Obstetric complications of fibroids

Obstet Gynecol Clin North Am. 2006 Mar;33(1):153-69. doi: 10.1016/j.ogc.2005.12.010.


The effect of uterine fibroids on fecundity and pregnancy outcome is difficult to determine with any degree of accuracy; this is due, in large part, to the lack of adequate large clinical trials. In general, the literature tends to underestimate the prevalence of fibroids in pregnancy and overestimate the complications that are attributed to them. In contrast to popular opinion, most fibroids do not exhibit a significant change in volume during pregnancy, although those that do increase in size tend to do so primarily in the first trimester. Although most pregnancies are unaffected by the presence of uterine fibroids, large submucosal and retro-placental fibroids seem to impart a greater risk for complications, including pain (degeneration), vaginal bleeding, placental abruption, IUGR, and preterm labor and birth. Preconception myomectomy to improve reproductive outcome can be considered on an individual basis, but likely has a place only in women who have recurrent pregnancy loss, large submucosal fibroids, and no other identifiable cause for recurrent miscarriage. Antepartum myomectomy should be reserved for women who have subserosal or pedunculated fibroids and intractable fibroid pain that are unresponsive to medical therapy and who are in the first or second trimester of pregnancy. Myomectomy at the time of cesarean delivery is associated with significant morbidity (hemorrhage) and should be pursued with caution and only in select patients.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leiomyoma / complications*
  • Leiomyoma / diagnostic imaging
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Neoplastic / diagnostic imaging
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal
  • Uterine Neoplasms / complications*
  • Uterine Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging