Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia

The two conditions, being pregnant and having fibromyalgia each on its own have plenty of discomforts, aches and pains when you combine these two conditions in one woman’s body and you are just asking for trouble. Fibromyalgia can have serious affects on the health of women and there is no greater time when stress is put upon the female body than when she is growing and nurturing another life inside her body. The physical demands put upon her body are great. When these demands are put upon a body already suffering symptoms of intense pain and fatigue and you are asking a lot of a woman.

Thankfully there are many resources available to women who have fibromyalgia and who wish to bear children. Studies show that women who are pregnant and have fibromyalgia will experience a worsening of the symptoms associated with the condition during the pregnancy especially in the third trimester when the physical demands of the pregnancy are greatest.

Preparing for Pain

If you have fibromyalgia and are just considering becoming pregnant now is the time to ask questions of your doctor and to prepare yourself for the rigors ahead by making sure that your body is in the best shape possible before becoming pregnant.

During pregnancy a woman with fibromyalgia may experience an increase in pain level, in the amount of fatigue she experiences, and an increase in depression. These symptoms and the intensities will vary depending on the age of the woman, her general physical condition, her sleep patterns, the medications she is taking, her education and her marital status. Research conducted in Norway and the United States show that women with fibromyalgia typically have an increase in fibromyalgia symptoms during pregnancy.

There are typical pregnancy symptoms that are related to the hormone fluctuations of pregnancy including morning sickness (nausea and vomiting), headaches, fatigue, dizziness and general aches and pains; these symptoms tend to increase because they are also fibromyalgia symptoms and may already be present before the hormonal fluctuations of pregnancy begin.

Discontinue Medications

Because no medication has been found to be completely safe during pregnancy many doctors recommend that women who suffer from fibromyalgia should discontinue medications before they become pregnant and definitely during pregnancy for the safety of the fetus.

There are other methods of controlling the symptoms of fibromyalgia besides through the use of medications. Other methods of symptom management include exercising, massage therapy, meditation, getting plenty of rest and being able to relax muscles.

The woman with fibromyalgia during pregnancy should also rely upon other safe treatments for her symptoms such as stretching, heat therapy like taking a warm bath not to exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit, the use of electric heating pads and blankets should not be used while pregnant.

It is also important that women who have fibromyalgia should do all that is possible to avoid using alcohol, or tobacco products during pregnancy. Certain exercises are useful for helping to ease the symptoms of fibromyalgia during pregnancy including aquatic exercise (water therapy), Pilates, stretching exercises especially back stretching, massage therapy and yoga.