We get this question a lot: Can I have a successful pregnancy with fibroids? We understand: if you have fibroids growing in your uterus—it’s natural to worry about fertility. Can you get pregnant? If you do get pregnant, will fibroids impact your growing baby and your delivery?
Well, here’s the good news: you can still have a baby with fibroids. Unfortunately, fibroids can make it harder to get pregnant or deliver a full-term baby. Still, that doesn’t mean you have to give up on dreams of having a family. What’s the solution? Let’s dive in together.
Pregnancy with Fibroids: Do Fibroids Impact Fertility?
Some fibroids block sperm from fertilizing your ends—it really depends on where they form and how large they become. Even after fertilization, fibroids can block an embryo from implanting in the uterus, especially ones that develop on the inner uterine wall or cavity.
Even after successful implantations, fibroids can affect fetal development, limiting growth if they have to compete with baby for space. In light of these risks, many women prefer to treat their fibroids before trying to get pregnant. But you should always talk to your doctor regarding fibroids and your own fertility.
Successful Pregnancy with Fibroids: Can I Have a Baby or Not?
Well, here’s an uplifting story: musician Da Brat went public announcing that she was able to get pregnant with her first after a previous round of IVF and a miscarriage. But, to achieve this successful pregnancy, she has to undergo surgery for fibroid and polyp removal, after which she became pregnant via an embryo transfer, even though she was 48 at the time!
While Da Brat might have gotten pregnant without treatment, we think she made a smart call. Because, as we said before, if you get pregnant with fibroids, you could impact the fetus, first with an increased risk of miscarriage and then with higher odds of pre-term labor, placental abruption, c-sections and post-delivery hemorrhaging.
Of course, we don’t want to only share bad news! Luckily, we don’t have to: one study we reviewed revealed that 90% of participants could carry their babies to term with one simple practice.
The study followed 120 women in their first trimester. They each had large fibroids that continued to grow during the second trimester. (This could be worrying, since approximately 46% of women with large fibroids have a pregnancy that ends in miscarriage.)
But, in this study, researchers divided women into four groups. One underwent a cervical procedure along with targeted progesterone therapy. Another received both treatments and myomectomy. (Surgical fibroid removal.) A third group received progesterone therapy without other treatments. And the fourth group saw no interventions, other than traditional pregnancy care.
Here’s some good news: women who had cervical procedures and progesterone therapy dramatically reduced their miscarriage rate compared to women who just tried progesterone treatment or no intervention—for some women, the risk decreased by 11.2%!
Of course, this news is promising if you are pregnant and have fibroids. Still, you may prefer to treat fibroids before trying to conceive. Or, you may need fibroid treatment just to get pregnant. And that’s why we invite you to explore the fibroid treatments that can help with family planning.
What treatments support a successful pregnancy with fibroids?
Thankfully, there are many uterine fibroid treatment options. That’s why you should talk to our Dallas fibroid specialists about your family goals. We can help you can choose the treatment that’s best for you.
Here in our Dallas fibroid practice, we treat these uterine growths with Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE). This minimally-invasive, non-surgical procedure shrinks and kills your fibroids by cutting off their supply of blood. We perform the procedure through a catheter we insert in your arm. Then, we inject particles through the catheter, directing them to block the artery feeding your fibroids. After UFE, many women go on to have healthy pregnancies.
Now, some women prefer a myomectomy prior to pregnancy. If that’s your preferred treatment option, you’ll need wait three to six months after surgery so your uterus can heal before trying to conceive.
One final warning about a successful pregnancy with fibroids: women who have surgically removed six or more fibroids appear to have a lower chance of getting pregnant than women with fewer fibroids, according to research. Also, myomectomy could weaken your uterus, making it more likely that you’ll have to deliver your baby via C-section.
While this information can be scary, we want you to remember: a successful pregnancy is possible with fibroids, or after fibroid treatment. So explore your options, and schedule a consultation with our Dallas fibroid experts to start working towards a healthy pregnancy.