What women with arthritis should know about pregnancy

Although arthritis can have an impact on pregnancy, most women are able to have a pregnancy that is safe and healthy for both mom and baby. The key is to work closely with your healthcare team, including both your OBGYN and arthritis-care provider, to monitor both your pregnancy and your arthritis throughout. Here is what you need to know about pregnancy and arthritis.

The impacts of arthritis on pregnancy vary.
Your type of arthritis will influence the impact you experience during pregnancy. For example, rheumatoid arthritis often goes into remission during pregnancy then flares up soon after birth. Lupus may flare up during pregnancy, and osteoarthritis pain can be exacerbated by pregnancy weight gain.

Talk to your physician about the impacts you should expect during your pregnancy, so that you can vigilant about your symptoms. You may wish to see a high-risk OBGYN who is accustomed to treating expectant mothers who have chronic health conditions.

You may need to adjust your medications.
Many medications for arthritis are not safe to take during pregnancy, but some, including some immunosuppressants taken for inflammatory arthritis, may be acceptable for you and your baby.

Don’t stop taking any of your medications without talking to your physician. He or she will weigh the risk of stopping medicines with the risks to your pregnancy and help you find a treatment plan that is safe and that controls your arthritis symptoms.

You will need a plan for post-delivery.
As you make plans for managing your arthritis during your pregnancy, don’t forget to plan for the period after you give birth. As your body adjusts to not being pregnant, your arthritis may be prone to flare-ups. Arthritis symptoms can also make it difficult to care for your baby.

Plan to have as much help as you can in the period after giving birth, so you can get the rest you need. Talk to your physician about when you can restart your usual medical plan, particularly if you are breastfeeding.

The birthing center and women’s health teams at Good Samaritan Hospital help mothers have the healthiest pregnancy, labor, and delivery possible, with full support at every stage. Find out why so many families in San Jose choose our hospital to give birth and get a referral to a doctor by calling (888) 724-2362.

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