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Can I Still Have a Baby with Fibroids?

Posted on May 16, 2024

We consistently hear questions about successful pregnancy with fibroids.  And we understand: if you have fibroids—non-cancerous tumors that grow in your uterus—you may be worried about your fertility. Will you be able to get pregnant? Or, if you get pregnant, will the fibroids affect your baby’s growth and birth?

It is possible to have a successful pregnancy with fibroids. Unfortunately, though, fibroids can impact your ability to become pregnant or deliver a healthy baby. But that doesn’t mean your dreams of having a family will never come true. Let’s take a closer look.

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Depending on the size and location of your fibroids, the tumors can block sperm from reaching and fertilizing one of your eggs. Fibroids can also make it more difficult for a fertilized embryo to implant in your uterus, especially if they grow on your inner uterine wall or within the cavity.

And, if you do become pregnant, fibroids may impact fetal development if they are located in a spot where your baby should be growing; they could also hinder blood flow to your growing baby. For these reasons, you may want to treat fibroids before becoming pregnant. But your doctor can better advise you regarding fibroids and your fertility options.

Successful Pregnancy with Fibroids: Can I Still Have a Baby?

Recently, musician Da Brat announced she was expecting her first baby with wife Judy. But she revealed a long path to get there, since she went through IVF and a miscarriage before this pregnancy. Then, before this successful pregnancy, she surgically removed both fibroids and polyps. Afterward, she underwent an embryo transfer and is now pregnant at 48!

While not technically necessary, Da Brat's decision to remove her fibroids prior to pregnancy seems wise. After all, if you get pregnant while you have fibroids, your fetus could be affected, as we already mentioned. Previous data showed that fibroids increase your risk for miscarriage, early labor, placental abruption, cesarean sections and post-delivery bleeding. Plus, this meta-analysis shows that having fibroids during pregnancy makes it more likely that your baby will remain in the breach position.

But it's not all bad news! Luckily, evidence still suggests that 90% of participants in a study following 120 women with large fibroids in their first trimester ended in successful deliveries. (Even though the fibroids kept growing during the second trimester.)

In this specific study, researchers divided participants into four groups. One group received a cervical procedure and targeted progesterone therapy. Another group received both treatments and a myomectomy. (That's a surgery to remove individual fibroids.) Then, a third group only received progesterone therapy. And the fourth group of women only received traditional maternal medical care.

At the end of the study, results were promising. The women who had cervical procedures and progesterone treatment reduced their miscarriage rate more than two times over compared to just progesterone treatment. And, compared to no-intervention, miscarriage rates dropped by 11.2%.

Of course, this news is promising for pregnant women with fibroids. But some women may prefer to treat fibroids before getting pregnant. Or, you may need to treat your fibroids in order to successfully conceive. So, if that's the case for you, keep reading to learn more about the best fibroid treatment without surgery for family planning.

What treatments should I choose for a successful pregnancy with fibroids?

Thankfully, you have many treatment options when it comes to fibroid tumors. It’s important to talk to a fibroid specialist about your family goals so you can choose the one that’s best for you.

In our Houston fibroid practice, we offer a treatment known as Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE). It is a minimally-invasive, non-surgical option that shrinks and kills fibroids by cutting off their blood supply. The procedure is performed through a catheter inserted through your arm. Particles are injected to the catheter to block the artery feeding your fibroids. Women who undergo UFE can go on to have healthy pregnancies, although we like to educate our patient’s that the UFE is fertility neutral. This means the UFE procedure should not hinder your chances of conception, but will not increase your changes of fertility.

Some women who still want to get pregnant may prefer a myomectomy—the surgical removal of your fibroid or fibroids via a laparoscopic approach (small incisions in the abdomen), hysteroscopic approach (through the vagina and cervix- this typically is for submucosal or intracavitary fibroids) or open approach through a larger abdominal incision. This procedure would be performed by your OBGYN in a surgical setting. Recovery time after myomectomy could be 3-8 weeks. You will also likely need up to 6 months of healing time after myomectomy before you are cleared to try and conceive.

Now, if you treat these tumors before pregnancy, delivering a baby with fibroids could be complicated. While this is not the case for every woman, fibroids can block your baby's passage out of the uterus, making a c-section necessary. In some cases, fibroids can cause placental abruption, an emergent situation where the placenta separates from the wall of the uterus. Some women with fibroids experience pre-term labor, while others experience an extended labor process.

While this information may seem frightening, it’s important to remember: you can still get pregnant, with and after fibroids. Stay positive, and click here to request an appointmentto discuss all your treatment options.

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