If you have fibromyalgia and are thinking about getting pregnant, it's important to learn all you can about both conditions. Sometimes, symptoms of fibromyalgia -- such as pain, fatigue, and depression -- are thought to be signs of the pregnancy itself. As a result, they may be undertreated. In addition, the added stress of having a baby may cause fibromyalgia symptoms to flare, making you feel much worse.
Managing fibromyalgia during pregnancy is possible. But you need to spend time learning about the effects of pregnancy on symptoms of fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS). You also need to stay in touch with your fibromyalgia specialist when symptoms flare.
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How Does Fibromyalgia Affect Pregnancy?
With pregnancy, there's a tremendous increase in the amount of hormones in your body. Along with weight gain, your body is out of balance, and your shape takes a different form. Most women experience nausea and fatigue, especially during the first three months of pregnancy. Is it any wonder that fibromyalgia symptoms are often misdiagnosed and thought to be a normal part of pregnancy?
There are few studies on fibromyalgia in pregnant women. However, a study at Temple University found that women with fibromyalgia had more symptoms of pain during pregnancy than women who did not have fibromyalgia. Also, fibromyalgia symptoms seemed to be exacerbated during pregnancy. Pregnant women with fibromyalgia may experience significant pain, fatigue, and psychological stress, especially in the first three months.
Does Stress Trigger Fibromyalgia During Pregnancy?
Pregnant or not, stress -- both physical and emotional -- is known to trigger fibromyalgia. Considering all that's involved with pregnancy, labor, and delivery, it's obvious that pregnancy is a time of high stress. With pregnancy, there are changes in the levels of estrogen, progesterone, and other hormones. Also, since the time after a pregnancy can be difficult for mothers -- even those without fibromyalgia -- it's important to be aware of the possible increase in pain and other symptoms that may occur after giving birth.
Are Fibromyalgia Medications Safe During Pregnancy?
At this time, no fibromyalgia medications are completely safe to use during pregnancy. In fact, doctors recommend that women with fibromyalgia go off of painkillers and antidepressants before they become pregnant. However, be sure you talk with your doctor before you stop any medicines.
What Treatments Are Recommended for Fibromyalgia During Pregnancy?
To avoid letting fibromyalgia interfere with pregnancy, know what steps you can take to ease the symptoms. Then seek support from your doctors, family members, and friends. Treatments for pregnant women with fibromyalgia may include massage, exercise, yoga, meditation, and rest.
If you suffer with fatigue and ache all over, make sure you rest 20 to 30 minutes at least two or three times a day. To ease the achiness of tender point pain, try moist heat applications twice a day. A warm shower or bath is a good way to apply moist heat. Just make sure that the water temperature is 100 degrees Fahrenheit or lower and limit use to 15 -20 minutes at a time. Also, use gentle stretching exercises and exercises recommended by your doctor for relief.