What is the relationship between pregnancy and fibroids?

Pregnancy and fibroids appear to have a connection in the pregnancy process. Modern medicine seems to understand fibroids as muscle tumors. They are commonly found growing in the female genital tract in women ages 30 to 50.

They also grow more often under the influence of estrogen. Uterine fibroids can be the size of a pea, sometimes the size of a grapefruit and in some cases even larger.

Some women have fibroids but experience no symptoms - others experience excessive menstrual bleeding, pain with sexual intercourse, bladder irritation and frequent urination, depression and pelvic pressure.

Fibroids can increase your chances of miscarriage during the first or second trimester and later the possibility of preterm labor (between the weeks 20 and 28 or weeks 29 and 37).

The rate of preterm labor at less than 37 weeks for women without fibroids was 8%, but for women with fibroids the rate was 12% to 20% in studies.

The conflict between pregnancy and fibroids can "present itself" in four very different ways:

First - A fertilized egg cannot implant in the uterus if that wall is already occupied by one or more fibroids. A fertilized egg will be miscarried immediately in this case.

Second - Pregnancy and fibroids come into conflict when the fibroids are found near the fallopian tubes, partially or completely blocking the passage. This usually means that the egg can't come down and the sperm can't go up, so the egg and the sperm can never meet and pregnancy cannot occur.

Third - Pregnancy and fibroids come into conflict where a fertilized egg implants in the uterine wall, but a fibroid is located near the implantation site. If the fibroid continues to grow, it will demand both space and nourishment which the fetus will ultimately need from the mother. This "sharing" is not benign, and may cause miscarriage.

Fourth - Another uterine fibroids and pregnancy difficulty is when the uterine fibroids enlarge and grow around the birth canal, making labor and vaginal delivery more complicated. A cesarean delivery may be needed.

If you experience preterm labor, you will have the following signs:

• Frequent urination
• Some vaginal spotting or bleeding
• Abdominal, pelvic and back pain
• Diarrhea
• Feeling that the baby is pressing down
• Begin to feel that you have abdominal cramps or menstrual cramps
• Watery discharge from your vagina

During pregnancy, women produce a lot more estrogen and progesterone, which increases the size of the fibroids, and they usually shrink after the delivery.

If you are experiencing uterine fibroids and pregnancy, make sure you increase the consumption of fiber-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables, particularly green leafy vegetables rich in iron. Eat plenty of fiber - whole grains and legumes.

Avoid dairy products or buy organic milk and yogurts. Lower your consumption of red meat and increase your consumption of wild fish not farmed-raised fish.

If you buy meat, select only range-fed or organic meats that are free of drugs, hormones and pesticide free.

Coffee drinking and highly sugared drinks should be avoided or reduced - instead drink 6 to 8 glasses of filtered water a day. Learn more about fibroids and how they affect women.

Fibroid tumors and breast fibrocysts seem to grow faster with higher levels of unbalanced estrogen in the body, a condition called "estrogen dominance".

Supplemental natural progesterone should be used, for with the addition of natural progesterone, fibroid growth can slow or even cease.

Fibroid symptoms that some women may experience:

• Bladder infections
• Constipation
• Pain
• Hemorroids
• Anemia
• Infertility
• Cramps
• Pressure
• Indigestion
• Urinary difficulties
• Heavy bleeding

All are signs of estrogen dominance relative to a progesterone deficiency. When sufficient natural progesterone is replaced, fibroid tumors no longer grow in size and they will eventually atrophy. This process means you are reversing estrogen dominance and are balancing your hormones.

Women with uterine fibroids and pregnancy are at least 6 times more likely to have a cesarean delivery than women that have no fibroids.

A cesarean delivery may have to be performed if your birth canal has been obstructed by uterine fibroids, if the uterine fibroids are distorting the baby's position when labor begins and if you have uterine fibroids in the lower part of the uterus, making normal descent of the fetus difficult and even dangerous.

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Having a baby can and should be one of the most joyful experiences of a woman's life.

While there are hundreds of books that provide information on how to ensure the development of a healthy baby, few of them dedicate more than a few pages to the nourishment of the mother herself during this physically and emotionally demanding time.

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A Natural Guide to Pregnancy and Postpartum Health is the first book by physicians that is devoted entirely to telling women how they can prevent postpartum problems and attain optimum health after the delivery of their babies.

Elements of the program, which is meant to be adopted during-or, if possible, before-pregnancy, include diet, nutritional supplementation, exercise, hormone-balancing, the use of medicinal herbs, and conventional medications.

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In this revised and updated edition, Ms. Romm thoughtfully follows the woman’s journey from conception to birth, focusing on natural health.

She describes herbs that can promote and maintain a healthy pregnancy (along with those you should avoid during your term) and the basics of a healthy diet, with an emphasis on natural foods.

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