumstances, fibroids should not cause problems during pregnancy, but you should make sure they are closely monitored by your doctor. If necessary, there are options to remove the fibroids during pregnancy that you can discuss with your doctor.
In most situations, it is best to have symptomatic fibroids removed before conceiving. If you are experiencing painful symptoms from uterine fibroids, visit our website to find out more about treatment options.
PLEASE NOTE: The above information should not be construed as providing specific medical advice, but rather to offer readers information to better understand their lives and health. It is not intended to provide an alternative to professional treatment or to replace the services of a physician.