Q: When I informed my rheumy that I was pregnant, he seemed to want nothing more to do with me… My OB/GYN doesn’t treat fibro, so doesn’t say much about it… It’s like they are just tossing me aside and saying ‘oh well… there’s nothing we can do for you.’ I am worried about what things will be like. Any insights?
A: Fibromyalgia affects mostly women, and many of them are first bothered by symptoms in their early reproductive years, so it is common for issues regarding pregnancy to surface. A frequent question is whether or not a woman should consider getting pregnant if she has fibromyalgia.
From a medical perspective, there is no contraindication or unusual medical risk involved with fibromyalgia and pregnancy.
• Fibromyalgia has not been shown to cause infertility or increased miscarriages.
• Endometriosis frequently occurs with Fibromyalgia and may cause problems with getting pregnant.
• Fibromyalgia has a hereditary component and could be passed on from parent to child, but this is not considered a dangerous medical risk or a reason to avoid pregnancy.
Another concern is whether or not the pregnancy will cause a significant flare-up for the pregnant woman, or perhaps aggravate the condition to a more severe level that persists after the pregnancy.
• I have treated many women for whom pregnancy has played a major role in the onset of fibromyalgia. A number of women in my practice have indicated that they were never bothered by any symptoms before pregnancy, but since then, they have had persistent muscle pains and have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia.
• Surprisingly, though, I find that more women who develop Fibromyalgia from pregnancy do so after their second pregnancy, not their first.
• Another group of women have indicated that they had some pre-existing mild muscle pain, but pregnancy worsened their overall condition and led to fibromyalgia.
• A few individuals traced the onset of their initial low back problems and generalized fibromyalgia to their epidural procedure during delivery.
• Overall, a large number of women with pre-existing Fibromyalgia state that their condition flared up during the pregnancy. In some, the condition became worse overall, but most have said their conditions returned to their previous stable baseline after the baby was born.
Because many people seem to have problems with increased pain, does that mean the hopeful mother-to-be should be advised not to consider pregnancy because of her fibromyalgia?
To read much more, see Dr. Pellegrino’s article, “Insights on Motherhood and Fibromyalgia.” It is based on Dr. Pellegrino’s experience managing thousands of FM moms (and dads).
This information is reproduced with kind permission from Fibromyalgia: Up Close & Personal by Mark Pellegrino, MD. © Anadem Publishing, Inc. and Mark Pellegrino, MD, 2005, all rights reserved. Dr. Pellegrino has made the book available for purchase in the ProHealth store.
Note: This information has not been evaluated by the FDA. It is not meant to diagnose, prevent, treat or cure any illness, condition, or disease. It is very important that you make no change in your healthcare plan or health support regimen without researching and discussing it in collaboration with your professional healthcare team.