Endometriosis and pregnancy outcomes


Can endometriosis affect the chances for a successful pregnancy?

A new study from Scotland suggests that it may. It has been known for years that endometriosis can cause infertility, but it was less clear was whether it might affect the outcomes of those who do successfully conceive.

For those who are unfamiliar, endometriosis is a condition in which tissue resembling the endometrium (the lining of the uterus) grows in places where it does not normally belong such as as on the ovary, near the fallopian tubes or in other parts in the peritoneal membrane that lines the pelvis. Besides affecting fertility, endometriosis can result in painful menses (dysmenorrhea) and painful intercourse (dyspareunia). The symptoms of endometriosis are often cyclic, fluctuating along with a woman's reproductive hormones.

In a large study presented at the ESHRE meeting in Lisbon, the group from Edinburgh in the UK, reported that women who with known endometriosis were more likely to have miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies that those who did not. While this does not prove that endometriosis causes poor pregnancy outcomes, it does suggest that women with endometriosis are more likely to experience an early pregnancy loss or ectopic pregnancy.

Endometriosis and pregnancy complications


It is well known that women who suffer from infertility and become pregnant are more like to have a difficult pregnancy. The rates of a number of pregnancy complications are increased in these women even if the pregnancy was not the result of treatment such as fertility drugs, IVF or IUI.  It is also widely known that endometriosis may cause infertility.  What is less clear is whether is there is a relationship between endometriosis and pregnancy complications.

Now a group from the UK has studied the link  between the two and found that women with endometriosis in fact do have higher rates of pregnancy complications than other women. Their findings were presented at  The European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology . They found that that pregnant Endometriosis patients were more likely to experience:

  • Ectopic pregnancy 
  • Miscarriage 
  • Placenta previa 
  • Preterm birth  
  • Heavy bleeding before or after birth  

While the study may be small and limited, it does suggest that like infertility, endometriosis in itself may be a risk factor for a complicated pregnancy.