How Can Pregnancy Be Affected by Uterine Fibroids

A non-cancerous growth in a woman's uterus is called a uterine fibroid, often referred to as a myomas or leiomyomas (womb). During a woman's reproductive years, uterine fibroids often develop. These tumors have the potential to develop alone, in groups, or attach themselves to the uterine wall. They are composed of smooth muscle cells that either adhere to the uterine wall or develop inside the uterus. Also referred to as leiomyomas or myomas, uterine fibroids are associated with a higher risk of uterine cancer. They almost seldom turn into cancer, though. Uterine fibroids represent the most prevalent type of uterine tumors and may cause heavy menstrual flow, pelvic discomfort, and frequent urination. The 40s and early 50s are the most susceptible age groups for women to develop uterine fibroids. Uterine sarcoma is an uncommon kind of cancer that can result from it. Fibroid sizes vary. The size of uterine fibroids ranges from tiny seedlings to enormous masses that can expand and deform the uterus as a whole. In severe situations, the uterus may grow and enlarge many fibroids to the point that it touches the rib cage. It may potentially increase the mass. Uterine fibroids are common in women. Every year, around a million women in India alone are diagnosed with uterine fibroids. However, the majority of patients are unaware that they have uterine fibroids. It's because fibroids frequently don't produce any symptoms. Usually, fibroids are discovered by accident by the doctor when doing an ultrasound or pelvic exam. Strong stomach discomfort, heavy menstrual flow, pelvic pain, frequent urination urges, or painful sex are all possible symptoms of fibroids. The existence of uterine fibroids can only be detected by ultrasound, as many women may not exhibit any symptoms. (Also Read Uterine fibroids Causes)

Types of Uterine Fibroids

Depending on where they are located inside the uterus, uterine fibroids can be categorized into many types

  • Subserosal fibroids Fibroid growth that occurs on the uterine exterior.
  • Submucosal fibroids These are uterine fibroids, meaning they develop underneath the endometrium.
  • Intramural fibroids Refers to fibroids that develop within the wall of the uterus.
  • Pedunculated fibroids When the growth occurs within the uterus cavity, on the surface of the uterus, or on little stalks.

A woman's fertility can be significantly impacted by the amount and location of fibroid growth within her uterus. Complications may arise if the fibroid grows during pregnancy.

Submucosal fibroids, which grow inside the uterine cavity, can lead to infertility and complicate pregnancy. Large fibroids, which often have a diameter of more than 5 cm, might negatively impact a woman's ability to conceive.

Fibroids' effects on pregnancy

Most pregnant women with fibroids don't have any side effects. Nonetheless, a 2010 research indicates that 10–30% of pregnant women with fibroids may experience pregnancy-related problems. 

According to research, discomfort is the most frequent side effect of uterine fibroids during pregnancy. It usually appears in females during the second trimester and in those with fibroids bigger than 5 cm. 

Other pregnancy and delivery issues, such as the following, may be more likely in cases with fibroids

  • Fetal growth restriction Because a large fibroid takes up less space in the uterus, it can limit a baby from expanding to its full potential.
  • Placental abruption This occurs when the placenta separates from the uterine wall following the fibroid's obstruction. This depletes the fetus of essential nutrients and oxygen.
  • Preterm delivery Uterine contractions brought on by pain from uterine fibroids may cause an early birth.
  • Cesarean section It has happened. According to estimations, women who have fibroids are six times more likely than women without these fibroids to require a cesarean birth, or C-section.
  • Breech position The infant may be in the breech position for vaginal birth as a result of the aberrant form of the cavity.
  • Miscarriage According to research, women with fibroids have twice the risk of miscarrying a child.

How do fibroids effect pregnancy

Uterine fibroids typically do not enlarge or contract during pregnancy, however this is not always the case. According to a 2010 research, up to one-third of uterine fibroids may really develop during the first trimester of pregnancy.

The female hormone estrogen has a significant impact on the body's uterine fibrid growth. The levels of estrogen grow throughout pregnancy. During pregnancy, this condition may contribute to the fibroids growing even more. 

How might infertility be caused by fibroids

The main causes of fibroids causing infertility in women are as follows

  • Sperm entry into the uterus may be blocked or reduced by fibroids that are present close to the cervix.
  • The implantation of the fertilized egg into the uterus may be hindered if fibroids develop in the vicinity of the fallopian tube aperture within the uterus.
  • When submucosal fibroids form inside the uterus, they take up space, which reduces the amount of room available for the zygote and hinders the child's natural growth.
  • When fibroids grow in clusters, the uterus's blood flow is disrupted, which can cause miscarriages since the uterus thickens and maintains the pregnancy.

Advice for treating uterine fibroids

Take a diet high in fiber. Consume an abundance of fruits, veggies, nuts, and whole grains. This maintains the uterus's health.
Give up smoking and refrain from frequent or excessive alcohol consumption. These behaviors make the fibroids worse.
Maintain a busy lifestyle. Engage in regular exercise and yoga poses to enhance the strength of your uterine muscles.

Take Away

Uterine fibroids often do not cause significant difficulties for women trying to conceive. You should see a gynecologist if you have problems with infertility or repeated miscarriages brought on by fibroids. The gynecologist can assist in accurately identifying the reason of infertility, which might potentially be uterine fibroids.