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Even if a pregnancy is unexpected, there are resources in place to help new parents navigate life.Two recent studies have shown that women living with RA may lack credible and reliable information and resources for making decisions relating to reproductive health and/or family planning.The use of methotrexate doing pregnancy often increases the risk of miscarriage or birth defects. Clowse, MPH, a rheumatologist at Duke School of Medicine who led the research team on the latest studies, said that the findings of these studies show that, “Women with arthritis really worry about pregnancy and the impact that their disease and medications might have on their children.As far as contraception goes, a recent study showed that long-term birth control pill usage could help stave off RA symptoms — but it isn’t necessarily a cure-all. It is also clear that many of them aren’t informed about the current data and would benefit from better education and communication tools that specifically address these issues.Arthritis may not seem like a condition that would have any impact on family planning, but, in fact, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can warrant additional concerns among patients who are looking to get pregnant and start a family.While it is an oft-repeated adage that rheumatoid arthritis goes into remission during pregnancy, that isn’t always the case.
It tends to run in families and occurs more commonly in women than men (∼3:1 ratio). The course is variable, ranging from mild brief illness affecting a few joints with minimal damage, to a progressive polyarthritis that leads to pronounced functional impairment and deformity.
Unfortunately, with my youngest I flared during pregnancy and ended up on steroids to keep my symptoms at bay.” Carolyn Walker Smith of Pennsylvania told Healthline that she went into remission with both of her pregnancies, although her disease is active now and her children are grown.
And Danielle Pumlilia of Washington State told Healthline that “Most who have RA go into remission while pregnant.
Being off of these medications long term can have a negative impact on RA symptoms, particularly for those women who didn’t experience any remission or lessening of disease activity.
The Arthritis Foundation says it’s imperative that women with RA speak to their doctors before conception if a pregnancy is being planned.
Researchers from Duke University and Creaky Joints said that 59 percent of women with inflammatory arthritis surveyed had fewer children than they desired.