Fibroids During Pregnancy
During pregnancy, most women experience no effects from fibroids. However, a small percentage of women may experience complications with their fibroids during their pregnancy. Small or even medium-sized fibroids are unlikely to have a significant effect on pregnancies. However, fibroids may increase in size over time as a result of an increased level of hormones and blood flow to the uterus. The growth of fibroids may cause discomfort, feelings of pressure, or pain. Unless a woman is experiencing symptoms, she usually does not need to undergo treatment. However, once symptoms occur, it is important to seek medical attention.
What are Fibroids?
Fibroids are benign, hormone sensitive tumors of the uterine muscle that can occur at varying areas of the uterine wall. They can cause pain, excessive vaginal bleeding, dysfunctional menstrual cycles, and pressure on other organs. They can also cause problems with fertility, and interfere with implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterine lining.
Fibroids are almost always non-cancerous, or benign. It is very rare for a fibroid to be cancerous, less than 1 in 1,000. Having fibroids does not increase the risk of developing a cancerous fibroid, or any other chance of developing other forms of cancer in the uterus.
Although it is unclear what the exact cause of fibroids is, there are several factors that could affect their development, including hormones, pregnancy, and family history.
How Fibroids Affect Pregnancies
Fibroids may increase your risk of complications during pregnancy and delivery. Some of those risks include:
- Fetal Growth Restriction, where the fetus cannot grow fully because of the decreased amount of space inside the uterus.
- Placental Abruption, when the placenta breaks away from the uterine wall because a fibroid is in the way.
- Preterm delivery, where the baby is delivered early because of uterine contractions. Pain from the fibroids could cause these uterine contractions.
- Cesarean Delivery, which is increased in likelihood for those with fibroids. Fibroids cause an abnormal shape in the uterus, which can cause the baby to be in breech position (baby is
- positioned with its legs down and head up, rather than the head down and legs up).
- Miscarriages are two times more likely to occur to a woman with fibroids compared to a woman without any.
How Pregnancies Affect Fibroids
Most fibroids do not change size during pregnancy, however some may grow during the first trimester. The increase in estrogen could be the cause of this. However for other women, fibroids may shrink during pregnancy.
How Fibroids Affect Fertility
Many women with fibroids can get pregnant naturally. However, some fibroids can grow and bulge into the uterus, increasing your risk for infertility or miscarriage. Consult your doctor if you are having trouble conceiving.
How do you Remove Fibroids?
Unless a woman is experiencing symptoms, she usually does not need to undergo treatment. However, once symptoms occur, it is important to seek medical attention.
During pregnancy, the options for treatment are limited because of the risks to the fetus. Doctors typically recommend bed rest, hydration, and mild pain relievers to ease symptoms.
In rare cases, a myomectomy may be performed for women in the second half of their pregnancies. This involves making one or more incisions to access the uterus and remove the fibroids along the outside of it or within the uterine wall. Doctors usually leave fibroids that have developed in the uterus itself to avoid risks to the fetus.
If you have are pregnant and think you have fibroids, contact NYC Surgical Associates today.