Chronic fatigue syndrome: implications for women and their health care providers during the childbearing years

J Midwifery Womens Health. 2008 Jul-Aug;53(4):289-301; quiz 399. doi: 10.1016/j.jmwh.2007.12.001.


Chronic fatigue syndrome is a complex debilitating medical disorder that affects approximately 4 million persons in the United States, predominantly women. There has been little scientific exploration about the experience of pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period for women with this disorder. A review of the literature and current research findings addressing the epidemiology, diagnosis, symptoms, and treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome are presented, as well as the currently available data regarding the experience of women with chronic fatigue syndrome anticipating or experiencing pregnancy and the postpartum period. Expert opinion is presented along with current evidence to provide guidelines for the care of women with chronic fatigue syndrome during pregnancy, labor and birth, lactation, and the postpartum period.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breast Feeding
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic / diagnosis
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic / epidemiology*
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Maternal Welfare*
  • Midwifery
  • Mothers / psychology
  • Parturition* / physiology
  • Parturition* / psychology
  • Postpartum Period
  • Pregnancy
  • Women's Health