Fibroids are non-cancerous growths that develop in the uterus. They can cause problems during pregnancy, including pain, heavy bleeding, and preterm labor. Managing fibroids during pregnancy can be challenging, but with proper care, you can reduce the risks and ensure a healthy pregnancy. Here is your guide on how to manage fibroids during pregnancy.
What are Fibroids?
Fibroids are common in women of childbearing age. These are non-cancerous growths that develop in or around the uterus. They are made up of muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue. No one knows what causes fibroids to develop, but it is believed that hormones such as estrogen and progesterone play a role in their growth.
Types of Fibroids
- Submucosal fibroids: These develop just under the lining of the uterus and grow into the uterine cavity.
- Subserosal fibroids: These grow on the outside of the uterus and can become very large.
- Intramural fibroids: These grow within the wall of the uterus and are the most common type of fibroids.
Fibroids and Pregnancy
Fibroids can cause problems during pregnancy, but not always. In many cases, fibroids do not grow or cause any symptoms during pregnancy. However, for some women, the fibroids can grow and cause problems. Some of the risks associated with fibroids during pregnancy include:
- Preterm labor
- Breech presentation
- Placental abruption
- Preterm birth
- Cesarean delivery
When to See a Doctor
If you have been diagnosed with fibroids and become pregnant, it is important to see your doctor regularly. Your doctor may recommend an ultrasound to monitor the size of the fibroids and check for any complications. Additionally, if you experience any of the following symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention right away:
- Heavy bleeding
- Severe pain
- Contractions before 37 weeks
- Decreased fetal movement
Managing Fibroids During Pregnancy
Managing fibroids during pregnancy is necessary to avoid complications. Here are some ways to manage fibroids during pregnancy:
1) Regular Monitoring
Your doctor will monitor your fibroids closely during pregnancy. They will check for any changes in size, location or number of fibroids. Regular monitoring can help detect any complications early and ensure prompt treatment if needed.
2) Ultrasound Imaging
Your doctor may perform an ultrasound imaging test to monitor the size and location of your fibroids. Ultrasound imaging is safe and does not use radiation, making it an ideal way to monitor your fibroids during pregnancy.
3) Pain Management
Fibroids during pregnancy can cause pain and discomfort. Over-the-counter drugs like acetaminophen and ibuprofen can be used to manage pain. However, before taking any medication, it is important to consult with your doctor first.
4) Hormone Therapy
Hormone therapy can be used to shrink fibroids before pregnancy. However, it is not recommended during pregnancy. Hormone therapy can cause preterm labor, birth defects, and other complications. Your doctor will discuss the risks and benefits of hormone therapy with you.
Surgery to remove fibroids during pregnancy is rare, but it may be necessary if the fibroids are causing complications such as heavy bleeding or preterm labor. Your doctor will discuss the risks and benefits of surgery with you.
Lifestyle Changes to Manage Fibroids During Pregnancy
Lifestyle changes can help manage fibroids during pregnancy. Here are some changes you can make:
1) Eat a Healthy Diet
Eating a healthy diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help manage fibroids. Avoid foods that are high in fat, sugar, and salt.
2) Exercise Regularly
Exercise has many benefits during pregnancy, including managing fibroids. Exercise can help reduce stress, manage weight gain, and improve circulation.
3) Get Enough Sleep
Getting enough sleep is important during pregnancy. Sleep can help reduce stress, improve circulation, and manage fibroids.
Managing fibroids during pregnancy is important to ensure a healthy pregnancy. Regular monitoring, ultrasound imaging, pain management, hormone therapy, and surgery are some ways to manage fibroids during pregnancy. Additionally, lifestyle changes like eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep can also help manage fibroids. If you have been diagnosed with fibroids and become pregnant, it is important to see your doctor regularly and seek medical attention if you experience any symptoms.
Common Questions and Answers
- Q: Can fibroids cause a miscarriage?
- A: It is rare for fibroids to cause a miscarriage, but they can increase the risk of preterm labor and premature birth.
- Q: Can fibroids be treated during pregnancy?
- A: Surgery to remove fibroids during pregnancy is rare, but it may be necessary if the fibroids are causing complications such as heavy bleeding or preterm labor.
- Q: Can fibroids grow during pregnancy?
- A: Yes. Fibroids can grow during pregnancy. Regular monitoring and ultrasound imaging can help detect any changes in size or number of fibroids.
- Q: Can fibroids cause pain during pregnancy?
- A: Yes, fibroids can cause pain and discomfort during pregnancy. Pain management techniques like over-the-counter drugs and exercises can help manage pain.
- Q: Can fibroids cause complications during pregnancy?
- A: Yes. Fibroids can cause complications like preterm labor, placental abruption, and preterm birth during pregnancy. Regular monitoring and ultrasound imaging can help detect any complications early.
1) American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (2018). Frequently Asked Questions on Fibroids. Retrieved from https://www.acog.org/patient-resources/faqs/gynecologic-problems/fibroids
2) Mayo Clinic. (2021). Uterine fibroids. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/uterine-fibroids/symptoms-causes/syc-20354288
3) National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. (2021). Fibroid Research: Current State & Future Directions. Retrieved from https://www.nichd.nih.gov/newsroom/news/052321-fibroid-research