Are you worried about fibroids during pregnancy? And should you remove fibroids before IVF, or before trying to get pregnant on your own? Here’s the deal: those non-cancerous tumors made up of cells and muscle can be a quirky lot. Many women with uterine fibroids have no symptoms whatsoever, and some never even know they have them. Others have painful and heavy periods and struggle with discomfort. With all these disparate situations you may be wondering if and how fibroids can affect your fertility. And, if you do become pregnant, how your baby will develop with fibroids. And that was certainly the case for Love & Hip Hop Miami star Shay Johnson, our Woman Crush of the Week!
Fibroids During Pregnancy: Shay Johnson’s Story
A while back, Shay Johnson removed her fibroids via myomectomy. Today, she’s pregnant with her first child. And recently, she went on Instagram announcing that her ultrasound revealed three new growths, meaning she would now be dealing with fibroids during pregnancy. And here’s how she feels about the situation.
“I was advised by my doctor because I’m pregnant there’s nothing I can do right now but monitor the fibroids,” she wrote. “Any procedure to remove the fibroids, which my choice would be UFE, can possibly harm the baby and of course I’m not taking that chance. I was also advised they might go away on their own once I have the baby. The only thing I can do now is wait. THIS SUCKS😖I will keep you guys posted on this process.”
We are so glad to hear that Shay would explore UFE, even after having fibroid surgery. And we’re sorry she’s living with so much stress. But, to offer some comfort in information, we want to help you understand why these growths impact your pregnancy journey from start to finish.
How And Why Fibroids Affect Fertility
Many women will have children with no impact related to their fibroids. But certain fibroids affect the ability to conceive and remain pregnant. The size, location, and number of fibroids are key to whether they may affect a woman’s ability to conceive and give birth without issue.
- The location of fibroids can prevent the sperm and egg from joining together for conception. The shape of the cervix may change allowing less sperm to enter the uterus.
- If fibroids block the Fallopian tubes, it can affect whether the embryo reaches the uterus for implantation, and sometimes they may even change the shape of the uterus making it more difficult to successfully implant.
- Lastly, fibroids can weaken the uterine wall decreasing nutrients to the growing embryo potentially causing a miscarriage.
The size of a fibroid or multiple fibroids will also change during pregnancy with the increase in the production of estrogen. So as the fetus grows, so will the fibroid(s). One of the greatest concerns for women during pregnancy is whether the size of the fibroid will increase the chances of a miscarriage. In addition, it can change the baby’s position within the uterus and necessitate the need for a C section.
Should You Treat Fibroids Before or After Pregnancy?
That answer will depend on the size, number and location of your fibroids. If they’re located in the uterine cavity, they can cause miscarriage or other complications. But if you treat them prior to getting pregnant, the type of treatment you choose could mean you’ll need a c-section, since there are fears of scars opening during labor and causing heavy bleeding.
Should You Remove Fibroids Before IVF?
Since fibroids could impact your ability to get pregnant, you may wish to remove your fibroids prior to beginning treatment. While not every fibroid will have to be removed before IVF, they will likely need to come out if your fibroids are impacting the uterine cavity, or if they are quite large. In every case, it’s important to review your options with both your fertility specialist and a fibroid specialist.
Fibroids During Pregnancy: Getting Answers
If you have fibroids and are considering pregnancy, confer with Houston Fibroids to discuss the possible issues related to the size, number and location of your fibroids. Every case is different. Based on your particular situation, a non-invasive and very precise procedure known as Uterine Fibroid Embolization may be recommended.
This non-surgical technique shrinks the fibroids while leaving all the organs and tissues intact. It blocks blood flow to the fibroid(s) so they stop growing. This permanently stops their growth with no scars and no possibility of weakening the uterus or its lining.
Another available treatment is a surgery known as Myomectomy which cuts out the fibroid. This seems less effective since it is less precise than Uterine Fibroid Embolization and can weaken the uterine wall. In addition, it may leave scars and there is a high risk that the fibroids will grow back.
We have focused on how fibroids can affect your fertility, but many women with fibroids during pregnancies have natural deliveries and successful births.
If you have fibroids and are considering getting pregnant, speak with Houston Fibroids at (713) 575-3686 about whether they may affect your fertility.