Uterine Fibroids during Pregnancy
Fibroids or leiomyomas are tumours that grow within the muscle tissue of the uterus. These are benign and are common in most women of reproductive age.
Below, you can find answers to some commonly asked questions about uterine fibroids during pregnancy.
What cause fibroids to form?
Fibroids are very common. There is no known cause for them to develop in your uterus. However, your hormonal activity and genetics may play a role in your getting them.
How is the presence of fibroids detected or diagnosed?
When you visit your doctor for a pregnancy check-up, a pelvic examination or an ultra-sound will help reveal whether you have fibroids or not.
What are the symptoms of fibroids being present in the uterus?
Pain is the most common symptom of fibroids in pregnancy. During pregnancy, if you experience abdominal pain or vaginal bleeding, report to your doctor immediately. If you had heavy or longer periods before you became pregnant, you may have had fibroids. However, in many cases, you might not experience any symptoms.
What happens to the fibroids during pregnancy?
When the estrogen hormone levels increase in your body, there is a risk that the fibroids in your uterus will also grow in size. This can alter the shape of your uterus. Depending on the size, type and location of the fibroid, there can be complications as you progress in your pregnancy.
What are the complications of uterine fibroids during pregnancy?
Some of the complications are listed below:
- First trimester bleeding.
- Fibroid growth may cause a tear in the placenta.
- Fibroids located at the lower part of the uterus may block the passage for baby during delivery. Your doctor will recommend a C-section in such a case.
- Depending on location and size of the fibroid in your uterus:
- There is a risk of you entering premature labour.
- It may cause the embryo to not develop, leading to miscarriage.
- The baby may lie in breech or transverse position.
- It may block the progress of labour.
- It may block the expulsion of the placenta.
- There can be heavy bleeding after delivery.
- It may also prevent proper contraction of the uterus post-delivery.
What are the ways to prevent uterine fibroids?
There is no known way to prevent uterine fibroids. Most fibroids are harmless and you will not require treatment in that case.
What are the treatment options available?
Due to the increased risk of hemorrhage, uterine fibroids are not removed during pregnancy. If the fibroids are painful, you can use ice packs and take ample bed rest. Your doctor will prescribe medication when necessary. Doctors will also recommend periodic scans in order monitor the growth of the fibroids.
For any other medical or surgical treatment, your doctor will advise you during the course of your pregnancy.