It has been confirmed that rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is more common in women. And among these sufferers, many of them are diagnosed at the ages of between 20s and 30s, the age of when most women are going to marriage. Will RA go away or even go into remission during pregnancy?
Since RA and some of its treatment can affect pregnancy, there are some important checklists you need to concern before you get pregnant. Here are some FAQs and facts you need to know!
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Does RA affect your fertility or even cause infertility?
Many people with RA either men and women are more likely to take longer to get conception with their partners. But experts believe that this doesn’t mean RA can contribute to cause infertility.
RA can affect the way of how you to conceive, but it doesn’t cause infertility both in women and men. In fact, many sufferers are successful to have a baby.
However, having chronic inflammatory condition such as RA could affect the way of how intense you make intercourse with your partner. The pain and swelling joint may make you have decreased libido. The symptoms may make you stress or even depressed, too.
In women, acute flares of RA may affect the consistency of ovulation. And in men, the flares may cause temporarily decrease in sperm count and function!
All of these things can impair with the way of how you to conceive. The good news, if RA is controlled as well, the fertility in most sufferers should be normal.
Re-design your treatment plan!
“Once you and your partner are considering beginning a family, talk with your doctor! This is important since you need to stop taking certain RA medicines several months before trying to get pregnant!
For instance, the use of methotrexate should be discontinued for several months before conception because it might affect sperm problems, causing birth defect – though there is no conclusive evidence and this issue is still debatable.
Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide) and Arava (leflunomide) are other medicines for RA. They are commonly not recommended to be taken during pregnancy or maybe several weeks /months before conception – talk to your physician /doctor for more advice!
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Furthermore, it’s also important to talk with your doctor whether there are some supplements or prenatal vitamins you need to take before pregnant in order to decrease the risk of certain birth defects. For example, your doctor may also ask you to take vitamin D and calcium supplements.
You may also need to take iron supplements at the right dose. This is usually intended to help reduce the risk of anemia. In fact, RA could pose the risk of anemia, too – see more this issue in here!
Make sure that you are ready for your pregnancy!
Since some medicines for RA could pose the risk of pregnancy complications, just make sure your body is free from them before trying to conceive. Even certain medicines may remain in the body for a year or more after you stop taking them.
Meanwhile, you can use your birth control to delay your conception and prepare your body as healthy as possible for your healthy pregnancy!
In most cases, RA symptoms are more likely to improve during pregnancy. Even some go into remission naturally.
Unfortunately, there are still many sufferers who need RA medicines during pregnancy. About 40-50 percent of pregnant women with RA still need treatment to cope with their RA symptoms.
If you need to take treatment to control your RA, there are some treatment options you could take without harming your pregnancy. One of common choices could be the use of prednisone, a kind of steroid to reduce the risk of joint damage, ease the pain, and reduce inflammation.
The common side effect of prednisone is the risk of high blood pressure or hypertension. Therefore, you need to pay more attention to your blood pressure! Hypertension itself in pregnancy is something that should be concerned as well since it could pose the risk of preeclampsia if left untreated.
Other options for treating RA in pregnant women may be with the use of some NSAIDs such as naproxen or ibuprofen. The worst risk of these medicines usually comes later in pregnancy, typically when you get close to your due date or during delivery!
But overall, the prescription of each treatment for RA in pregnancy should outweigh the potent side effects. If your RA doesn’t go away in your pregnancy, work with your doctor to keep your pregnancy healthy and control your RA safely!
On the other hand, if your RA does improve or even go into remission during pregnancy, you may not need to take any treatment for RA or take a few treatments with low doses.
Most of pregnant women with RA (about 70 percent) find that their joint disorder improves significantly in the early weeks of their second trimester. And then typically, this lasts until several weeks (about 6 weeks) after giving birth.
The reason of why RA improves or even goes into remission in many pregnant women is not fully understood yet. But the following are some possible reasons: