Monday, September 29, 2008

Fibromyalgia and Pregnancy

I touched on the subject of kids in the previous blog as being a great source of de-stressing. They are innocent and give unconditional love. And children are wonderful to have in your life regardless of whether you have a chronic condition or not. I can't tell you how many forum and chat rooms I've been in that cater to people suffering from Fibromyalgia where the subject of children comes up, but there are a lot, and the topic that seems the most interesting to many is pregnancy.

Some of you who have recently had a baby know that there was a baby boom in 2007. I missed that boom by one month and had my littlest one this past January, but I, like all the other mothers to be, was very eager to find out as much information as I possibly could on pregnancy and Fibromyalgia. I was diagnosed in late 2005, which was well after my first pregnancy, and I must admit that I was a bit leery of what might happen to me and a new baby due to my chronic illness, so any information would have been a welcoming comfort to me.

Fibromyalgia is still considered a relatively new syndrome and only recently has an FDA approved medicine, so information and studies can be hard to come by in research, however, I have found some studies relating to Fibromyalgia and pregnancy and the facts that I have found are pretty positive.

First, I must stress that I am not a doctor and I cannot diagnose or treat anyone's medical condition. You must see your own doctor and discuss pregnancy with them. But if you are afraid of trying to have children because of Fibromyalgia, please feel rest assured that studies show that this dibilitating condition might not be passed on to your children. Dr. Mark Pellegrino stated in an article taken from the National Fibromyalgia Association in August of 2005 that the baby has a greater vulnerability of getting it because of the genetic component, but that is the only risk to the fetus.

It is true that some doctors have stated that babies can be effected by the prescribed drugs and herbal supplements of some patients suffering from Fibromyalgia. And most will caution women to go "drug free" before, during, and for breast feeding mothers, after pregnancy, but these side effects are shown to be from the prescribed drugs and those effects usually happen during the first four to six weeks of pregnancy when a baby is most vulnerable. Some of the research I've read about supplements vary greatly from doctor to doctor and this is where your own GP, OBGYN, and Fibromyalgia specialist (usually a rheumatologist) should be involved to help you sort out what is best for you yourself.

I had decided to go "drug free" myself a few months before trying to get pregnant with the help and guidance of my doctors. And by "drug free" I mean getting off of all supplements except a prenatal and stopping my use of Advil and Tylenol. It was hard in the beginning, but once I became pregnant, my Fibro symptoms were not that bad. Some even became nonexistent. One study has shown this to be true for pregnant Fibromyalgia sufferers. They seemed to be symptom free for about the first six to seven months of pregnancy.

I will stress that there is a very recent study done by Dr. Karen M. Schafer that contradicts this finding. Her study findings are similar to a study done in Norway in the 1970's. Her study was done with only nine mothers that ranged in age of 26-36 and these mothers already had a previous pregnancy before diagnoses. She states that mothers had more fatigue and pain in the last trimester and they also found it very difficult to breastfeed due to soreness and stiffness of their joints. Some also had a problem with sore nipples. This may be common with all mothers, but for Fibromyalgia sufferers and mothers with arthritis, it may be more common according to the La Leche League. Their article states that some medications and steroids can cause the mother to have a problem with yeast infections and if you are suffering from cracked or bleeding nipples, you should consider it to be thrush and get medical advice to treat it.

Now, studies are just that-- studies and believe me when I tell you that some of the information out there can make your head spin. Mine went into overdrive when I read all the controversy, but remember, FM is still new. The best thing you can do for yourself is to get a support system going because you are going to need it. The old saying, "It takes a village to raise a child." is so true and a lot of people I'm sure will be willing to help you.

I remember wanting to do it all and being just way too tired to do anything. I allowed myself a lot of time to rest and asked for a lot of people to help me clean my house and do laundry. I also looked for support with mothers who breastfed their babies and suffered from FM. There are many forums out there that have a dedicated page for this, but the La Leche League gals were one of my favorite groups. I must stress that making the decision to breast or bottle feed is a very personal matter and some people may make you feel bad if can't breastfeed your baby. And that is just sad. Always remember that you are the mother and you love your child and if you are making the best decision you can possibly make for the both of you, then it's a good decision that was made out of love. I bottle fed my first and breast fed my second and there are wonderful perks with both which I've stated in a previous article on Helium.com entitled Feeding Your Baby: Breast or Bottle?

There are so many other tips that I have found that work well when it comes to holding and feeding your baby that I'll be discussing in further blogs. The information I have is just too much to condense into one blog. Most of what I have collected will be going into my new book which I'll announce to all of my readers here. I am going to write another book on Fibromyalgia and this one will be on my pregnancy. I talk about tips and tricks and of course my trials with Fibro. I will also discuss how to talk to your children about your chronic condition.

Children are truly wonderful and will give you great blessings of joy in your life. They can help you stay young and also remind how to be fabulous. Take care of yourselves, until next time.

Love and friendship,

Kimberley

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