How To Deal With Fibroids During Pregnancy

If you are pregnant and have been diagnosed with fibroids, you may be feeling a range of emotions. You may be feeling everything from anxious to confused. You are not alone! Many pregnant women face this situation. It is one of the most common problems women face. Do not worry, there is hope! This blog post will provide information about how to deal with fibroids during pregnancy. We will discuss the various symptoms, treatment options available to you and how to make the best decision for your health and that of your baby.

The important thing to remember is that fibroids are common among women of reproductive age. The good news is that in most cases, fibroids will not cause any problems during pregnancy. However, there are certain situations where they can become a concern. It is important to be aware of how they might affect you and the development of the baby.

This article does not give medical advice. Please always check with your doctor if you have any questions or concerns.

A woman wears all white and holds her hands around her pregnant belly.

What Are Uterine Fibroids?

Uterine fibroids are noncancerous growths in the uterine cavity. The size of the fibroids can range from tiny to very large fibroids. During pregnancy, these fibroids can grow faster due to increased levels of hormones. They may cause symptoms like heavy menstrual bleeding and abdominal discomfort. Fibroids typically do not affect a woman’s ability to become pregnant or carry a baby to term. The fibroids typically do not cause any harm, but in rare cases, they can cause complications during pregnancy.

Fibroids can be located in different positions in the uterus. Submucosal fibroids, which are near the inner lining of the uterine wall, can cause heavy periods and interfere with implantation of a fertilized egg. Sometimes the fibroids can block the fallopian tubes, making it harder to get pregnant. Intramural fibroids, which grow within the wall of the uterus, can cause pain or pressure sensations during pregnancy. Subserosal fibroids which develop on the outside of the womb can cause pressure or discomfort in some cases. Pedunculated fibroids grow on a stalk and can cause pain or bleeding.

A fibroid tumor is often asymptomatic until it reaches a certain size. It is important to have regular check-ups and screenings during pregnancy to monitor the growth of any fibroids or development of any new fibroids. It is also essential to discuss the symptoms of uterine fibroids with your doctor if they arise. This will help you better understand what changes in symptoms or side effects to look for.

Fibroid Symptoms and Signs

The most common symptoms of fibroids during pregnancy are pain and pressure sensations in the belly. Women may also experience vaginal bleeding, constipation or frequent urination. Other sometimes painful symptoms of fibroids can include painful periods or pelvic pressure. In some cases, the fibroid can cause a miscarriage, preterm labor, or preterm delivery, if it grows too large. Risk factors for developing fibroids can include age, certain medical conditions, or a family history of fibroids. African American women are also at a higher risk of developing fibroids.

A close up of a woman's pregnant belly as she faces to the side.

Diagnosing Uterine Fibroids During Pregnancy

During the first trimester of pregnancy, which lasts until around 14 weeks gestation, your doctor may perform a pelvic exam. This allows them to look for some types of uterine fibroids. In addition, an ultrasound may be used to confirm the presence of fibroids. This is especially important if a woman has had pelvic pain or heavy bleeding during the first trimester. These symptoms can be a sign that there may be an issue with the fibroids.

An interventional radiologist may also perform a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan to diagnose the size and location of fibroids during pregnancy. This type of scan is used when there are symptoms that suggest a potential problem with the fibroids, such as pelvic pain or heavy bleeding.

Treatment Options For Fibroids

The fibroid treatments during pregnancy will depend on how severe the symptoms are, the location of the fibroid, and how far along you are in your pregnancy. The number of fibroids is another factor in considering your treatment options. The most common treatments include:

1. Medications: Your doctor may prescribe medication to help reduce or manage symptoms. These medications can help reduce the size and pain of fibroids, as well as regulate heavy menstrual bleeding. These medications are typically safe to take during pregnancy.

