Fibromyalgia: Impact on Pregnancy

If you have Fibromyalgia, it is imperative to be aware of how the condition may affect your likelihood of getting pregnant, the experience during pregnancy, and your life with your child thereafter.

Fibromyalgia is a condition surrounded by myths, because of all the misunderstandings that exist about it. The causes are unknown, and it is also difficult to diagnose because there are no tests available for it. Some people display mild symptoms while others are affected more intensely. The way to diagnose fibromyalgia is by keeping a track of the symptoms and the patient’s history. Some symptoms are commonly displayed while others are not so general.

About 90 percent of the people diagnosed with fibromyalgia are women. While both men and women are vulnerable to be affected by fibromyalgia, the symptoms are much more relentless in women.

Getting Pregnant with Fibromyalgia

If you have Fibromyalgia, there are many questions that you might have. It is imperative to be aware of how your Fibromyalgia may impact your possibility of conceiving. First of all, there is no danger to your baby just because you have Fibromyalgia and no reason to think that you wouldn't have a healthy pregnancy and healthy child. What you do need to consider is whether or not you feel that your body has enough strength to handle a pregnancy, and whether you feel that you are ready emotionally, mentally and physically. During pregnancy, many women frequently experience pain, discomfort, brain fog, and other symptoms that are very analogous to fibromyalgia. Which means that pregnancy can intensify the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Trim down your stress level as much as you can and attempt to conceive at a time when your symptoms are less severe. 

Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia

There is no verification about what pregnancy does to women with Fibromyalgia, as there is not enough research on this. However, handling fibromyalgia time and again involves both medical and lifestyle changes.

Here are some tips that should help during pregnancy if you have fibromyalgia:

  • Educate yourself. Have a conversation with your OB and a pediatrician. Fibromyalgia itself is no danger to an unborn child; but it is important to discuss medications during pregnancy. Speak to your doctor about any medications you are taking and make sure that they are safe to take while pregnant.
  • Understand the risks. It's indeed safe to become pregnant and have a baby if you have fibromyalgia, but some studies found that the condition can increase the chances of miscarriage, intrauterine growth restriction and diabetes. Fibromyalgia medications during pregnancy might be risky, some studies suggest. At the same time, there is not enough evidence to show how these medications affect human babies, and not taking these medication poses is also risky. What’s the solution then? Talk to your doctor about the pros and cons. 
  • Exercise as recommended by a healthcare professional. Pregnancy is a massive task for your body, so plan ahead. Exercise during the pregnancy with your OB’s guidance. Find out what works best for you.
  • Reduce as much stress as possible during pregnancy
  • Ask for support. Educate your family and friends about Fibromyalgia. The fatigue of pregnancy can be hard to manage. Having a support system is important.

Fibromyalgia and Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding while having fibromyalgia is challenging.

  • Fatigue comes as a package deal with fibromyalgia. Fatigue leads to stress to the body, which can in the interim decrease milk supply. Fatigue furthermore reduces immunity, which makes breastfeeding mothers at a higher risk of breast infections. 
  • Breastfeeding requires needing to sit in one same position for the nursing session. This can lead to stiffness and more pain all over the body.
  • Lack of sleep also leads to increase in fibromyalgia pain.
  • Another thing that happens as a consequence of fibromyalgia is Raynaud’s Phenomenon, which can cause nipple vasospasm. Raynaud’s commonly affects fingers and toes. It can also happen to other nipples. Nipple vasospasms can make breastfeeding extremely painful.

How does one handle this?

  • Heating pads, pain therapy and heat therapy can provide relief from the pain.
  • Vitamin D supplements also help in relief from pain.
  • Keep changing positions while nursing, and find out the one most comfortable for you.
  • Healing nipple trauma and keeping your nipples warm particularly after breastfeeding helps to reduce vasospasms.
  • Lack of sleep leads to increase in fibromyalgia pain, and hence it is imperative to tackle that. Cosleeping can be extremely beneficial with that.

While there are many concerns to think about, if you have fibromyalgia and are planning on getting pregnant, you should definitely not be deterred from your decision. In this situation, what you need to think about is the influence that a baby will have on your health and stress level.

About the Author

Neha Ramneek Kapoor

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