If you have Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS), you likely know that the laxity of your tissues, and other symptoms, could present challenges during pregnancy. If you do decide to conceive, careful planning and management are key.
What is EDS?
EDS is a group of genetic disorders that affect the connective tissue that provides structure to joints, skin, blood vessels, and other tissues and organs.
A genetic counselor can help you make an informed decision about family planning, fertility, and tests during pregnancy.
Miscarriage and other risks
Women with EDS have a risk of miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside the uterus), and premature delivery. Due to the fragility of your connective tissue, you may be more susceptible to your membranes rupturing (“water breaking”) prematurely.
Protecting your joints during and after pregnancy
If you become pregnant, you need to be very careful to protect your joints throughout your pregnancy and during the postnatal period. To make certain EDS symptoms are held in check, schedule regular appointments with a physiotherapist as well as with specialists, including podiatrists and occupational therapists.
Speak with your general practitioner about the medication you take for musculoskeletal pain caused by EDS. Perhaps your doctor will want to modify the prescription for safety during your pregnancy while also keeping you comfortable.
Weight gain during pregnancy
You’re already vulnerable to joint damage, so during pregnancy avoid putting on excess weight, which would put even more stress on your joints.
EDS may make you more prone to digestive and gastrointestinal issues, so be sure to appraise your caregiver and general practitioner so that your nutritional well-being can be evaluated. If you are lacking any vitamins or minerals, your doctor can prescribe supplements.
Heart palpitations during pregnancy
During pregnancy, palpitations may increase or manifest for the first time. To quell concerns, your general practitioner may schedule an electrocardiogram. As hormone levels settle down, the palpitations, or “flutters,” should revert to normal levels.
Tinnitus during pregnancy
Due to the instability of bones in the middle portion of your ears, you may experience tinnitus (ringing sounds), a condition that may worsen during pregnancy because of increased progesterone production. You may want to use a white noise generator at night, or contact an ear, nose, and throat specialist.
Women with EDS are more prone to a relatively fast active labor, which can be intense if you’re unaware or unprepared. Let your caregivers know about your condition so they can be ready.
Alert your caregivers that EDS makes you more subject to excessive bleeding after birth. They can monitor you carefully and prepare for extra care during placenta delivery when heavy blood loss is more common.
Other post-delivery complications
You may experience any of the following post-partum complications:
- Rupture of the intestinal wall or blood vessels
- Delayed wound healing
- Loss of muscle tone in the uterus (uterine atony)
- Pelvic organ prolapse due to weak muscles
- Dislocation of the tailbone
- Deep vein thrombosis
- Musculoskeletal problems
EDS may make you more susceptible to anxiety and depression. To help curb the possibility of post-natal depression, try to maintain a good diet, get fresh air daily, exercise, avoid alcohol, learn and practice mindfulness, and stick to a regular bedtime schedule
Last updated: April 29, 2020
Ehlers-Danlos News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.
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