Fibroids May Raise Risk of Stillbirth

Monitoring fetal growth in women with these tumors advisable, study says

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SATURDAY, Feb. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Women who have uterine fibroids are at increased risk for stillbirth, a new study finds.

"Fibroids are very common. We think they occur in 5 percent to 20 percent of all women, but most women are asymptomatic and don't even know they have them," study co-author Dr. Molly Stout, of Washington University in St. Louis, said in a news release.

She and her colleagues analyzed data from 64,047 women and found that 3.2 percent (2,058) of them had fibroids -- muscular tumors in the wall of the uterus that are usually benign. The incidence of stillbirth among those with fibroids was 1.6 percent, compared to 0.7 percent for women without fibroids.

The increased risk persisted even after the researchers adjusted for risk factors such as black race, tobacco exposure, chronic hypertension and pregestational diabetes.

"Our results showed that women with a combination of fibroids and fetal growth restriction were at two-and-a-half times the risk of having a stillbirth, though the absolute risk remained rare," study co-author Dr. Alison G. Cahill said in the news release. "This may lead to a future recommendation for serial growth scans to monitor fetal growth in women with fibroids."

The study was to be presented Saturday at the annual meeting of the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine in Chicago.

More information

The U.S. National Women's Health Information Center has more about uterine fibroids.

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