Endometriosis During Pregnancy

Have endometriosis and wondering how your condition will affect you and baby throughout pregnancy? We've got all the answers.
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By Jennifer L.W. Fink, Registered Nurse
Updated February 26, 2017
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What is endometriosis during pregnancy?

Endometriosis is when the tissue that usually lines the uterus grows outside of it, and on and around the pelvic and abdominal organs. If you have endometriosis, you’re probably wondering how it will affect your pregnancy.

What are the signs of endometriosis?

The most common symptoms of endometriosis are abdominal pain, heavy periods, painful intercourse and severe menstrual cramps. You might also experience fatigue.

The good news is: While you’re pregnant, you might actually get some relief from your endometriosis symptoms. “The high levels of progesterone during pregnancy often induce a bit of remission,” says Sharon Phelan, MD, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of New Mexico.

Are there any tests for endometriosis?

Yes and no. Ultrasounds, CT scans and MRIs may be used to rule out other conditions. But endometriosis can only be definitively diagnosed with surgery, since a doc actually needs to look around in there to confirm you have it.

How common is endometriosis?

About 7 million women in the US have endometriosis.

How did I get endometriosis?

No one knows for sure. One theory is that certain women are genetically predisposed toward endometriosis. Another is that it’s caused, at least in part, by “backward” flow of menstrual fluid, which can cause normal menstrual fluid to leak into the abdomen. A third theory is that the disorder might be caused by a problem with the immune system.

How will my endometriosis affect my baby?

It shouldn’t. At least one research study suggests that endometriosis increases the risk of preterm birth, but most women with endometriosis have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies.

What’s the best way to treat endometriosis during pregnancy?

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You probably won’t be able to treat it during pregnancy. Outside of pregnancy, it’s often treated with hormones or surgery.

What can I do to prevent endometriosis?

There’s really no way to prevent endometriosis.

What do other pregnant moms do when they have endometriosis?

“I have stage IV endo, but my pain has always been only during cycles, other than some digestive discomfort due to adhesions (and this was a larger issue at the end of my pregnancy). My surgery didn’t help me pain-wise.”

“When I got pregnant, it took about three months, but all the pain did subside. Breastfeeding helped, but my menstrual cycle started up six weeks after giving birth (I owe that to being put on birth control pills). I would recommend breastfeeding exclusively after birth because it did really help.”

Are there any other resources for endometriosis?

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