HOW TO ENSURE YOU SET YOURSELF UP FOR YOUR BEST PREGNANCY JOURNEY
The CDC cites uterine fibroids as being the most common noncancerous tumors in women of childbearing age. For women who are pregnant or want to become pregnant, it's important to know that a history of fibroids or fibroid surgery does NOT mean your pregnancy and birth journeys will be riddled with complications and adverse outcomes. Knowing your risks upfront is a way to calm anxieties and make sure that you take the right precautions before, during and after birthing your child(ren). Don't know where to start? No worries, TruDiary has your back!
Not yet pregnant or about to be, and wanting children when you have a history of
You're not alone. Many women have been there and have gone on to have healthy babies. The best thing you can do is educate yourself on your current conditions, and you can do that with regular checkups with a primary care doctor, and even better, an OB-GYN. These specialized care takers understand the risks and development of fibroids and can help you make the best decision for yourself of conceiving. It's important to note that 60-70% of women with fibroids go on to have healthy pregnancies, so getting ahead of the issues is the best way to ensure better chances of a happy pregnancy.
We spoke with a first-time mom who, at 37, just delivered a healthy baby girl. When speaking of her pregnancy, she describes it as pleasant, despite having undergone an intense myomectomy less than six years ago. Because of her history with fibroids, she was really concerned when she and her husband decided to start expanding their family. Instead of letting fear of the unknown cripple her dreams of raising children, she said she was able to get ahead of her anxiety and worries by developing strong self-advocacy, doing some research, and improving her confidence to be able to ask the right questions to her OB-GYN. Here are some questions she recommends you ask your health professional should you ever find yourself dealing with pregnancy and fibroids:
Can you detect the location(s) and size(s) of any fibroids I may have right now?2. What are the risks for me getting or being pregnant now?
If surgery is recommended, ask: "Can you tell me all my options for surgery?"
and "What are the recovery times?"
What are my chances that the fibroids could return?
Are the fibroids interfering with my chances of getting pregnant? And, why?6. What actions can I take to prevent fibroid growth or prevent them from coming
What actions can I take to prevent fibroid growth or prevent them from coming back all-together?
These are all good questions to start a meaningful dialogue with your doctor or health care professional. Remember that you know your body best, and if you receive feedback from any professional that doesn't sound or intuitively feel right to you, don't be afraid to ask your family, friends, or even the doctor themselves, for a referral so you can get a second opinion. Maternal healthcare works best when everyone is invested in mom and child's well-being.
Have fibroids or a history of fibroids and you're already in your pregnancy journey now?
Well first thing's first, most pregnant women with fibroids do NOT get surgical treatment during their pregnancies. And that is not to say that it doesn't happen, because it can, but it is rare. You should regularly check in with your OB-GYN and/or primary care physician to determine what would be most effective to experience the best pregnancy and birth.
While fibroids only impact a fractional number of pregnant women, typically, pregnant women who have uterine fibroids will be treated for the most common symptoms: pain, bleeding (hemorrhaging) and preterm births. In more extreme conditions, this usually entails hospital stays for frequent monitoring. But in the best scenarios, this could be as simple as checking in with your doctor for screenings during regularly scheduled maternity check-ups.
Again, the best way to approach your condition is to seek out feedback and recommendations from trained professionals or your OB-GYN. In addition to the questions above, below are some specific questions that can help pregnant women keep an open, honest, and genuine conversation with doctors if pregnant and have a history of fibroids:
Should I be getting more frequent screenings for my fibroids during my pregnancy?
How can I begin to change my activities to help mitigate any complications with my pregnancy? (ex. diet, exercise, work, mental health practices, etc.)
Can I still have a vaginal birth? Why or why not?
What medications or over-the-counter remedies and drugs should I be avoiding when I feel pain?
What can you tell me about post-partum hemorrhaging? What are my risks?
What can I do to prepare for the actual birth of my child and after? What could my support circle do to help me?
It's always best to be your own best advocate when it comes to being pregnant with fibroids, and that means finding out answers to questions that will help you maintain a healthy pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. The questions we posed are recommended to start the conversation, developing trustworthy dialogues about your pregnancy journey with your care team and doctors.