While having a baby may seem like a simple concept that couples look forward to, the issue of infertility affects almost 15 percent of us. When considering autoimmune disorders like fibromyalgia, that statistic rises due to the associated thyroid issues and nutritional deficiencies.
What Is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a condition that involves widespread inflammation, chronic pain and fatigue that interferes with the ability to live a pain-free life. Doctors theorize that fibromyalgia is a disorder in which the brain and body process pain signals coming from the nerves. Although there is no cure for this condition, it can be successfully managed with medication, exercise, healthy habits and elimination of stress.
Fibromyalgia and Pregnancy
Fibromyalgia is more prevalent in women than in men. It is exacerbated by periods of mental, emotional, and physical stress, so it would make sense that pregnancy is especially stressful for a woman suffering from fibromyalgia. It may be more difficult for women with this condition to even become pregnant; greater instances of fertility issues have been found among women and partners where one or both were suffering from fibromyalgia.
Is Fibromyalgia Hurting Your Fertility?
While other factors may be at play in causing infertility issues, it cannot be denied that fibromyalgia can play a role in making it more difficult to conceive. A body that is stressed out through chronic pain and fatigue will naturally use a good portion of energy toward the healing process; conception takes a backseat to the more basic needs: pain management and reduction of stress. If you have been having trouble conceiving, it might be time to discuss options for improving your chances of conception with your doctor.
Dealing With Fertility Issues
There are several things you can do to naturally improve the health of your reproductive system, even with a condition like fibromyalgia. Here are a few tips for improving your chances of conception:
- Less caffeine. Reduce your intake of coffee, tea and soda. The presence of caffeine in the bloodstream dramatically lowers your prolactin, a necessary component of a healthy reproductive system.
- Say no to melatonin. Avoid taking supplemental melatonin, as it lowers the production of hormones that are essential in creating a fertile environment.
- Avoid large quantities of vitamin C. Although a certain amount of vitamin C will improve reproductive health, taking more than 900 mg daily will lower your chances of getting pregnant.
- Avoid hot tubbing, as it has the potential to help develop birth defects. Warm baths and showers are best before and during conception and pregnancy; generally, using water between 90 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit is best for soaking and showering.
- Avoid a high-protein diet; increase your intake of healthy whole grains and carbohydrates.
- Limit your consumption of alcohol and cut back on smoking. Do what you can to eliminate these habits from your life, as they won’t be beneficial when the baby arrives either.
- Avoid the use of vaginal lubricants, as they can damage sperm.
- Talk to your doctor about the use of your pain medication while pregnant. In some cases, it will be necessary to either switch meds or stop taking them altogether to protect the health of your baby.
Doing what you can to manage your own health and improve conditions under which your baby will be conceived will be key to the kind of pregnancy and birth experience you have. While your condition of fibromyalgia is not ideal, it is still probable that you will have a safe and wonderful pregnancy, provided you acquire the knowledge and support that you need from your medical team.