The prevalence of uterine fibroids during pregnancy is likely underestimated. The majority of fibroids do not change their size during pregnancy, but one-third may grow in the first trimester. In this article, we will learn if fibroids can cause pregnancy loss and how it happens.
Can fibroids lead to pregnancy loss?
Yes. They can cause miscarriage, but it is rare. Depending on their location in the uterus, fibroids may result in recurrent pregnancy loss and infertility. It is important to note that not all fibroids will cause these complications during pregnancy, and many women with fibroids will have successful pregnancies. If a woman has fibroids and is planning to become pregnant, it is important to discuss this with her healthcare provider to determine whether there is a requirement of any management or treatment.
How can fibroids cause a miscarriage?
In rare cases, fibroids can cause miscarriage. Fibroids can increase the risks during a pregnancy in several ways. The most common complications of fibroids are early pregnancy bleeding and premature rupture of membranes.
In late pregnancy, fibroids can cause preterm labour (also causing preterm delivery), placental abruption, placenta previa [a complication where the placenta completely or partially covers the opening of the uterus (cervix)], fetal growth restriction, and fetal anomalies. Additionally, pelvic pain and pressure from a uterine fibroid can negatively impact a pregnancy.
The risk of pregnancy loss is primarily associated with the location of the fibroid. A fibroid growing in the uterus it may interfere with either the implantation or the growth of the fetus. If a fibroid is located in the uterus, it can cause abnormal growth of the placenta and can also impede blood flow to the fetus. This can lead to fetal growth restriction, which can cause the death of the fetus.
However, if a fibroid is located near the birth canal, it can obstruct labour and delivery, leading to cesarean delivery or preterm labour, which can also increase the risk of fetal death.
Furthermore, larger fibroids may press on the surrounding organs, bladder and rectum and cause discomfort or pain during pregnancy. This can lead to a higher risk of cesarean section, which is a major surgery that carries its own risks.
Lastly, fibroids can cause abnormal bleeding during pregnancy, which can lead to the loss of pregnancy.
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