What are uterine fibroids?
Uterine fibroids are benign tumors that develop in the uterus and are known as hysteromyoma or fibromas. They are nothing but a collection of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue. They can grow inside the uterine cavity, outside the uterus, or within the wall of the uterus. We get this in women of childbearing age. Generally, fibroids are benign and do not produce any symptoms; hence, they often remain undiagnosed.
Can I become pregnant if I have fibroids?
Yes, you can achieve a successful pregnancy despite having fibroids. Fibroids do not interfere with your menstrual cycle in any way. They thrive on the hormones estrogen and progesterone that are produced during the menstrual cycle. If diagnosed before conception, that is before you take a pregnancy test and get positive, it is better to treat them to avoid all the complications that can occur otherwise.
How do fibroids affect pregnancy?
Fibroids can increase in size during pregnancy as their growth depends on progesterone and estrogen hormones. Occasionally, because of their rapid growth, the central portion of the fibroid may degenerate, causing pain. If a fibroid is located outside the uterus and connected via a stalk, torsion can take place, causing severe pain. Oral painkillers can be prescribed during such events because fibroids cannot be surgically removed during pregnancy to avoid any damage to the uterus and the developing embryo. Occasionally, there may be minor vaginal bleeding but rarely affects the baby unless the bleeding is significant. You might have to undergo ultrasound regularly to keep a tab on the growth of the fibroids in the uterus because they may occasionally shrink during pregnancy due to unexplained reasons.
How can fibroids affect the growing fetus?
If a fibroid is situated just beside the placenta, the blood supply to the fetus may be compromised. It may hamper the growth of the baby, and if blood supply is severely compromised, it may result in an underweight child, causing a premature delivery. A growing fibroid increases the risk of premature rupture of placental membranes, leading to early delivery.
Are there any complications caused by fibroids during delivery?
Sometimes, a vaginal delivery is not possible because of fibroids. The position of the baby depends on the location of the fibroid, so the baby may end up in a breech position or any other position that makes delivery difficult. Further, if the fibroid is near the cervix, it is most likely to obstruct a vaginal birth, and hence, these circumstances make it mandatory for the doctors to perform a C-section. Occasionally, when the fibroid removal is performed during a C-section, it may lead to severe bleeding, it leaves no option for the doctor but to remove the uterus to stop the blood loss.