Ovarian Cyst and Pregnancy

Updated on February 16, 2010
S.L. asks from Aptos, CA
11 answers

My friend miscarried her first pregnancy several months ago. When she went in for an ultrasound to see if the miscarriage was complete, they found a cyst on one of her ovaries. They explained to her that the type of cyst it looked like was usually benign and often resolve on their own, but that they'd have to follow up in January and, in the meantime, she shouldn't try to get pregnant again. Fast forward to now: she had another ultrasound last month, and the cyst is still there. She saw another doctor this week, who said it did, indeed, need to be removed and offered open abdominal surgery or laprascopic. The doc herself recommended open, but couldn't explain why well enough to make my cousin feel comfortable with choosing a more invasive procedure. She went home and made an appt with another doctor for next week to get a second opinion on open versus lap--only to then find out she is pregnant. She and her husband weren't trying to get pregnant, and they used protection, but she's pregnant. My question is: does anyone have any experience having an ovarian cyst and still continuing the pregnancy? My friend is concerned that it might not be a good idea to delay action on the cyst, but also does not want to terminate a pregnancy since they so badly want to start a family. She also fears that the cyst might be worse than any of her doctors are letting on, and worries that she might lose an ovary during surgery and further reduce her chances of getting pregnant--and then she will regret even more ending this pregnancy. Her heart is telling her to delay action. I guess I am just looking for some advice or insight from people who have been through this...

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answers from Sacramento on

Hi Sara!
My sister had a cyst on her ovary the size of a golfball, and was pregnant. Nothing happened, and when she had her c-section, they took it off. Eveything went well, and she had no problems. If it was me, I would wait and have it removed after the pregnancy.
Good luck!

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answers from Lynchburg on

Dear S.-

Certainly your friend needs to get clarification from her doctor from a medical perspective...and I am glad she is getting a second opinion.

With THAT said, I can share my personal experience...

My ex husband and I had tried to become pregnant since first married. Finally, just over a year later, we discovered that we were expecting. We were in germany at the time...and they routinely do ultra sounds over there during pre natal visits. On one of these ultra sounds, they discovered a cyst on my left ovary. We consulted with the american docs in stuttgart, and they wanted to go in and 'get' it while I was preggers. I chose not to do that...and continued care with the german docs who were inclined to take a 'wait til delivery' approach. They wanted it to be a 'planned' c section because of the cyst (and also because the baby was breech)...but the baby had other plans!! I went into a very quick labor, and our son was delivered by emergency c section a few weeks early! At that time they took my left ovary (which had a cyst the size of a grape fruit attached) and it turned out to be benign. The docs also could make no guarantee regarding future pregnancies.

Shortly after 'ryan's' birth, we came back to the states...

Ryan is almost 21...next brother is 19, a sister is 18, next brother is 16, next brother is 14...and the twins are 13!!!



Best of luck to your friend!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Gainesville on

The first thing I would do is make an appointment with a high risk maternal fetal specialist or even 2 for clarification and second opinions.



answers from Dallas on

When I was pregnant with my third child they discovered I had a large ovarian cyst during a routine ultrasound. There was never a discussion of terminating the pregnancy because of it. I think it is fairly common and with many women they either resolve themselves or when necessary they are removed. My cyst was a dermoid (there are different kinds so tell her to ask and do her research on the kind she has) and turned out to be benign (which most are) but because of its size (mine was softball size) my OB and perinatologist consulted and both agreed that I should have it removed around 14-16 weeks of pregnancy. They advised that I wait until after the first trimester to minimize risk of miscarriage but that I not go beyond 16 weeks because they would be working around the uterus and obviously the further along you are, the bigger the uterus is and the harder it becomes for them to not disturb it. I think they both agreed on the removal of mine during the pregnancy because of the size of mine. They both mentioned that it could continue to grow during the pregnancy and lead to pre-term labor or if it ruptured could lead to infection. I had a full surgery using my previous c-section incision with the only difference being that for the safety of the baby I was awake (only given a spinal) during the surgery. If it becomes necessary for her to have surgery to remove it I would suggest finding a very good anesthesiologist who can help keep her calm and relaxed during the surgery because it is really scary being cut open and fully aware of everything going on at the same time being worried about your baby. So I had mine removed and after the surgery had the same recovery that anyone else would have except for a couple of ultrasounds to check the baby and give me peace of mind. After 6 weeks for recovery I had an uneventful, full term pregnancy and had an almost 8 lb. healthy baby boy.



answers from San Francisco on

I had an ovarian cyst during a pregnancy nineteen years ago. At that time, I was told this was not unusual and that it would likely dissolve on it's own during the pregnancy. It did dissolve on its own, so there were no issues and the doctors were not concerned. They had told me, from what I remember, that somehow it is related to the pregnancy. Anyway, the main concern in those days with a cyst during pregnancy was the possibility of a ectopic pregnancy, if that was not the case they did not worry about it as far as the pregnancy.



