Uterine fibroids, a common type of growth in the uterus, affect many women of reproductive age, though they’re often small and undetectable.
Up to 10% of pregnant women have detectable fibroids. Most of them are harmless, and they seldom become cancerous. Still, having fibroids during pregnancy might cause some uncertainty for you leading up to childbirth.
Our team of expert OB/GYNs at The Association for Women’s Health Care in The Loop in Chicago and in Northbrook, Illinois, provide top-class obstetric care to guide you through your pregnancy.
We’re prepared to answer your questions about fibroids and advise you on how to manage your health as you prepare for childbirth.
Before your next visit, we invite you to learn about fibroids and pregnancy in this month’s blog. Here are four important facts about how fibroids affect pregnancy.
Pregnancy hormones can make your fibroids grow
During pregnancy, hormones flood your body and affect the way you feel. They’re responsible for the many bodily changes that support a full-term pregnancy. You can thank pregnancy hormones for morning sickness, breast enlargement, and mood swings.
Those same hormones, especially estrogen, can influence the size of your uterine fibroids. Most of this fibroid growth happens during your first trimester, which is the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
Growing fibroids during pregnancy may or may not lead to complications. Some women experience pain or bleeding due to the growth of their fibroids in the first trimester.
Additionally, you’re more likely to experience a miscarriage in early pregnancy as fibroids grow, especially if you have multiple fibroids. Be mindful of this possibility, although the majority of pregnant women with fibroids don’t miscarry.
Fibroids increase the likelihood of needing a C-section
Unlike vaginal birth, a Cesarean section, or C-section, is a surgical delivery. If you have uterine fibroids, you’re more likely to need a C-section than you would be without them. This is because the growths can affect the uterine contractions necessary for birthing a baby.
In some cases, fibroids block the birth canal and prevent a safe vaginal delivery.
Even so, you may not need a C-section. Our team at The Association for Women’s Health Care determines your needs after careful evaluation.
Fibroids shrink after you give birth
Although growing fibroids can cause discomfort during pregnancy, you can take comfort in knowing they’ll most likely shrink after your baby is born. In fact, just 3-6 months after delivery, around 70% of women who had fibroids in pregnancy experienced a 50% reduction in the sizes of those fibroids.
Fibroids increase the risk of a placental abruption
Placental abruption is a pregnancy complication that occurs when the placenta detaches from the uterine wall before delivery. This can deprive your baby of oxygen and is a medical emergency.
Report any unusual pain or other symptoms to your OB/GYN right away including abdominal pain, back pain, or contractions. You may or may not experience heavy bleeding in the event of a placental abruption.
Fibroids are extremely common among women of childbearing age, and many women go through entire pregnancies with no complications from their fibroids. Still, it’s important to stay informed and keep in touch with us. To schedule your next prenatal visit, call us today.