Article Exploring Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia Pain

An article entitled “Coping With Fibromyalgia During Pregnancy” recently published in US News and World Report Health provides greater insight into what fibromyalgia patients experience during pregnancy. According to the article, the condition, characterized by widespread pain, tender points on the body, extreme fatigue, memory and concentration problems, headaches, and temperature and touch sensitivity, effects seven times more women than men. Dr. Daniel Clauw, a professor of anesthesiology, rheumatology and psychiatry at the University of Michigan, explains that fibromyalgia is thought to be a condition of the central nervous system where greater sensitivity occurs on the pain-processing system. He further explains that individuals with fibromyalgia “feel more things in their body as painful that other people [who] have a lower volume-control setting would not feel as pain. A paper cut could feel like a deeper slash; a walk might leave legs as heavy as post-marathon; a twisted ankle could feel broken.”

What does that mean for women diagnosed with fibromyalgia who want to become pregnant? While research is greatly lacking on this topic, the author of the article, Anna Medaris Miller, explains that pregnant women with fibromyalgia experience their symptoms at a heightened level and that many medications used to treat the condition have not proven to be safe to use during pregnancy. What’s interesting is some women report improvement in their symptoms during pregnancy. However, after pregnancy or breast feeding, symptoms returned full-force. This curious finding leads Clauw to suspect that the hormone oxytocin or hormonal changes, in general, may play a role in alleviating pain. Obviously, this opens up the opportunity for much more fruitful research into this area.  I highly recommend reading this great article. I have attached the link below.

Tell me what you think? Did your symptoms improve or worsen during pregnancy?



6 Comments Add yours

  1. tlohuis says:

    Thank you so much for your kind words, as always! I do enjoy your blog, as well. I’m just going through a rough patch with writing so I’ve been slacking with the blogging. I’ve filled many notebooks with words, only to be shredded. I hope you are getting at least some pain relief. I’m going to try to get back into my blogging on a regular basis. Until then, keep writing and we’ll keep reading. Your blog is very good and informative. Thank you so much for all that you share. I’m wishing you only the best in the new year. Be happy and healthy, my friend. I’ll continue to walk the journey alongside you!!!! Peace xxx 🙂

  2. I absolutely believe the oxytocin hypothesis! Coming at it from a different angle, I have often found that I feel less pain when I am around people (and animals) I really trust and care about. They call oxytocin the “bonding hormone” and, if I remember correctly from my psychology classes, your brain would release more of it in the presence of loved ones.

    There is a great TED talk by Kelly McGonigal on the power of oxytocin. I very rarely give out links to my own blogs in comments, at the risk of coming across as self-promoting, but in this case I so want to share my thoughts on it with you! I think everything Ms.McGonigal says would really support the hypothesis about oxytocin relieving pain.

    Hope you enjoy it!

    1. Thanks so much for your comment and the link to your blog post. I would love to reblog your post with your permission, of course. I think it would be a great follow-up to this article. Also, your comment made me remember a post I wrote about a year ago about whether love can change the way we relate to chronic pain. I posted it here. I thought you may be interested in it.

      1. I would be honored if you reblogged my post! 🙂 Actually, I have one more post to share with you too. (I was originally going to include it in my last comment, but decided to limit myself to one post to start, haha).

        It’s about how in my own life, I’ve discovered that being around loved ones really seems to change the way my brain processes pain. (This is true whether the loved one is a person or a dog).

        Based on my own experiences, I can totally identify with what the studies you discuss have concluded.

  3. tlohuis says:

    I’ve given birth 4 times and had 2 spontaneous abortions (miscarriages). I had been diagnosed by my second pregnancy that I carried to term. I had so many problems that I can’t really even remember how the fibromyalgia affected me. Of course, back then there were only a handful of doctor’s that believed that fibromyalgia was a real disease. My rheumatologist at that time was a world renowned doctor, one of the best. Most doctor’s used to use the word fibromyalgia when they believed you were some kind of hypochondriac! Thankfully, today, fibromyalgia is a true medical diagnosis recognized by almost all physicians. I had so many other medical problems during pregnancy, it’s hard to say what was caused by fibromyalgia. I did have a lot of all over body pain, but I had that before I became pregnant. 🙂

    1. Thank you Tammy for your testimonial on this article. Yes, I completely agree that when there are comorbidities it is often hard to decipher what is causing what. I feel it is the same with me and endometriosis and multiple spinal injuries. It is very difficult to understand what is causing what which not only makes it difficult for diagnosis but also for treatment. Like always, I appreciate not only your comments and insight on my articles but also your own reflections on your great blog. Wishing you a happy and healthy new year.

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