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Rheumatoid Arthritis and Pregnancy

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I’ve received many letters and requests for a post about Rheumatoid Arthritis and pregnancy. Here it is – our long-awaited first post on RA and pregnancy.  I look forward to hearing many of your experiences which will be helpful to others as they look for answers in the months to come.

The decisions of Rheumatoid Arthritis and pregnancy

Pregnancy remissions of RA are very common, but a woman living with RA has some complex decisions to make regarding pregnancy. Can she safely carry a baby? How will the pregnancy affect her RA? Will she be able to care of a baby? What RA medicines can she take while pregnant? Where can she turn for answers?

Medicines for Rheumatoid Arthritis with pregnancy

This is not like cheesecake– there is no recipe. Like many decisions related to Rheumatoid Arthritis and pregnancy, considering medicines involves judgment calls. The best thing to do is to get as much information as possible and find two specialists that you can trust – one for Rheumatoid Arthritis and another for higher risk pregnancies.

Some medicines are considered safe during pregnancy (see the links at the end of this post). Several RA medicines are out of the question such as methotrexate and Leflunomide because they can lead to abortion or birth defects. Other RA medicines are considered acceptable only at certain doses or during certain trimesters, such as prednisone or ibuprophen. Other RA medicines, like Enbrel and Humira, have not been sufficiently tested to be given a specific rating for pregnancy by the US FDA. However, initial data looks promising. (See OTIS link below.) Several readers of this blog have commented that they have used them safely during pregnancy. Here is a Medscape detailed discussion of RA medicines and pregnancy.

Newest research on Rheumatoid Arthritis and pregnancy

A new report, “Management of rheumatic diseases during pregnancy,” by Doctors Amy B. Elliott and Eliza F. Chakravarty explores “concerns regarding medication use, changes in disease activity during pregnancy, safety of lactation, and future ability to care for a child given the presence of chronic illnesses.” It’s written for doctors and medical students, but if you are doing research, it could be useful. The free abstract describing the report can be read at this link (the full report is locked on several medical sites). But guess what I found? Amazon has the Kindle version of the whole report on Rheumatoid Arthritis and pregnancy for $1.99 at this link!

Valuable resources for Rheumatoid Arthritis and pregnancy

Recommended reading:

NOTE: Your comments are an important resource for future readers of this post in the months to come. Please find the comment link below each post.

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Kelly Young. All rights reserved.

This entry was posted on Thursday, June 3rd, 2010 at 7:08 am and is filed under RA Education. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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