Fibromyalgia and Pregnancy: What You Should Know
The combination of fibromyalgia and pregnancy can make a mother-to-be doubt whether she’s able to face all the challenges that lie ahead.
Normally, women feel infinite joy when they find out they’re expecting a baby, but health complications can become more difficult during pregnancy.
Symptoms associated with pregnancy, such as insomnia, intolerance to certain smells or foods, fatigue, or morning sickness, can all be tiresome for a mother-to-be.
But imagine adding fibromyalgia to this list, making those nine months a real challenge.
What Is Fibromyalgia?
It’s a surprisingly little-known condition despite there being between 4 and 6 million people affected by it every year in North America alone.
This syndrome causes chronic pain throughout the body. Other symptoms can then lead to a change of lifestyle for any sufferers.
“Women lead the figures with this condition making up some 80% of sufferers”
Fibromyalgia usually occurs initially in adulthood and its symptoms can increase or diminish over time.
Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia causes a lot of pain and weakness. It attacks the muscles, causes involuntary spasms, and produces pain and a burning sensation.
The shoulders, waist, neck area, and arms all suffer the worst and here, the pain is at its most intense. The feet and hands can also experience pins and needles.
Added to all this, it causes terrible headaches, insomnia, and intense fatigue. Depression and anxiety are also not uncommon with this syndrome.
If that wasn’t enough, there is no cure for fibromyalgia. There are only palliative treatments for the pain and anxiety.
Fibromyalgia and Pregnancy
If a woman suffers from fibromyalgia and becomes pregnant, this can heighten the worry and make the symptoms even more intense.
However, there is no research to suggest that the symptoms change during pregnancy. So, it could be that for some people they get worse, but for others, they get better.
It’s certainly true that during pregnancy, the placenta and ovary produce relaxin, a hormone which relaxes the ligaments in the body. Growth hormones can also cause this.
These types of hormones tend to be scarce in people with fibromyalgia, so during pregnancy, they help to restore tissues and muscles. As a result, we can see that pregnancy could bring potential benefits for fibromyalgia.
Tips for Dealing with Fibromyalgia During Pregnancy
It’s not an easy task, but here we offer some advice for dealing with fibromyalgia during pregnancy.
Visit and Occupational Therapist
These professionals are the best people to seek advice from in cases like this.
They’ll help you with things such as the right use of force when standing up and stop you putting your muscles under more strain than you need.
Choose Any Baby-Related Items Very Carefully
Swap buckles for velcro and choose the best furniture you can (height-adjustable cots, or light-weight prams, etc.) which will help you manage things better.
Stay One Step Ahead
Prepare yourself in case your fibromyalgia symptoms get worse.
Plan for some additional help in caring for your baby, perhaps some family support, and look for help in doing household tasks too.
Keep Yourself Informed
Find out more about the condition, share your experiences, and find out about those of other mothers who have dealt with fibromyalgia and pregnancy.
Ask questions, do research, and tell your story. Maybe you can help others too.
Choose A Good Obstetrician.
This is the medical professional who’s going to be with you throughout the pregnancy and will be a great support. So, it’s important that they’re available to work alongside your rheumatologist as well.
Doing exercise helps to reduce stress and improve your quality of life. When it comes to fibromyalgia and pregnancy, exercise will help to strengthen your muscles, increase your flexibility, and improve your mood.
Doing exercise also increases your serotonin levels, which really helps during pregnancy, particularly if you suffer from fibromyalgia.