Endometriosis, Fertility, And Pregnancy

If you have endometriosis and want to have children, there are some things you should be aware of to increase your chances of getting pregnant and carrying a baby to term.

Getting Pregnant

If you have this condition and want to have children, you would wise to start seeing a fertility specialist even before you plan to get pregnant, and since your overall chances of getting pregnant are best during your twenties, you may want to plan to have children early.  One of the reasons this is so is that your ovaries age, and the older you become, the less viable and healthy eggs you will have; the term for this is "declining ovarian reserve."

Endometriosis can cause scarring and blockages on your fallopian tubes and ovaries, so it does cause problems with fertility. The more severe your condition, the more your fertility is affected. Laparoscopic surgery or a laparotomy (open abdominal surgery)  to remove the endometriosis tissue and scarred tissue can improve fertility, however.  If you have the surgery but want to delay having a child, you can take contraceptive pills that lessen the amount of estrogen your body makes, because endometriosis needs this hormone to grow.

 If your ovaries and eggs are declining/unhealthy or your tubes are blocked, you could still become pregnant through IVF (In vitro fertilization). This is a procedure where an egg is fertilized outside the womb and once an embryo is formed it is placed inside a woman's uterus to grow.

Before Pregnancy

There is also evidence that endometriosis causes an inflammatory response from your immune system, so your body will produce more cytokines (chemicals that destroy invaders) which can interfere with fertilization and successful pregnancy.  Your physician may test for this and prescribe an anti-inflammatory medicine to increase the chances of a successful pregnancy from fertilization to birth. To make sure you are in the best shape to have a child, you should pay attention to proper nutrition and get plenty of exercise as well.

Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Afterwards

During pregnancy, you will probably experience a relief in your endometriosis pain and other symptoms because of the higher levels of progesterone that your body produces at that time. You may be at a slightly higher risk to deliver a baby earlier than your due date.

After you give birth, you might prolong the relief from symptoms by nursing your baby or possibly getting back on hormonal contraceptives soon after.  Hormonal treatments may not completely control the signs and symptoms, but they can provide some relief.

So, to recap: If you want to have children and have endometriosis, take good care of your health and see a specialist promptly. Consider having children before the age of thirty or while you are in your early thirties.  Also, follow your doctor's advice about treatment to monitor your condition so that the damage and scarring that it causes can be kept to a minimum. If you're looking for an obstetrician, visit The Ob-Gyn Group.