You have always dreamed of having kids of your own.
You’re ready to start a family, but are wondering if your endometriosis will affect your pregnancy.
Is there a correlation between endometriosis and miscarriage?
This guide will walk you through the science behind endometriosis, pregnancy, and miscarriage.
Table of Contents
- What is Endometriosis?
- Symptoms of Endometriosis
- Does Endometriosis Cause Infertility?
- Does Endometriosis Cause Miscarriage?
- Can You Do Anything to Prevent A Miscarriage?
- 3 things To Stay Proactive During Pregnancy with Endometriosis
- Seek Medical Treatments Before Conceiving
- Minimize Other Risk Factors
- Know the Signs of Miscarriage
- Does Having Endometriosis Pose Any Risk to Mother or Baby?
- Placenta Previa
- Preterm Birth
- Erasing Your Fears About Endometriosis and Miscarriage
What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis, also referred to as endo, is a disease affecting females in which endometrial-like tissue grows outside the uterus.
It's as painful as it sounds.
This tissue can be found growing on the:
Normally, the endometrial tissue inside the uterus builds each month and is released from your body during your period.
But, when a woman has endometriosis, her body is unable to effectively release that tissue.
As a result, the tissue:
- Becomes trapped
- May eventually result in scarring, inflammation, and possibly even cysts
Not to mention it causes a ton of pain.
Symptoms of Endometriosis
Some women who have endo do not experience symptoms.
However, other women encounter a host of discomforts, including:
Does Endometriosis Cause Infertility?
According to Mayo Clinic, anywhere from 30% to 50% of all women suffering from endometriosis may also struggle with infertility.
However, on the flip side, 50% to 70% of women with endometriosis don't have a difficult time conceiving.
Why is this?
The fact is, the connection between endo and infertility is not crystal clear, but here are a few theories:
- The development of the adhesions and scarring that come with endometriosis interfere with conception by making it difficult for the sperm to meet the egg due to the blockage of the:
- Fallopian tubes
(However, infertility has been known to occur even when no obvious obstruction is visible)
- Endometrial-like tissue buildup on the ovaries may prevent the release of eggs by inhibiting ovulation
- The inflammation brought on by endometriosis causes the production of chemicals, called cytokines, which make the process of fertilization considerably more difficult.
It's important to remember, however, that while having endometriosis may make it more difficult for you to conceive than it does for women without this condition, getting pregnant and having a healthy baby are both possible and common.
Does Endometriosis Cause Miscarriage?
The short answer: There is a correlation between endometriosis and miscarriage.
A study published in the European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology in 2017 found that endometriosis doubles the odds of miscarriage in patients who are undergoing IVF (in vitro fertilization) or ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection).
But, just because there is an increased endometriosis miscarriage risk, that doesn't mean that endometriosis and miscarriage go hand-in-hand.
There are a significant number of women with endometriosis who have experienced successful, full-term pregnancies.
Can You Do Anything to Prevent a Miscarriage?
While a miscarriage can not always be prevented, taking steps toward a healthier pregnancy will ensure that your growing baby gets the required nutrients, and you continue to feel your best.
And one way to do that is by following my endometriosis diet.
This way of eating will:
3 Things To Stay Proactive During Pregnancy with Endometriosis
If you have endometriosis and are considering pregnancy, or have already conceived, there are steps you will want to take to maintain a healthy pregnancy.
#1: Seek Medical Treatments Before Conceiving
If you suffer from endo, your medical practitioner may recommend that you schedule a consultation with an infertility specialist prior to becoming pregnant.
Infertility specialists can:
- Conduct blood tests to evaluate your egg supply
- Recommend surgery to remove any growths that could potentially keep you from being able to conceive
#2: Minimize Other Risk Factors
A woman with endometriosis will want to be particularly cautious in order to avoid the common risk factors of pregnancy.
- Being over the age of 35 (this refers to both the mother and father)
- Blood clotting disorders
- Alcohol, smoking, or drug use during pregnancy
- Excessive intake of caffeinated beverages during pregnancy
- Exposure to medications or certain chemicals while pregnant
#3: Know the Signs of Miscarriage
It is also important to be able to recognize the signs of miscarriage.
If you experience any of the following symptoms you will want to get in touch with your medical practitioner right away:
Does Having Endometriosis Pose Any Risk to Mother or Baby?
An endometriosis pregnancy is considered to be high-risk and may potentially increase your chances for serious complications during pregnancy.
For this reason, you’ll want to be prepared to have more frequent and extra-attentive medical care and monitoring throughout an endo pregnancy.
Your doctor will be keeping a very close eye on you throughout your pregnancy and delivery in order to quickly identify any issues, should they arise.
What will your doctor be checking for?
Placenta previa is a pregnancy condition where the placenta is positioned such that it is covering the opening of the mother’s cervix.
If placenta previa is suspected, treatment may include:
- Bed rest
- Limited or no activity, including sexual intercourse
- IV fluids or medication
And in severe cases, blood transfusions or a cesarean section may be required.
While preeclampsia is rare, it is a potentially dangerous complication that is characterized by an elevation in the blood pressure of the mother.
Beginning after 26 weeks of pregnancy, it can cause serious complications for both mother and baby.
The symptoms of preeclampsia may include:
Preeclampsia is generally managed with medication until the baby is mature enough to be delivered.
Research shows that a woman with endometriosis may have an increased risk of preterm birth, or delivery prior to 37 weeks of gestation.
Your doctor will be keeping a close eye on you for the following signs of preterm labor:
Easing Your Fears About Endometriosis and Miscarriage
We have covered some tough topics regarding endometriosis and miscarriage.
And while it can be easy to become discouraged, it is so important to remember:
Getting pregnant and having a healthy baby is not only possible but common for women who have been diagnosed with endometriosis.
It’s no secret that dealing with endometriosis is far from easy.
If you are finding your diagnosis to be stressful and overwhelming and would like to connect with other women who are having similar experiences, please consider reaching out for support.
As always, the Chiavaye family is here for you.