It’s no mystery that Black women have been hit the hardest by fibroids. According to recent research published in The International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics, Black women are diagnosed with fibroids roughly three times as frequently as white women. While some women don’t experience any symptoms, for many Black women, symptoms are significant and severe, ranging from extreme pain and bleeding, to fertility problems and pregnancy complications.
For Black women wanting children, the latter two symptoms could strike a major blow. Indeed, fibroids are present in 5-10 percent of patients with infertility. If you’re reading this, I’ll bet you, or someone you know has a personal story of fibroids and fertility problems. Perhaps, even fibroids and pregnancy loss. I certainly do.
My story starts in 2007 when I was pregnant with my first child. I was 27 at the time. I had announced my pregnancy at the 5-week mark, shortly after I got a positive test back. Like many young women, I was a bit naïve about my fertility and overall ability to carry a baby to term. I assumed most of it was under my control. Sure, I knew of women with infertility problems. I’d worked with many of them as both a healthy living coach and trainer.
I knew that many women experienced pregnancy loss. But, honestly, I was not at all concerned about my risk. I was healthy. I was an athlete. My eating habits were pristine. Neither infertility nor pregnancy loss were on my list of concerns.
I’ve always said, “I’m going to have two boys and a girl.” And, after a relatively healthy and happy first pregnancy, in September of that year I gave birth to a beautiful 9-pound, 6-ounce baby boy. I remember looking at my husband in the delivery room and saying, “Two more to go.”
Now, it was during this pregnancy that I was initially diagnosed with fibroids. An ultrasound showed a large one, about the size of a baseball just outside my uterus. Throughout the progression of my pregnancy it continued to grow, but I didn’t sweat it. My OB-GYN assured me that…