Treatment During Pregnancy
Fibromyalgia is a disorder that causes intense generalized fatigue, muscle pain, joint stiffness, anxiety, irritability, heightened sensitivity to external stimuli and sleep disturbances. There is no known cause for the condition. It cannot be cured and can only be moderately treated with medications. The medications don’t prevent the condition but can treat many of the symptoms. Sometimes fibromyalgia is overlooked during pregnancy and is often misdiagnosed as regular symptoms of pregnancy if the woman gets it for the first time while she is pregnant.
This is partly due to the highly generalized criteria for diagnosing the condition. Researchers are currently working on more accurate ways to diagnose fibromyalgia so that it can more easily be diagnosed in pregnant women as well as other individuals.
Fibromyalgia During Pregnancy
Women who have diagnosed or undiagnosed fibromyalgia before pregnancy tend to have worse symptoms during their pregnancy, according to the few studies that have been done on pregnant women and fibromyalgia. Symptoms tend to worsen in the third trimester. Researchers suspect the reason for this may be due to the higher amounts of the hormone relaxin produced during pregnancy as well as the physical and emotional stress placed on the body during pregnancy.
There are very few to no medical pain relievers accepted as entirely safe for use during pregnancy. This means that pregnant women have limited options for treating the symptoms of the condition and must find other ways to manage the pain. If a woman is pregnant, most doctors will recommend against the pain relievers and antidepressants commonly used for treatment.
Is It Dangerous for the Baby?
Medications used to treat fibromyalgia can be dangerous for the baby but the condition itself isn’t. It doesn’t cut blood flow to the developing fetus and babies born of mothers with fibromyalgia don’t have more health problems than the general public and they don’t experience growth restrictions. Since there is no threat to the baby, it isn’t necessary to see a high-risk obstetrician unless your regular obstetrician suggests it.
Non-Medical Ways to Manage
Pregnant women with fibromyalgia have the challenging task of trying to manage the condition with no medication. Limited amounts of fibromyalgia medications will be prescribed if the symptoms are so severe that there is no other option, but there’s always concern that the drugs could damage the developing child.
Doctors recommend plenty of rest during pregnancy especially if a woman has fibromyalgia. The suggested amount of rest is at least two to three times during the day for about 20 to 30 minutes. The use of moist heat is encouraged to help manage the pain and this includes warm showers or baths.
Exercise like yoga is also encouraged. Exercise increases serotonin levels which can help with fibromyalgia symptoms like irritability and depression. Experts also suggest that women have a strong support system to help them when the symptoms of fibromyalgia become worse. Strong emotional support goes a long way towards helping women manage with the condition when there is no other option.