Pregnant With Fibromyalgia
Most women find their pregnancies to be very enjoyable, but pregnancy can definitely have
its difficult times. Whether it's morning sickness, insomnia, or just plain old fatigue,
being pregnant can really take it out of you. When you are pregnant and fighting an
illness though, things can be even worse. Women with fibromyalgia, a chronic pain
disorder, often wonder if they will be able to deal with the demands of a pregnancy.
Not very much is known about the course of fibromyalgia during pregnancy. In fact, there
seems to be conflicting evidence between researchers and doctors as to the effects of
pregnancy on the syndrome. It is generally accepted that more fibromyalgia research must
be performed in order to get an accurate idea of what happens to fibromyalgia syndrome
In 1997, one of the only studies ever done on fibromyalgia and pregnancy was conducted in
Norway. A small number of pregnant women were included in the study, some with
fibromyalgia and some without. The study found that an overwhelming number of those
pregnant while suffering from fibromyalgia reported a drastic increase in the severity of
their symptoms. The third trimester was by far the most challenging during their
pregnancy, with symptoms increasing in frequency. Most of the women in the study reported
that their symptoms remained more intense than normal until about three months after they
had delivered. They also had a greater incidence of post-partum depression. On a brighter
note, the babies born to women with fibromyalgia were all healthy, full-term, and of a
good birth weight.
Many doctors however, disagree with the idea that pregnancy makes fibromyalgia worse.
Doctors who treat fibromyalgic patients actually argue that pregnancy helps to lessen and
even eliminate the symptoms caused by fibromyalgia. Many pregnant women say that, after
their initial nausea and morning sickness passed, they actually felt better than they did
before they were pregnant. It is theorized that this could be due to the ovarian hormone
relaxin. During pregnancy, the amount of relaxin in a woman's body increases up to 10
fold. It has also been found that relaxin supplements help to ease symptoms in many women
Fibromyalgia and Breastfeeding
Though the effects of pregnancy on fibromyalgia are unknown, more is known about
breastfeeding and fibromyalgia. Numerous studies have been done in the area and
conclusions seem to support that fibromyalgia makes breastfeeding quite difficult. This
is not to say that it cannot be done, only that there are some extra things to keep in
mind if you do decide to breastfeed.
Breastfeeding tends to be difficult because of the chronic muscle pain caused by
fibromyalgia. Most women will have their symptoms return soon after they give birth,
making breastfeeding even harder than it is normally. It is important to make feeding
time as stress free as possible, both physically and emotionally.
Use pillows to support your own head while you feed your baby. Think about getting a
support or sling to prop your baby up, so you don't have to support his weight all on your
own. You may find that lying down on the bed with your baby facing you will also make
feeding easier; it will give you some extra time to rest. Be sure to nurse in a quiet area
away from the hustle and bustle of daily life – this will reduce your own stress level and
give you some time to bond with your little one.
Thinking about Getting Pregnant?
If you have fibromyalgia you may be wondering whether or not you should get pregnant.
Rest assured that fibromyalgia will have no negative effect on your baby whatsoever.
Therefore, the main issue is whether you feel your body can handle a pregnancy. Unless you
have extreme complications, most women find that pregnancy is something to pursue even
with fibromyalgia. If you do decide to get pregnant, here are some things to keep in mind:
Try to plan your pregnancy at least a year ahead of time, so you can begin to build up
Reduce the amount of stress in your life as much as you possibly can.
Try to conceive when your symptoms are less intense. Avoid conceiving during a symptom
Speak with your doctor about your medications. Not all medications are safe to continue
Maintain a healthy diet and work out moderately (but don't overdo it).