Fibromyalgia and Pregnancy

The effects of a simultaneous condition of fibromyalgia and pregnancy vary greatly from woman to woman. Some report improvement in all symptoms, while these worsen in others.
Fibromyalgia and Pregnancy

Last update: 22 September, 2021

The relationship between fibromyalgia and pregnancy is little explored and is seldom taken into account. The condition afflicts pregnant women of various ages.

The problem is that the symptoms depend on every individual so it’s difficult to establish what one can expect and what’s normal or not. Today’s article will tell you more about this condition and its treatments.


This condition is a rheumatologic disease of neurological origin. The precise organic causes of fibromyalgia are still unknown but 90% of people who have it are women. It’s common in those between the ages of 40 and 49.

The main characteristics of the disease are pain in the muscles, bones, ligaments, and joints. Also, the continuous presence of fatigue, insomnia, and headaches. In addition, depression and anxiety are present to a great extent.

The intensity of the symptoms varies so the symptoms can be mild or intense depending on the day. We do know there’s a correlation between stress and the severity of manifestation.

Fibromyalgia and pregnancy

Some systematic reviews determined the relationship between fibromyalgia and pregnancy. There’s no conclusive data but research revealed the two conditions lead to substantially different effects.

As you can imagine, there’s no full agreement among scientists on the interrelationship between fibromyalgia and pregnancy. While some claim that pregnancy reduces the symptoms of the disease, others believe it makes them more severe.

Are fibromyalgia and pregnancy compatible? They are indeed. A woman with this condition doesn’t have any problem continuing the pregnancy or completing it successfully. Furthermore, there’s no evidence that this disease affects the embryo.

Those who argue that the severity of fibromyalgia symptoms decreases during pregnancy base their claim on the fact that there’s a decrease in an ovarian hormone called relaxin during pregnancy. It might help to relax the muscles and thus, decrease pain.

However, a study conducted in Norway in 1997 pointed out the opposite. According to this research, pregnant women have more severe symptoms of fibromyalgia during pregnancy.

Specifically, the study found that pain increased markedly during the last trimester of pregnancy. Also, these women had a marked tendency to experience postpartum depression. The research reveals that fibromyalgia doesn’t affect the baby’s health.


Fibromyalgia and pregnancy share several common manifestations. Specifically, there’s increased fatigue, aches and pains, and sleep disturbances in both conditions, although in different intensities for different reasons.

Some research shows that many women experience fibromyalgia symptoms as if they correspond to pregnancy. In turn, almost all mothers report that some of their symptoms worsen after childbirth.

The greatest risk researchers detected is in the formation of blood clots, the development of diabetes, and an increase in blood pressure. The same study estimates a 35% risk of premature delivery, as well as up to 50% incidence of low birth weight babies.

In addition, these mothers have a higher risk of anemia and obesity. The association may not be the result of the disease. However, researchers suspect that treatments produce side effects.

A pregnant woman in pain.
The symptomatology varies in those with fibromyalgia and pregnant.

Fibromyalgia impacts women during pregnancy and after the baby is born

The main difficulties caused by the combination of fibromyalgia and pregnancy happen during the postpartum period. It seems a good number of women experience an increase in the intensity of symptoms and an increase in the incidence of depression.

For instance, not all pregnant women are able to breastfeed their infants, as chronic muscle pain can make this practice difficult. Likewise, postpartum depression can be very severe. Thus, specialists advise seeking help during the first months of the baby’s life.

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