Fibroids are non-cancerous tumours that may impact the fertility and pregnancy chances of a woman. However, not every woman may face this problem. In this article, we will discuss about the ways in which uterine fibroids can prevent as well as affect pregnancy.
How does uterine fibroids prevent pregnancy?
Uterine fibroids are benign (non-cancerous) tumours that develop in the uterus. They can lead to various symptoms and complications, including difficulty getting pregnant.
One of the main ways that uterine fibroids can prevent pregnancy is by blocking the fallopian tubes. These tubes carry the egg from the ovary to the uterus. If the fibroids are located near the tubes, they can physically obstruct the egg from passing through. This will stop the process of fertilisation of the egg. Additionally, fibroids can also lead to a change in the shape of the uterus. This change can further make it difficult for a fertilised egg to implant and grow properly.
Fibroids can also cause abnormal bleeding, which can make it difficult for a woman to become pregnant. Heavy bleeding can disrupt the menstrual cycle, making it harder to predict ovulation and time of intercourse. Additionally, blood loss can lead to anemia, which can further impact a woman if she gets pregnant. Anemia is linked with increased premature birth rates, low birth weight and perinatal mortality.
Fibroids can impair fertility in various ways. Research states that the cause of infertility is fibroids in around 5-10% of patients. Fibroids can also lead to infertility by affecting the production of hormones that are necessary for pregnancy. For example, women with uterine fibroids are associated with high estrogen levels, which can disrupt the ovulation process, making it harder to get pregnant.
Overall, uterine fibroids can prevent pregnancy in various ways, but treatment options are available for those who wish to conceive. For women who are trying to get pregnant, treatment options may include surgery to remove the fibroids or medications that can shrink them. In some cases, a woman may need to undergo assisted reproductive technologies (ART) such as in-vitro fertilization (IVF) to become pregnant.
What complications can fibroid cause during pregnancy?
During early pregnancy, women with fibroids have a comparatively high risk of miscarriage than those without it. The other most common ways in which fibroids affect pregnancies 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.
During labour and delivery also, fibroids can create certain problems such as malpresentation (a condition where the baby is not facing head-first down the birth canal during delivery), cesarean delivery, retained placenta, and post-partum hemorrhage.
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