answers from San Francisco on

I have had an ovarian cyst, but not while pregnant. I was going in for a "routine" exam when my doctor told me I had a cyst. I was 29 and engaged. The cyst was apparently the size of a golf ball. From what they tell me I should have been in a lot of pain with heavy cramping. I never experienced any form of discomfort. Had I not gone in for my yearly, I would have never known. So...with that said, long story short...they had to remove my left ovary. The doctor assured me that my right ovary would then kick into overdrive to compensate for the left one. It however did not mean that I would get a period every other month :(
Anyways I am now 43 and have 4 wonderful children ages 13, 12, 8 & 6. In between my last 2 I had 1 miscarriage. After my husband and I were married we knew we wanted kids right away. Needless to say our first child was a honeymoon baby. I don't exactly know the complications of a cyst during pregnancy. My guess is that if she can carry to term, they wiuld do a c-section and then remove the ovary. Again, I hve no expertise in OBGYN at all. I just know that you can get pregnant with only one ovary. I also had a laperoscopy to remove the cyst. Hope all this helps. Good luck.



answers from Sacramento on

I've never been in the situation, but my best friend had a cyst on her ovary when she was pregnant with her twins and everything turned out fine, cyst went away on it's own without surgery.
I also know 2 women who have had an ovary removed and both went on to have successful pregnancies (without any intervention/help getting pregnant).
GL to your friend!



answers from Denver on

Hi Sara - I really feel for your friend. I've been exactly in her situation.

First on the lap vs open surgery: I found that there are docs who feel more proficient in laproscopic surgeries than others. Some just prefer doing the open procedure. Lap is definitely better and offers easier recovery. She should look for an OB/Gyn that focuses on lap. -

On her pregnancy: I had an u/s done at 10 weeks and the tech found a 6-9mm dermoid cyst on one of my ovaries. A dermoid is a kind of cyst that doesnt resolve on it's own and can be cancerous or turn cancerous if left in for too long. They said it could have been there during my previous pregnancy as well but was small enough not to recognize it on u/s

The PA I saw didnt give me much info except that it looked like a dermoid. Apparently my OB found out I said I would look on the internet when I got home and called me right away to tell me not to freak out, there was no cause at all to terminate the pregnancy over a cyst, even one that can go bad. She explained that we would watch it during the pregnancy and that she would note to have another u/s done at 6 months. If the worst case happened and I did need surgery during pregnancy, it would not require terminating the baby. She said if I had to have a c-section delivery, she would remove it at the same time otherwise we would schedule surgery once my body normalized after pregnacy in 4-6 months. I delivered in April, had surgery in October and my pregnancy and delivery was actually very easy.

Whether or not your friend loses an ovary depends on the size and position of the cyst. Sometimes they get all wrapped up on the ovary.

I hope that helps give you some information. I think if she is pregnant with a baby that she and her husband have been trying so hard to have, she should do everything she can to protect her baby. The cyst is going to be there no matter what and is going to require treatment but she should find a doc who is willing to help her manage it until the baby is born and then offer surgery.



answers from Sheboygan on

My cousin also had this same thing happen with her - miscarriage and subsequent discovery of a cyst on her ovary. She became pregnant again within a few months, and the cyst had not resolved. At that point she was in so much pain that she opted to have the cyst removed laproscopically, even though she was pregnant. During the surgery, they discovered that they needed to remove her ovary. She was upset, thinking she might have a hard time conceiving again, but her pregnancy was successful, she has another baby, and is pregnant again.
Ultimately, this is your friend's decision. I am also pregnant now, and have an ovarian cyst. The cysts that I get generally resolve themselves within a month or so - rupture and then go away - and I have never had to have an aggressive treatment such as surgery. They can give a medication to help the cyst rupture (from what I've been told), but there are some pretty major precautions that go with it, and it may not be a good fit for your friend. I would suggest that she consult with a specialist....and take someone with her besides her husband to the appointment....someone who is slightly removed from the situation and that will remember to ask any questions that they want to ask. It is helpful to do it that way, as I have written ?'s down and still forgotten to ask them due to just plain being overwhelmed with what the dr. is telling me.
Good luck to you and your friend!



answers from San Francisco on

I also got a cyst when/while pregnant, and my ob said it's pretty common. Something to do with your hormones and everyone working in overdrive, and overtime! Everything is in 'create more' mode, more blood, more tissue, more everything. It went away eventually, after pregnancy, with no issues at all, and I had no issues at all during the pregnancy because of it either. I say leave things be for now... and try not to worry too much!
(I know, easier said than done.)

happy thoughts,



answers from Sacramento on

having gone through fertility treatments for 2 1/2 years..I would ask her to go see a fertility specialist..and see what that think.....being on fertility drugs it increases the size and growth of everything,.....and I'm a thinking they may have more knowledgeon the fact of an ovarian cyst that is still there/growing and has not been "shed".....I would go with laproscopic surgery..I had some fibroid tumors taken off hte wall of my uterous..ln the outside and it was very simple...it sounds to me that her doctor is not well versed in laproscopic surgeries.....where a fertility specialist does it allthe time?????

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