Fibroids and pregnancy: what you need to know
There is often a lot of confusing information about fibroids and how they affect women. One of the most common concerns is the effect of fibroids on the ability of women to get pregnant.
Fibroids are very common and they affect about 1 in 4 Nigerian women and many of these women do not experience any symptoms, especially where the fibroids are small in size.
However, this is not to say that fibroids can not cause any problems. Indeed, one of the complications of fibroids is that they can cause issues with a woman’s ability to have a baby.
Effects of fibroids on fertility
There are two ways in which fibroids can affect a woman’s childbearing potential.
Firstly, fibroids can cause infertility by occupying a significant proportion of the womb, thereby preventing the woman’s fertilized egg from settling down within the womb (Implantation). Also, fibroids can also increase the risk of having an early pregnancy loss for the same reason.
Effects of Fibroids on pregnancy
Although fibroids can affect the ability of a woman to get pregnant, many women with fibroids go on to become pregnant normally. However, occasionally fibroids can also cause issues during pregnancy as well. Some of these issues include:
- Abdominal pain. Fibroids can grow in size during pregnancy, thereby causing pain and discomfort during pregnancy.
- Growth restriction. Fibroids can restrict the growth of the growing baby in the mother’s womb.
- Breech. Fibroids can restrict the movement of the baby in the womb, resulting in a breech presentation in the womb.
- Placenta positioning. The position of the placenta can also be affected by fibroids and this can also result in the placenta breaking away from the womb before the baby is at term.
- Preterm delivery. Occasionally, large fibroids can result in stimulation of the womb before the baby is term and result in premature labour.
What should I do if I have fibroids and I’m planning to become pregnant or I’m already pregnant?
If you are planning to get pregnant and you have fibroids, it is important that you discuss with your doctor so you can know how it is likely to affect your pregnancy. It is also important to discuss possible treatments for your fibroids before you become pregnant.
If you are already pregnant, there is a limit to what can be done to treat the fibroids because of the growing baby. Usually, your doctor will advise regular monitoring of you and your baby, more frequent scans and follow-up.