Uterine fibroids are a very common finding in women of reproductive age. The majority of fibroids do not change their size during pregnancy, but one-third may grow in the first trimester. Literature suggests that uterine fibroids are associated with an increased rate of spontaneous miscarriage, preterm labour, placenta abruption, mal-presentation, labour dystocia, caesarean delivery, and postpartum haemorrhage.
Fibroids and pregnancy
If you have fibroids, you may still be able to get pregnant. Many women who have fibroids get pregnant naturally. Advances in treatments for fibroids and for infertility have greatly improved the chances for a woman to conceive.
Fibroids usually develop prior to pregnancy, though many women don’t know they have one until they have an ultrasound or the fibroid is discovered during a pelvic exam.
Most women who have one or more of these noncancerous growths experience no pregnancy complications because of them. For the 10 to 30 percent of pregnant women with fibroids who do end up having complications, the most common is abdominal pain, which occasionally may be accompanied by light vaginal bleeding.
Effects of fibroids on the baby
Even if you do experience symptoms due to fibroids, they most likely won’t affect the baby. However, your risk of miscarriage and premature delivery does increase slightly if you have fibroids. They occasionally cause the baby to be in an abnormal position for delivery. They can also stall labour, or, if they’re located in or near the cervical opening, they may block the baby’s passage. All of these (rather rare) problems can increase the likelihood of caesarean delivery.
Treatment of fibroid tumours during pregnancy
Painful fibroids are usually treated with bed rest, ice packs, and — when necessary — medication. Symptoms usually subside within a few days. Fibroids sometimes grow larger during pregnancy, due in part to pregnancy hormones. Surgery is not recommended during pregnancy.