The majority of fibromyalgia (FM) sufferers are women, and as such it is unfortunate that there is such a lack of information on fibromyalgia symptoms during pregnancy. Investigations on the relationship between pregnancy and FM symptoms are limited, and so the body of knowledge on the topic is shallow. For women considering pregnancy, here is some of the common knowledge that is available.
Studies have shown that more women are diagnosed with FM when they are pregnant, than not pregnant. This suggests that women predisposed to develop FM, are more likely to develop fibromyalgia symptoms during pregnancy. On the other hand, some doctors say that hormonal changes cause certain symptoms of FM to discontinue during pregnancy.
A new study by Karen M. Schaefer an assistant professor of nursing at Temple University found that women with FM had aggravated fibromyalgia symptoms during pregnancy. Her study was based on a questionnaire that was mailed to female FM patients between 29 and 31 years of age, in their third trimester. The questionnaire asked about depression, fatigue, levels of pain and daily functioning, and the patients involved reported increased stiffness, pain and tiredness levels since becoming pregnant. The conclusion was that FM sufferers had more difficulty in pregnancy than non-sufferers, and fibromyalgia symptoms during pregnancy seemed to flare-up more than in non-pregnant sufferers.
Some of the usual treatments for FM are not recommended during pregnancy. Since no medications have been found to be completely safe for a pregnant woman, FM patients planning a pregnancy must be weaned off any anti-depressants, pain meds or herbal remedies prior to becoming pregnant. Its best to plan your pregnancy a year or more in advance to give yourself time to wean off any medications. This will ensure that do drugs affect your baby’s development, especially in the critical first 4 to 6 weeks.