Health Conditions

Endometriosis and Pregnancy Risks

New US research has found that pregnant women with endometriosis have an increased risk of complications during pregnancy and at delivery, suggesting that women with the condition should be more closely monitored.

The new large meta-analysis looked at 24 studies and a total of more than 1 million women, with study author Vincenzo Berghella explaining that, “Prior studies looking at this issue have reported conflicting results.”

“Studies like ours help clarify the findings by pooling the data from many studies to give the field a more conclusive answer to a debated research question. The collective data is stronger than any single study alone and often helps shape opinion in the field.”

The results of this large analysis showed that women with endometriosis had a higher risk of preterm birth, miscarriage, cesarean delivery and placenta previa, which is when a baby’s placenta partially or totally covers the mother’s cervix and can cause severe bleeding during pregnancy and delivery.

The team also found a link between endometriosis and infants who were born small for their gestational age.

However, no association was found between endometriosis and gestational hypertension or preeclampsia.

“Endometriosis is known to alter a woman’s physiology in a way that could interfere with a number of stages of pregnancy,” explained Berghella, “From causing inflammation at the endometrium, to resisting the action of progesterone during implantation and throughout the pregnancy, there are a number of ways that endometriosis may affect the normal course of pregnancy.”

Endometriosis affects around 11 percent of women in the United States. As well as the potential complications found in this study it also causes symptoms such as painful abdominal pain, infertility and painful intercourse.

Berghella now believes that, “It’s important that women with a history of endometriosis, and obstetricians caring for them, are aware of this association between prior endometriosis and higher risks of miscarriage, preterm birth, placenta previa, cesarean delivery and a baby small for gestational age.”

“These pregnancies deserve closer monitoring for these complications.”

The results can be found online published in the journal Fertility and Sterility.

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