Endometriosis is a disorder where the endometrium, a tissue similar to the uterus, grows outside the uterine cavity, adhering to the ovaries and fallopian tubes. This tissue can damage, block, or irritate these organs, making it harder to get and stay pregnant. Factors such as age, health, and severity also affect the chances of carrying a baby to term.

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Endometriosis symptoms impact during pregnancy

Pregnancy can temporarily alleviate painful periods and heavy menstrual bleeding associated with endometriosis, as increased progesterone levels suppress and shrink endometrial growth, often used to treat endometriosis patients.

However, others may experience no improvement or worsening symptoms due to the uterus expanding to accommodate the growing fetus and pulling and stretching misplaced tissue. The severity of the condition, hormone production, and body response to pregnancy can affect the experience. Even if symptoms improve during pregnancy, they can resume after the baby’s birth. Breastfeeding may delay the return of symptoms, but symptoms are likely to return once the period returns.

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Risks and complications of pregnancy with endometriosis

Endometriosis may increase your risk for pregnancy and delivery complications. The inflammation may cause this, as structural damage to the uterus, and hormonal influences endometriosis causes.

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Miscarriage: Endometriosis Risk During Pregnancy

Miscarriage rates are higher in individuals with endometriosis, even for mild cases. A 2017 retrospective analysis found a 35.8 chance of miscarriage in those with endometriosis compared to 22% in those without the disorder. Further research is needed to determine if endometriosis is a significant risk factor. Symptoms of miscarriage include bleeding, cramping, low back pain, and tissue passage. Symptoms after 12 weeks are similar but may be more severe. It’s crucial to recognize the signs and seek medical and emotional help to recover from miscarriage.

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Preterm birth: Endometriosis Risk During Pregnancy

Pregnant women with endometriosis are 1.5 times more likely to deliver before 37 weeks of gestation, making them preterm. Preterm babies have a low birth weight and are more likely to experience health and developmental issues. Symptoms of early labour include regular contractions, changes in vaginal discharge, and pressure in the pelvis. If you experience these symptoms, consult your doctor as early labour can indicate distress in your baby and may require medical intervention. It is crucial to address these issues to prevent premature birth.


Placenta previa: Endometriosis Risk During Pregnancy

During pregnancy, a fetus and placenta develop, with the placenta providing oxygen and nourishment. Most placentas attach to the uterine walls, away from the cervix, but some may be close to or directly on the opening to the cervix, known as placenta previa.

This can increase the risk of significant bleeding and placenta abruption, a premature separation of the placenta from the uterus. People with endometriosis may be at higher risk, with bright red vaginal bleeding being the main symptom.


Treatment for endometriosis

Endometriosis is not typically treated during pregnancy, and over-the-counter pain relievers may alleviate discomfort. Consult your doctor before using any medication, even over-the-counter ones. Self-help measures include taking warm baths, eating fibre-rich foods, and walking or practising yoga to relieve back pain. Always consult your doctor before taking any medication.

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Endometriosis is a common condition that can lead to pregnancy and a healthy baby, but it can also increase the risk of serious complications. Pregnant individuals with the condition may require frequent monitoring to identify potential complications.

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Write and edit by Oluwaferanmi DJIMA On  24/06/24
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