All women suffering from uterine fibroids are concerned about the effect of the tumor on pregnancy and childbirth. Will I be able to have kids? How can fibroids affect my pregnancy and fertility? Am I at risk of a miscarriage? Is pregnancy after UFE possible?
Today, a safe and effective nonsurgical procedure for removing uterine fibroids Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) can solve all the problems of women who want to cure the disease and give birth to a healthy baby. And although there are many myths about pregnancy after UFE, none of them is confirmed in practice.
In Atlanta Fibroid Center, we have a whole wall of thank you letters from happy mothers, and photos of their beautiful babies. These women have already had UFE and given birth to their long-awaited children, and some of them even have twins!
Although fibroids usually do not cause infertility, they pose certain risks for a woman planning to have a baby. There are can be problems during the conception: squeezing the fallopian tubes, which impedes the movement of sperm, or impaired ovulation.
And even if conception succeeded, the danger of complications remains. They can arise if there is a contact of the fibroids with the placenta (i.e., with placentation in the area of the fibroid nodes). And the size of the fibroids is very important: with a large tumor, the likelihood of miscarriage greatly increases. Moreover, due to the decrease in free space for the child in the uterus (due to fibroid nodes), as well as with an increase in contractile activity of the uterus, there is a risk of premature birth.
Pregnancy itself can also negatively affect fibroids. During pregnancy, the formation of both estrogen and progesterone rises – both of which can contribute to the growth of fibroids and the emergence of new nodes.
And, unfortunately, according to the statistics, from 20 to 50 percent of women of childbearing age have fibroids. But the good news is that they have options.
Pregnancy after Uterine Fibroid Embolization: Understand Your Options
Healthy pregnancy and childbirth are possible after UFE.
In 2017, the journal Radiology published the results of a six-year study in which 359 women with fibroids who could not get pregnant before the procedure participated. During the 6 years after having UFE, 149 women (41.5%) became pregnant at least once, and 131 women gave birth to a total of 150 children. This was the first pregnancy for more than 85% of these women.
Researchers concluded that UFE can be recommended for women suffering from fibroids as a treatment option to restore fertility.
A recent study published in the International Journal of Biomedicine showed that the frequency of pregnancy complications in women who had UFE for treating fibroids did not differ significantly from healthy women without fibroids. Moreover, these complication rates were much lower compared to women with fibroids who did not treat fibroids or chose just medication as a treatment method.
Equally important is the fact that the UFE procedure is fully covered by insurance. A woman does not risk her money and health. She chooses an option that will bring her life back quickly and efficiently and help her dream of having a child become a reality.
Your Choice: Pregnancy after Myomectomy vs. Pregnancy after UFE
If a woman suffering from fibroids wants to have a baby, there are two main options for her: myomectomy and uterine fibroid embolization.
In this video, Dr. John Lipman of Atlanta Fibroid Center speaks about the features of each procedure and the possibility of childbearing after having one of these treatment options.
What should a woman expect after a myomectomy vs. UFE? How soon can she start trying to get pregnant after fibroid treatment? Does uterine fibroid embolization affect fertility? What about pregnancy after uterine fibroid embolization?
Surgical myomectomy is a surgical procedure that is done under general anesthesia, it’s done in the hospital. The patients will likely stay in the hospital for a couple of days and then have a six to eight-week recovery at home. One of the biggest drawbacks of surgical myomectomy is that it doesn’t remove all of the fibroids surgically (in the typical usual case). Therefore there will be fibroids left behind in the woman’s uterus when she wakes up from this major surgery. The chances of getting pregnant will not increase, and the risks of complications will not become less, unfortunately.
Also, myomectomy patients have to sign a release, saying they understand, if they get into too much bleeding surgically or doctors physically can’t close the uterus back together (which happens relatively often), a woman might wake up without her uterus. So, every woman has to be prepared for the fact that going to a surgical myomectomy, she can end up with a hysterectomy. That is, there is a risk that she will never be able to have children.
Contrast that with the uterine fibroid embolization procedure.
This procedure is done by an interventional radiologist. It is performed completely as an outpatient, there is no hospital involved. At all the procedure is very quick. It takes about 30 to 45 minutes. The patient recovers for about four or five hours and then has discharged home with just a band-aid at the entry site in the body, where we went in either at the top of the right leg or at the left wrist.
At home, the recovery is about five to seven days versus two months or more with surgery! After the woman sees the doctor in the three-month follow-up visit, she can start trying to have a child again. It’s really important to check at that three-month visit to make sure that all of the fibroids are dead (and typically that is the case).
So, if the fibroids are all dead and your symptoms are significantly better or disappear, entirely you can then try to have a child.
Pregnancy after UFE is not just possible, but it can solve problems that did not allow a woman to bear a child before.
In our practice, dozens of stories have been collected about how women gave birth to healthy children after UFE, although before that they had many miscarriages or indications for mandatory hysterectomy.
One of our patients had 4 miscarriages before having UFE, and three months after the procedure she became pregnant. She became symptom-free, fibroid-free, and she became a mother!
“Life is too short to be miserable. I tell every woman – don’t give up, especially if you come here, it is just going to be a whole different outcome of life. You’ll be able to have a baby, so do what you are supposed to do, come to get the procedure done. I’m really glad that I came. I was pregnant because of the [UFE] procedure. It was safe, it was simple, and I am still in a better position in my life after I had the baby, I still feel good. If I had not come here, I would not be holding my daughter in my arms.”
If you suffer from uterine fibroids and are not ready to give up the dream of having children, think about UFE and make an appointment with Dr. John Lipman of the Atlanta Fibroid Center. He will review your unique situation and evaluate your chances of getting pregnant after the procedure. For more information about UFE or to make an appointment, please call 770-214-4600 or make an appointment online.