Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition commonly found in women that causes pain in the muscles and soft tissues of the body. Many sufferers feel weak from fatigue, and the condition, at its worst, can lead to disability.
"Until now, there was only anecdotal evidence suggesting that women with FM had a rougher time during pregnancy," said Schaefer. "This data is the first step toward gathering hard evidence of FM effects on this group and will hopefully help us identify ways to reduce the impact of fibromyalgia during pregnancy."
For this study, Schaefer recruited pregnant women with and without FM through an Internet announcement on a fibromyalgia Web site. Study subjects were between the ages of 29 and 31, in their third trimester, with no history of stillbirth and free of chronic illnesses other than FM.
The women were then mailed a questionnaire about fatigue, depression, pain and ability to function. A demographic form was also used to assess the number of painful areas in the body as well as age, marital status, education, hours slept and use of medication.
Schaefer's results revealed that the pregnant women with fibromyalgia had a hard time functioning, felt more stiff and tired, and experienced pain in more body areas than women without FM.
"Most women with FM have trouble getting this condition properly diagnosed, let alone knowing where to turn for help once their condition
Contact: Tory Harris