There are two considerations when discussing fibroids and pregnancy. The first issue is whether or not fibroids and their treatment impact fertility. The second issue is how fibroids might affect a pregnancy.
Around 20% of women of child-bearing age have uterine fibroids. Fibroids should not be mistake for cancer even though they are often referred to as tumors. Around 35% of women over age 50 have them. Fibroids often shrink after menopause. Many women who have fibroids never have any symptoms. Uterine fibroids symptoms include pelvic pain, painful and heavy periods, a feeling of abdominal pressure and bloating, difficulty urinating or having a bowel movement, and pain during sexual intercourse. Generally, fertility is not significantly affected by having fibroids. If hormones have been used in shrinking fibroids, there shouldn’t be much impact on fertility. However, if uterine fibroid embolization is used as a treatment, the likelihood of getting pregnant diminishes somewhat. Studies show that most women will resume the periods and be fertile again after this procedure. Of course, if a woman has a hysterectomy for fibroids, she will be unable to get pregnant.
When it comes to having fibroids and pregnancy at the same time, the outlook is different. While there are some studies point to successful pregnancies, other studies are not quite as encouraging. One study of fibroids in pregnancy reported an increase in cesarean sections, early deliveries, and hemorrhage after childbirth. Higher percentages of early deliveries were noted in patients with fibroids in pregnancy who had been treated by embolization than those receiving other treatments. Because each woman’s situation is unique, it is advisable to have a serious discussion with your doctor about options for treating fibroids and the impact of each on fertility and the outcomes of future pregnancies.