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Fibroids During Pregnancy

June 13, 2022
Virtual Gynecology

Fibroids are abnormal, noncancerous growths within the uterus of a woman. They are common in women aged 30 to 40 but can occur at any age. The risk of having fibroids increases with age.

A woman can have multiple fibroids of various sizes. Fibroids can grow within the uterine wall, inside the uterine cavity, or outside the uterine wall. 

Fibroids can be present during pregnancy, although detecting fibroids during pregnancy can be tricky. Most times, fibroids do not cause problems for women or their babies. Women with fibroids can go on to have normal and safe pregnancies. In some cases, however, they can cause challenges.

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Challenges associated with fibroids during pregnancy

First trimester

Usually, fibroids do not grow while you are pregnant. Instead, they remain the same size or shrink. However, there are cases where fibroids increase in size during pregnancy, especially in the first twelve weeks.

Fibroids need estrogen, a female reproductive hormone, to grow. When you become pregnant, estrogen is produced in higher amounts. Increased levels of estrogen may make fibroids grow during pregnancy. When that happens, it may cause the following:

  • Bleeding and pain
  • Miscarriage, where pregnancy ends before 20 weeks

Your chances of having problems in your first trimester increase with the number and size of fibroids you may have. In other words, the more fibroids you have or, the larger your fibroids are, the more your chances of having challenges during pregnancy.

Second and Third Trimesters

As your baby grows, your uterus expands to accommodate your baby better. As your uterus grows, it can push against your fibroids and bring about the following problems:

  • Pain
  • Cramping, when fibroids twist.
  • Placental abruption
  • Heavy bleeding
  • Miscarriage due to cramping, pains, and bleeding.
  • Preterm delivery, where the baby is born before 37 weeks of pregnancy.

Delivery and Childbirth

Having uterine fibroids increases your risk of having a cesarean section. The reason is that fibroids can prevent the uterus from contracting. 

In rare cases, large fibroids can block your birth canal and hence, the need for the baby to be delivered via cesarean birth.

Another potential challenge is breech birth, where the baby's butt or feet is born first. Typically, a baby is positioned with his head down and hence, born head first. 

Postpartum

Usually, fibroids decrease in size after pregnancy. As the uterus remolds into its pre-pregnant state, it helps reduce or shrink fibroids. According to a study, about 70% of women experience more than 50% reduced fibroids size. 

Treatment of fibroids during pregnancy

Usually, fibroids do not need to be treated during pregnancy. The baby and fibroids can coexist in the uterus throughout pregnancy. In most cases, fibroids move out of the baby's way as the uterus expands.

If you have problems with fibroids, such as pain, discomfort, or bleeding, you may be placed on bed rest. Your doctor may admit you and ask you to rest in the hospital for a while. Where the pain is mild or without bleeding, pain relief medications may be given.

In rare cases, surgery 'myomectomy' may be required to remove the fibroids. If a pregnant woman has surgery to remove fibroids, she may need a cesarean section.

Cesarean section is also performed for pregnant women at risk of uterine rupture. This may also be due to previous uterine surgeries or cesarean sections.

What we can do to help

A visit to us helps you get your prenatal care started while you await your appointment with your local OB doctor. Have you been diagnosed with fibroids and already having symptoms? At My Virtual Physician, we are available to help guide you through your pregnancy and answer any questions that may arise.

We are in-network with many insurance health plans, including Medicaid, Medicare, United HealthCare, and Blue Cross. 

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