How Endometriosis Affects Pregnancy, Birth and Postpartum

by Brood

Have you recently been diagnosed with endometriosis? Do you suspect you might have endometriosis? Are you concerned about your reproductive health, and are thinking about getting pregnant? Are you looking to learn more in order to support someone? If any of these things sound familiar, you’ve come to the right place.

We partnered with Ovry and somedays to create an amazing resource and guide called Endometriosis and the Path to Parenthood (download below) for those of you considering starting a family, who have endometriosis. It’s filled with accessible information and helpful resources, including a section on how to build your community of care.  

What is endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a condition in which tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside of the uterus. This tissue can cause pain and discomfort, especially during menstruation. It is estimated that up to 1 in 10 people with a uterus of reproductive age have endometriosis and it takes an average of 7 years for people to get a formal diagnosis.

What are common symptoms of Endometriosis?

Endometriosis has a range of symptoms, varying in their severity and frequency. Some of the most common symptoms include: 

  • Painful menstrual cramps: Some individuals with endometriosis experience severe cramping during their menstrual cycle. The pain can be felt in the lower abdomen, lower back, and pelvic region, and can last for several days.
  • Pain during sex: Endometriosis can cause pain during or after sexual intercourse. This can be due to the location of endometriosis, which can cause discomfort or pain when pressure is applied, or due to the inflammation and scarring caused by the condition, which can make certain movements painful.
  • Chronic pelvic pain: Endometriosis can cause chronic pain in the pelvic region, which may be constant or intermittent. This pain can be severe and debilitating, and can impact an individual’s quality of life.
  • Fatigue: Many individuals with endometriosis experience fatigue or exhaustion, which can be caused by the pain and discomfort associated with the condition, as well as by hormonal changes and sleep disturbances.
  • Infertility: Endometriosis can cause scarring and adhesions in the pelvic region, which can impact fertility. Some individuals with endometriosis may have difficulty conceiving or may require fertility treatments to become pregnant.
  • Painful bowel movements: Endometriosis can grow on the bowel or rectum, causing pain during bowel movements. This pain can be accompanied by bloating, constipation, or diarrhea.
  • Bloating (Endo Belly): Endo belly is a term used to describe the bloating that can occur in individuals with endometriosis. This bloating can be caused by a number of factors, including inflammation, hormonal changes, and digestive issues. Endo belly can be uncomfortable and can make it difficult to fit into clothing or perform daily activities.
  • Less common symptoms may include urinary issues like dysuria, hematuria, urinary frequency, and painful voiding, particularly if the bladder is involved. It may also cause painful bowel movements, constipation, and even rectal bleeding.

It’s important to note that not all individuals with endometriosis will experience these symptoms and that the severity of symptoms can vary widely from person to person. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, or are concerned about your reproductive health, speak with a healthcare provider for proper diagnosis and treatment.

How do I know if I have Endometriosis?

Getting an accurate diagnosis for Endometriosis can be difficult. When grappling with pelvic pain, individuals often find themselves subjected to a barrage of tests, from internal pelvic exams to ultrasounds, as doctors attempt to decipher your discomfort and predict the presence of lesions.

While these diagnostic methods are considered relatively accurate, the ultimate confirmation of Endometriosis necessitates a more invasive approach: laparoscopic surgery. Laparoscopic surgery is a procedure where doctors operate on a patient to look for endometriosis lesions and if lesions are found they are removed via either ablation (burning) or excision (cutting).

The journey to diagnosis is fraught with challenges, primarily stemming from the systemic undervaluation of menstrual and pelvic pain within medical frameworks. Those enduring chronic menstrual agony often find themselves in the arduous position of having to do extra avocation and plead their case to physicians, convincing them of the severity of their suffering to warrant access to diagnostic tests. 

Somedays and Lasa Health has launched a first-ever, free online Endometriosis Risk Assessment Tool, with 90% accuracy. The purpose of this tool is to learn more about your symptoms and provide guidance about next steps on your journey to a faster diagnosis!

How will Endometriosis affect pregnancy, birth or trying to conceive?

The way endometriosis behaves during pregnancy and birth can vary considerably from one person to another. Many people with endometriosis fear they will have trouble conceiving or being pregnant, but that isn’t always the case! The good news is an overwhelming majority of people with endo go on to have perfectly normal pregnancies and healthy babies. Although the research is still limited, and results vary from person to person, here are some of the things we do know about endometriosis and pregnancy:

  • Some people with endometriosis may experience relief in symptoms during pregnancy due to the lack of periods, and a progesterone-dominant environment.
  • Laparoscopic surgery for endometriosis with smaller amounts of scar tissue and inflammation almost doubles the spontaneous pregnancy rate. In people with larger amounts of scar tissue and inflammation, operative laparoscopy increases the spontaneous pregnancy rates. Spontaneous pregnancy conception (that is intercourse-based or DIY insemination) is the birth of a subsequent child after the birth of a child conceived through IVF, IUI or other forms of assisted reproduction
  • People who undergo laparoscopic surgery may have pregnancies that are categorized as higher risk and/or a more difficult time conceiving due to scarring.
  • People who have endometriosis may have a higher risk for placenta previa, an increased risk of obstetric complications, and some may require a cesarean section.
  • Although studies have shown there isn’t a connection between fetal wellbeing and endometriosis, there is some risk of miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy. This may be related to the size of the uterus in people with endometriosis and due to damage to the fallopian tubes.

Part of having affirming and supportive care is picking the right care provider who will see you through your pregnancy, birth and postpartum journeys. This could also be applied to your journey with endometriosis and finding the right care providers to support you. Make sure to speak with your healthcare provider about your health history and to create a plan that’s right for you.

Want to learn more about Endometriosis and its effects on pregnancy, birth and postpartum? Download our guide below. 

If you’re trying to conceive or just want to know more about endometriosis, this guide is for you!

Somedays, Ovry and Brood have collaborated to provide this exciting new guide, the first of its kind — for the endometriosis community and those who care for them.

Join Our Newsletter

Full Name(Required)
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

We work and live on the unceded and occupied territories of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish), səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations. Since time immemorial, the original peoples of these lands have cared for their families and communities. We are committed to honouring their teachings, legacy and their sovereignty.


Site by YupLook
Brood logo written as brood in lower case

Join our list and get notified!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have successfully subscribed!