How does pregnancy affect fibromyalgia?
On this blog, so far, I have covered what fibromyalgia is, parenting with fibromyalgia, whether you can breastfeed with it and work with it. So, in this blog post I thought it would be useful to cover pregnancy and fibromyalgia.
My own experience
In March 2021, I found out that I was pregnant with my first child! I cannot tell you how elated I was when I received the positive pregnancy test. My husband and I just could not wait for our baby to be here!
I was slightly worried about how pregnancy with fibromyalgia would be. Carrying a baby can be physically hard on the body for anyone, let alone someone with a chronic pain condition. However, if anything, during pregnancy my fibromyalgia improved. I had no flare ups or high pain days and no debilitating fatigue.
In the first trimester, I’ll admit I felt tired and nauseous but this were just typical early pregnancy symptoms. I was still able to run until I was 12 weeks pregnant and then I had to stop, on the advice of my maternity physiotherapist. My hips kept coming out of place and moving about. Again, this was nothing to do with my fibromyalgia but merely the simple pressure of my growing baby on my pelvis.
The second and third trimester were pretty similar with a surge of energy in the second trimester and a lovely pregnancy glow in the third trimester. Pregnancy was a lovely experience for me.
Research articles and blogs on pregnancy and fibromyalgia
The first result I came across when I typed in the question ‘how does pregnancy affect fibromyalgia?’ was from the NHS Cambridge University Hospital. They state a very interesting point that only you know your body and how your fibromyalgia affects you. Everyone’s experience of pregnancy with fibromyalgia will be different. The article also goes onto explain how the symptoms of pregnancy and fibromyalgia often cross over and can be difficult to differentiate. Although some reported struggles in the first and third trimester others actually found their energy levels boosted by pregnancy!
A further study on The National Library of Medicine concluded that “Therapeutic measures for fibromyalgia syndrome should be well-established to support healthy pregnancy and good child health outcome.” This means that if you already have well established ways of managing and controlling your symptoms pregnancy with fibromyalgia shouldn’t be much more difficult. The article does find though that some women suffered more pain than those without fibromyalgia.
FMAUK have an article of their website where a woman is searching a similar question to myself and she concludes that although women with fibromyalgia might experience more symptom severity during pregnancy that most, if not all, actively encouraged other women with fibromyalgia to have children and experience pregnancy. She ends the post by saying “remember symptoms during pregnancy are transitory and offer an immense reward at the end of the nine months.”
Postpartum after pregnancy with fibromyalgia
The biggest piece of advice I can give you if you want to have a baby when you have fibromyalgia is to make sure you are well supported after the birth. Unfortunately, for me, after birth was when my fibromyalgia flared up and impacted me the most. Luckily, I have the most supportive husband ever and we were both well looked after.
It is important to note that everyone’s experiences will be different with both pregnancy, labour and the post-natal period and this blog is just here to give my personal experiences and summarise some of the research out there on this topic. It is by no means a medical guide for you to follow.
I will say this though, with the utmost certainty, that the decision to have a baby and become a mummy was the greatest decision I ever made and I am so grateful that I was able to conceive and carry my baby. I am so grateful to be a mum. It truly is the best job I have ever had!
Mummy the Fibro Warrior Top Tip:
- Before you contemplate pregnancy and fibromyalgia, make sure your fibromyalgia symptoms are under control, you have therapeutic ways to manage your symptoms and a good support network around you.
I need you to know you are doing the best you can and you can be Mummy the Fibro Warrior.
Until next time,
p.s. How did you manage pregnancy and fibromyalgia? Are any of my readers currently pregnant at the moment and need more advice? Could you offer others advice? Please do leave a comment below!
Advice, Tips and Tricks for parents battling a chronic illness