Fibroids and Your Pregnancy

Creative Commons License photo credit: RachelCrowder

Fibroids are masses of tissue, typically somewhat large masses, that are composed of uterine cell tissues. Fibroids are not cancerous. They have been known to grow both around and even inside of your uterus. Fibroids often distort the size and the shape of your uterus. Fibroids may be a few centimeters long, or up to 15 centimeters long or even longer. Often, they grow in groups. Somewhere around 50 to 80 percent of women have at least a single fibroid.

There are three kinds of fibroids. Fibroids that grow inside the uterine wall are known as intramural fibroids. These are the most common. Fibroids that grow outside of the uterus are called subserosal fibroids. These fibroids are often the largest of the types of fibroids. Finally, submucosal fibroids are the fibroids that will grow on the inside of your uterus. These are more rare, and account for somewhere around 1 in 20 fibroids.

During pregnancy, fibroids will typically increase in size. Most of the time, they will not affect your pregnancy or cause any symptoms. Fibroids can create a higher risk of having a miscarriage or of having preterm labor. If your fibroids grow to where they are extremely large, they can cause some complications. Postpartum hemorrhaging is one possible complication that they can cause. If the fibroids grow in such a way that they obstruct the birth canal, they can create difficulty with labor, including a stalled labor or the need to have a cesarean section. Sometimes, fibroids that grow in the uterus can cause your baby to be in a strange position, and can cause fetal malpresentation.

Generally speaking, fibroids are not treated during pregnancy. Your health care provider will probably want to keep an eye on how your fibroids are growing during your pregnancy, however. This will help to keep you aware of any potential complications. Generally speaking, fibroids will shrink back down after your delivery. If they do not, there are a variety of treatments, including medications, surgical removal fo the fibroids, or a hysterectomy.

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