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Pregnancy in Fibromyalgia

Robert Bennett MD

Fibromyalgia patients appear to have normal fertility; according to the NFA survey of nearly 3,000 patients the following relevant data were collected:

Currently married


Never married


No children


One child


Two children


More than 3 children


These figures compare very favorably with the National Census Bureau figure of  2.1 children per woman.

Medications and pregnancy

Most FM patients are using medications which may harm the developing fetus; as a general rule it is best to stop all medications when your are trying to conceive. However, some medications are safe to take during pregancy; these are classified by the FDA as class A drugs. In general antidepressant drugs, NSAIDs and acetaminophen are safe to use during pregnancy. Importantly alcohol, tobacco and most illicit drugs (e.g. heroin, cocaine) are harmful to the developing fetus. You should always discuss your medications with your doctor and also do some research and reading yourself. All package inserts have the following FDA classification classification of drug interactions with pregnancy:




 These drugs are the safest. Well-designed studies in people show no risks to the fetus.


Studies in animals show no risk to the fetus, and no well-designed studies in people have been done.
OR Studies in animals show a risk to the fetus, but well-designed studies in people do not.


No adequate studies in animals or people have been done.
OR In animal studies, use of the drug resulted in harm to the fetus, but no information about how the drug affects the human fetus is available.


Evidence shows a risk to the human fetus, but benefits of the drug may outweigh risks in certain situations. For example, the mother may have a life-threatening disorder or a serious disorder that cannot be treated with safer drugs.


Risk to the fetus has been proved to outweigh any possible benefit.

Also see Karen Schaefer's thoughts on medications during pregnancy.

The experience of pregnancy is quite variable in fibromyalgia patients; I have personally cared for 3 patients who experienced an almost complete remission of their fibromyalgia for some 6-8 months after giving birth. However, even in completely healthy woman the increasing weight and changes in the center of gravity that ensue as the pregnancy progresses place extra demands on the skeleton and muscles which often cause back pain and aggravation of  FM symptoms. Also see Pregnancy Study from Scandinavia

Karen Schaefer provides some very useful suggestions for managing pregnancy in FM patients.

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