2. Uterine Artery Embolization (UAE): In this procedure, a doctor will inject tiny particles into the artery that supplies blood to the uterus in order to block off or shrink the fibroids. This procedure is typically done during the second trimester and can help relieve symptoms like abdominal pain and heavy bleeding.

3. Uterine Fibroid Embolization: This is similar to UAE, but instead of blocking off the artery that supplies blood to the uterus, the doctor will inject tiny particles directly into the fibroids in order to shrink them.

4. Myomectomy: This procedure involves surgically removing individual fibroids from the wall of your uterus. It can be done during the second or third trimester. It is usually only recommended if the fibroid is causing severe symptoms.

5. Hysterectomy: This surgical procedure involves completely removing the uterus and can be done after a vaginal delivery of the baby, or in some cases following a cesarean section (C-section). It is typically a last resort for severe cases and only recommended in cases where the fibroids are causing significant pain or other symptoms. It is a more invasive procedure than the options listed above.

The best treatment option for you will depend on how far along in your pregnancy you are, the location of your fibroids, and the severity of your symptoms or fibroid pain. Your doctor will be able to help you decide if you are a good candidate for each type of treatment and find the one that is right for you.

A woman wears a blue shirt and lays on the couch.  Her hand is on her head.

Can You Leave Uterine Fibroids Untreated?

In some cases, it may be possible to leave uterine fibroids untreated during pregnancy. Your doctor or a fibroid specialist can monitor the fibroid growth to ensure they do not become dangerous to your health or the health of your baby. However, if the fibroid is causing severe pain or symptoms or there are any complications with your baby’s development, then treatment will likely be necessary.

If left untreated, the fibroids can lead to possible pregnancy complications like preterm labor, fetal growth restriction (also known sometimes as intrauterine growth restriction), heavy bleeding after delivery, or even a higher risk of miscarriage. A placental abruption (the premature separation of the placenta from the uterus) can also occur if fibroids are left untreated. Therefore, it is important to speak with your doctor about the best treatment for you and how to make the best decision for your health and that of your baby.

Managing Fibroids During Pregnancy

In addition to choosing a treatment option, there are steps you can take to help manage your symptoms during pregnancy. These include:

1. Eating a healthy diet and living a healthy lifestyle: Getting proper nutrition can help reduce the risk of complications and improve how you feel overall. Talk to your doctor about which foods are best for you and how much of them you should be eating.

2. Being active: Regular exercise is important for your health, especially during pregnancy. Talk to your doctor about how much exercise you should be getting and which activities are safe for you.

3. Getting enough rest: It is important to get plenty of rest so that your body can heal and you can stay healthy. Make sure to get at least seven to eight hours of sleep each night and take naps when needed. In some extreme cases, you may even need to go on bed rest just to be cautious. Your healthcare provider will recommend this if they feel it is necessary.

4. Talking to your doctor: Your doctor can help answer any questions you have and provide advice on how to manage your symptoms. If you are feeling overwhelmed, do not hesitate to talk to your doctor about how you are feeling.

A woman holds an apple in her hand and lays down on a bed on her side.

Will Fibroids Affect My Chances Of Getting Pregnant?

Having fibroids can make it more difficult to get pregnant, but it is not impossible. Fibroids are unlikely to be the cause of infertility in most cases, and with attentive medical care and lifestyle adjustments, you can still achieve a successful future pregnancy. Talk to your doctor about how best to manage your condition and if any extra steps are needed to get pregnant or maintain the pregnancy. Normal pregnancies are possible with fibroids, but it is important to stay in close contact with your doctor so they can monitor how the pregnancy progresses.

Uterine fibroids during pregnancy can cause pain and other symptoms that make the experience more difficult. It is important to take the necessary steps to manage your fibroid symptoms and make sure you are taking care of your health during pregnancy. Choosing the right treatment, or monitoring, option and talking to your doctor can help ensure that you and your baby stay healthy throughout the entire pregnancy. With the right care, you can enjoy a safe and healthy pregnancy.

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