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Fibromyalgia and pregnancy

A woman with fibromyalgia planning a pregnancy will have lots of questions about whether the condition will affect fertility, and how pregnancy will affect fibromyalgia symptoms.

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 can be 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.

What treatments are recommended for fibromyalgia during pregnancy?

To avoid letting fibromyalgia interfere with pregnancy, know what steps you can take to ease the symptoms. Then seek support from your doctor, midwife, family members, and friends. The safest treatments for pregnant women with fibromyalgia may include massage, exercise, yoga, meditation and rest.

If you suffer with fatigue and ache all over, make sure you rest for 20 to 30 minutes at least two or three times a day. To ease the achiness of trigger point pain, try moist heat applications twice a day. A warm shower or bath is a good way to do this. Also, use gentle stretching exercises and exercises recommended by your doctor or midwife for relief.

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