Fibroids are benign uterine growths that grow within the muscles tissue of the uterus and, for some women, can cause menstrual bleeding, frequent peeing and constipation.
However, other women may not experience any symptoms and the fibroids may not be discovered until they have an ultrasound during pregnancy.
Depending on where the fibroids are situated they can affect your fertility and even cause complications during pregnancy, but many women do go on to deliver healthy babies.
1. How will it affect my pregnancy?
If you do have fibroids, they may cause the following complications during pregnancy:
- Bleeding during the first trimester
- Create a blockage in the birth canal so you will have to undergo a Caesarean
- Placenta displacement caused by accelerated growth of the fibroids which can tear or move the placenta
- Depending on where the fibroids are situated, you may be at an increased risk of going into premature labour
- Increased risk of miscarriage if the fibroids are in a location that prevents the embryo from developing
2. What causes them to grow?
Fibroids are believed to be linked to the production of oestrogen; when the hormone is at its highest level, such as during pregnancy, it can cause the fibroids to increase in size. The exact cause of how or why they develop is unknown.
3. What is Red Degeneration?
Red Degeneration usually happens during the second trimester and occurs when the blood supply to the fibroids stops causing it to die. This usually results in a lot of pain for the mum.
Thankfully, using a heat pad, painkillers, ice-packs or even increasing your fluid intake can help with the pain. For very severe cases, you may be admitted into hospital and given an intravenous painkiller.
Red degeneration can cause intense abdominal contractions which may, in fact, lead to premature labor or even miscarriage.
4. Should they be removed?
Due to an increased risk of haemorrhage, fibroids are not generally removed during pregnancy. They can, however, shrink or even disappear over time without any treatment.
Always talk to your doctor if you have any concerns about your health.