Hints for Women
with FM who are Considering Pregnancy
Moore Schaefer, RN, DNSc, Assistant Professor Nursing
Philadelphia, PA 19140
are suggestions that might help you as you consider
becoming pregnant or may help improve the quality of your
pregnancy if you are already pregnant. Most of these hints are
based on clinical experience and what is currently known about
pregnancy, and therefore, require testing to know if they will
affect the interaction between FM and pregnancy. You are
encouraged to discuss any of the suggestions with your
obstetrician or nurse midwife/practitioner *so that you can work
together towards a healthy pregnancy.
conception, talk with your obstetrician about pre-natal
Talk with you obstetrician about his/her experience with women
with FM. Ask how many women with FM that they
have in their practice.
how they help the women through the FM and the pregnancy. These
questions will help you decide if this is the
best obstetrician for you.
If appropriate, include significant family members or friends in
your pregnancy decision. They may be a good
resource for support during and after your pregnancy.
Eat a well balanced diet and start pre-natal vitamins for the
health of you and your baby.
Discuss your normal FM symptoms with your obstetrician so that
he/she can help you distinguish your FM symptoms from the normal
symptoms of pregnancy. When in doubt about any symptom please
ask. Do not assume it is related to your FM. Review any
prescribed or over-the-counter medications you are taking with
your obstetrician to determine whether they are safe to take
during pregnancy. If needed, request interventions to reduce
nausea and vomiting associated with pregnancy. Some women find
that room temperature cola that is flat helps. If you decide to
try cola, use the decaffeinated.
Ask about alternative interventions to reduce discomforts
associated with FM and pregnancy. Partner massage (with
instruction), imagery, music therapy, heat /cold, relaxation and
positioning for comfort may help.
When positioning on your side, especially during the last
trimester, use pillows tucked against your back when side-lying
with your body slightly forward or backward to avoid lying
directly on your tender points.
Engage in gentle exercise. Walking is one of the best for your
muscles and your pregnancy.
Plan to meet the need for additional rest, especially in the
first and last trimester of pregnancy.
If you hope to breast feed your child, discuss your plans with a
lactation consultant or an expert on breastfeeding. They will
help you practice techniques before your baby is born so that
you will be ready to work with your new infant.
If you have any concerns about miscarriage related to your FM,
talk with your primary care provider. There is no evidence to
suggest that FM increases the chance that you will have a
Discus the pros
and cons of
epidural anesthesia with
If you are able to, walk during labor. It will help to keep your
muscles active and encourage labor to progress. Practice
relaxation during contractions. Nice slow deep breaths or
imagery might be easiest to do. These can distract you from the
discomfort of labor and relax the muscles.
Did you decide
to use epidural anesthesia for pain control?
Ask the nurses
and other health care providers to respect your need to keep the
noise and lights to a minimum while you are in labor. This may
help promote relaxation and reduce muscle tension. .
Avoid drafts and cold temperatures for several days. Plan for
additional help at home. If possible seek the help of a family
member or close friend for about two weeks after delivery.
If you Plan
Request the assistance of a lactation consultant or visiting
nurse to help you get started once you are at home. They can
provide interventions to help the baby latch on and work with
even simple things such as breast size and how that will affect
Try using a pillow or commercially made product (Boppi) for
support while you breast feed. This will reduce the intensity of
holding a child in one position for an extended period of time.
You can also try lying on your side to breast feed with a pillow
to support your head.Change positions while breastfeeding so
that your muscles do not get stiff and tired.
Breast-feed in a quiet place and use interventions to help
you relax (music, the sound of water, muscle relaxation,
Delegate as much work as possible to other people who have
offered to help so that you and your new baby can rest.
* It is
recognized that women may have an obstetrician, nurse midwife or
a nurse practitioner that cares for them while pregnant. Use of
the term obstetrician encompasses all care providers.