Endometriosis affects an estimated 1 in 10 women, and while it can affect menstruating women of all ages, it usually affects women in their 30s and 40s. Some women have no symptoms of the condition. Trouble getting pregnant is often the first sign that something’s amiss. When women do experience symptoms, pelvic pain and heavy bleeding are most common.
If you’ve recently become pregnant, your condition may increase your risk for complications. Our experts at OBGYN Care of Houston explain how endometriosis may affect your risk of miscarriage and other pregnancy complications.
During your period, your uterus sheds its inner lining, known as the endometrium, and expels it through the vagina. In women with endometriosis, this inner layer grows outside the uterus, affecting the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and tissue that lines the pelvis.
This migrating tissue continues to thicken and break down as it would in your uterus during your menstrual cycle. But because it’s outside of your uterus, it has no way to exit the body and becomes trapped. It’s this trapped tissue that can cause irritation, cramps, and pelvic pain.
Women with endometriosis tend to have trouble getting pregnant, but they can and do have healthy pregnancies. Once pregnant, symptoms of endometriosis are often temporarily alleviated since you’re not having monthly periods. Symptoms tend to return once pregnancy is complete.
Previously, experts were unaware that once you conceive, endometriosis can affect your pregnancy. We now know there’s a link between endometriosis and certain pregnancy complications, including miscarriage.
Two large studies published in 2016 and 2017 provide a better understanding of the risks endometriosis poses to your pregnancy. Both studies found that having endometriosis increases the risk of miscarriage for some women by nearly 80 percent.
The studies thoroughly analyzed the data from large groups of women with endometriosis and compared it to women without the condition and found a strong link between endometriosis and miscarriage.
Miscarriage occurs when you lose the fetus before week 20 of pregnancy. The following are signs of miscarriage:
If you experience signs of a miscarriage, it’s imperative that you call your doctor immediately. Keep in mind that some light bleeding can occur before 12 weeks, so early spotting isn’t doesn’t necessarily indicate a miscarriage.
Your pregnancy experience may be very different from other women who have endometriosis. Your hormone levels, the severity of your condition, and how your body responds to pregnancy are all factors. Dr. Sharon Smith and Dr. Jennifer Whitlock are dedicated to guiding their patients with endometriosis safely through pregnancy and can help you understand the risk for potential complications.
From clinical data, we know that endometriosis may increase your risk for delivering your baby early. A preterm baby is born before 37 weeks of gestation. Preterm babies tend to have low birth weights and are at an increased risk for health and developmental problems. Our team at OBGYN Care of Houston works to manage the risk factors if you have endometriosis.
Endometriosis may also increase your risk of placenta previa, a condition where the placenta separates from the uterine wall when the cervix dilates during labor and either partially or completely covers the cervix. Quick diagnosis and treatment help keep you and your baby safe. Under some circumstances, a cesarean section may be necessary.
If you experience any signs of a miscarriage, you should see your doctor immediately to confirm what is happening and determine whether you need any treatment.
It’s perfectly normal to feel grief if you should miscarry. Our team at OBGYN Care of Houston can provide you with information where you can find support.
OBGYN Care of Houston provides the highest level of care for patients with endometriosis. For comprehensive care throughout your pregnancy and beyond, call our office or book your appointment online today.