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Fibromyalgia and pregnancy

If you have fibromyalgia and are thinking about getting pregnant, it is important to learn all you can about both conditions. Sometimes, symptoms of fibromyalgia such as pain, fatigue and depression, are thought to be signs of the pregnancy itself. As a result, they may be undertreated. Additionally, the added stress of having a baby may cause fibromyalgia symptoms to flare up, making you feel much worse. This may make the prospect of pregnancy sound as if is something to be feared, but women with FMS who have undergone pregnancy generally agree that although the experience of childbirth may bring additional discomfort, it is so worthwhile that they would positively encourage other patients to go for it.

Managing fibromyalgia during pregnancy is possible. But you need to spend time learning about the effects of pregnancy on symptoms of fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS). You also need to stay in touch with your fibromyalgia specialist when symptoms are troublesome.

How does fibromyalgia affect pregnancy?

With pregnancy, there is a tremendous increase in the amount of hormones in your body. Along with weight gain, your body is out of balance, and your shape takes a different form. Most women experience nausea and fatigue, especially during the first three months of pregnancy. No wonder that fibromyalgia symptoms are often misdiagnosed and thought to be a normal part of pregnancy.

There are few studies on fibromyalgia in pregnant women. However, a study at Temple University in the US found that women with fibromyalgia had more symptoms of pain during pregnancy than women who did not have fibromyalgia. Also, fibromyalgia symptoms seemed to be exacerbated during pregnancy. Pregnant women with fibromyalgia may experience significant pain, fatigue, and psychological stress, especially in the first three months. In the middle three months, pregnancy results in high levels of hormones designed to encourage the expansion of connective tissue and the fibres of muscles and ligaments. This is to allow the pelvic girdle to expand, but this relaxation of the ligaments often results in welcome pain relief from FMS symptoms.

Does stress trigger fibromyalgia during pregnancy?

Pregnant or not, physical and emotional stress is known to trigger fibromyalgia. Considering all that is involved with pregnancy, labour and delivery, it is obvious that pregnancy is a time of high stress. With pregnancy, there are changes in the levels of oestrogen, progesterone and other hormones. Also, even for those without fibromyalgia, the time after a pregnancy can be difficult for mothers, so it is important to be aware of the possible increase in pain and other symptoms that may occur after giving birth.

Are fibromyalgia medications safe during pregnancy?

At this time, no fibromyalgia medications are completely safe to use during pregnancy. In fact, doctors recommend that women with fibromyalgia stop taking painkillers and antidepressants before they become pregnant. However, make sure you talk with your doctor before you stop any medicines. This can mean that the initial months can be trying as you learn to cope without the medication that has been helping with pain and sleep.

For women who ache all over because of fibromyalgia during pregnancy, paracetamol is often recommended. But it is best to avoid all medications until you have the approval of your midwife or doctor.

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