More than 11% of American women in their childbearing years have endometriosis, which can impact reproductive health in many different ways, including during pregnancy. The connection between pregnancy and endometriosis is a two-way street — each can affect the other.
To better explain the connection between endometriosis and pregnancy, Dr. Fernando Otero and the team here at Women’s Clinic of the Rio Grande Valley present the following information.
How your endometriosis can respond to pregnancy
Endometriosis is a condition in which endometrial cells grow outside your uterus. These endometrial cells and tissues act as if they were inside your uterus, thickening during your menstrual cycles in response to fluctuating hormone levels, namely progesterone and estrogen.
Unlike endometrial tissue in your uterus, these tissues have nowhere to shed out, which can lead to adhesions around your reproductive organs, such as your ovaries and fallopian tubes.
Endometriosis is more often a fertility concern, so if you’re reading this blog post, you’ve surmounted this first hurdle.
As for endometriosis affecting you now that you’re pregnant, the effects can be on opposite ends of the spectrum.
For example, some women experience a reprieve in their endometriosis symptoms — heavy bleeding and painful periods — because of the lack of menstrual cycles and the increase in progesterone that comes with pregnancy. Other women, however, experience uncomfortable symptoms when the endometrial tissues are impacted and stretched by the growing fetus.
In either case, pregnancy doesn’t impact your endometriosis after you give birth — the condition will likely resume its normal patterns.
How your pregnancy may be impacted by your endometriosis
If you have endometriosis, the odds are good that we’re going to place you in the high-risk pregnancy category, just to be on the safe side.
There is some evidence that the presence of endometriosis can increase your chances for some pregnancy complications. Before you read the list, however, please bear in mind that the risks aren’t all that elevated, and these potential complications are far from inevitable:
- Preterm birth
- Cesarean section
- Issues with the placenta
- Ruptures or perforations of other reproductive organs
Again, we want to stress that these risks aren’t terribly high, but we always like to err on the side of caution and stay alert to any potential issues.
As well, during your childbirth, we want to pay close attention to any endometriosis adhesions that might be affected by the contractions and delivery.
Rest assured, we’re with you every step of the way during your pregnancy, and we monitor your fetus, your reproductive organs, and the status of your endometriosis very closely.
If you have questions or concerns about how your endometriosis might impact your pregnancy, or vice versa, please contact one of our offices in McAllen or Edinburg, Texas, to schedule a consultation.