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This Common Health Problem May Put You at Higher Risk for a Miscarriage
It’s an unfortunate fact of life: miscarriages happen. According to the National Institutes of Health, 15 to 20 percent of women who know that they’re pregnant suffer from a miscarriage.
Now, new research, which was presented to the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology Conference in Lisbon, Portugal, this week, has found that rate is higher for women who have endometriosis. If you’re not familiar with it, endometriosis is a fairly common condition caused by the appearance of endometrial tissue outside the uterus. It impacts more than 170 million women worldwide.
In a nationwide cohort study of nearly 15,000 women that used discharge data from all state hospitals in Scotland, scientists discovered that women with endometriosis had a significantly higher risk of early pregnancy complications than women without the condition.
RELATED:What You Need to Know About Endometriosis and Your Fertility
How high were the risks? It was 76 percent higher for miscarriage and nearly three times higher for ectopic pregnancy, where the fetus develops outside the uterus, usually in the fallopian tubes. (According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the typical risk of having an ectopic pregnancy when you don’t have endometriosis is one to two percent.)
Women who suffer from endometriosis can also have difficulty conceiving, making the risks that much more upsetting.
Susan Lin, M.D., a board-certified ob-gyn practicing in San Mateo, California, says she’s not shocked by the findings. “Endometriosis can alter the uterine [and] fallopian tube environment and cause scarring, leading to pregnancy issues,” she explains.
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However, it’s worth pointing out that you can have endometriosis and have a healthy baby. While there are risks of miscarriage and ectopic pregancy, Lin says there are a few things you can do to lower the odds it will happen to you:
Tell Your Doctor About Your Condition
If she isn’t already aware, make sure your doctor knows that you have endometriosis. Awareness is important, just in case any complications arise (and hopefully they won’t).
Get Your Tubes Checked
It’s a good idea to have your doctor make sure your fallopian tubes are open before you try to get pregnant. If they’re not, you’re going to have difficulty conceiving in the first place.
Take Care of Yourself
It sounds obvious, but it’s important, especially if you’re at a higher risk of miscarriage. Lin recommends eating healthy and getting plenty of rest.
RELATED:This Woman Got Pregnant from Having Anal Sex
Stop Taking Medication
Many women who suffer from endometriosis are on some type of medication to treat their symptoms. Those commonly include birth control (which can obviously make it more difficult to get pregnant) and anti-inflammatories, but you should stop taking them once you’re pregnant to lower the odds of suffering a miscarriage.
The bottom line: Of course, risks are just that—risks—and it doesn’t mean that you’ll suffer a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy if you have endometriosis. However, if you have the condition and are trying to get pregnant, be sure to talk to your doctor sooner rather than later.
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