How Endometriosis Affects Pregnancy
March 20, 2022March is Endometriosis Awareness Month. Endometriosis is a condition where tissue that is similar to the lining of a woman’s uterus grows outside of the uterus and causes painful periods and other side effects. Endometriosis can also affect a woman’s body post conception. Here we share some of the symptoms, risks, and treatments for pain relief during pregnancy.
Signs and Symptoms of Endometriosis
The primary symptom of endometriosis is pelvic pain, often associated with menstrual periods; this pain is typically more intense than menstrual cramping. Common symptoms of endometriosis include:1
- Pelvic pain, including lower back and abdominal pain.
- Painful intercourse.
- Painful bowel movements or urination.
- Heavy menstrual periods or bleeding.
How Common is Endometriosis?
Researchers think that at least 11% of women have endometriosis.2 This can affect any female but is most common in women in their 30s and 40s. You may be more likely to get endometriosis if you have:
- Never had children
- Menstrual periods that last more than seven days
- A family member with endometriosis
Possible Risks Associated with Endometriosis
While most women with endometriosis will have healthy pregnancies and deliveries, they are at a higher risk for pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia, miscarriage, preterm birth, placenta previa, and cesarean delivery.
Treating Endometriosis During Pregnancy
Hormonal therapies and surgical treatments are not options while you are pregnant; however, there are other safe options such as:3
- Over-the-counter pain relievers that are approved by your doctor.
- Low-impact exercises such as yoga, walking, or stretching.
- Eating a healthy diet with fiber-rich foods.
- Taking warm baths.
- Using a heating pad.
Speak with your doctor for advice on the best way to manage endometriosis during pregnancy.
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