Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic, destructive, and sometimes deforming autoimmune disorder. It is an inflammatory disease that affects the connective tissue in the joints. Once again, the body interprets something in itself as foreign and tries to destroy it by causing a painful inflammatory response. While women with rheumatoid arthritis may experience a remission during pregnancy, this is almost always followed by a flare after delivery.
Most consider this acceptable even if it means they need stronger medications because of the joy of having the child. Not all women experience a lessening of symptoms during a pregnancy and these must deal with the disease as each trimester progresses. All pregnancies have some risk and need monitoring, but more monitoring is needed for women with arthritis. However, even those women who struggled with their arthritis during pregnancy still say it is worth it in the end.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) affects more than 2.5 million people in the United States, and like other autoimmune diseases, it disproportionately affects more women than men. Women with RA outnumber men three-to-one. Although children also can be affected, the onset of RA most commonly occurs in adults with increasing frequency at least into their 60s. Doctors don't know the exact cause of rheumatoid arthritis.
They know that with this arthritis, a person's immune system attacks his or her own body tissues. Researchers are learning many things about why and how this happens. Effect of RA on pregnancy Few studies address the effect of RA on pregnancy. Most women with RA have an uneventful course, with no significant complications. Maternal morbidity during pregnancy and labor in patients with RA is comparable to that of women without RA. However, some contradictory data also exist in the literature with regard to rate of spontaneous abortions and preeclampsia and preterm delivery among pregnant patients with RA.
In rare cases, normal vaginal delivery is not possible because of severe hip arthritis. If a caesarean section under general anesthesia is required, special precaution has to be taken about the atlanto-axis subluxation of the spine. If you look at the figures related to rheumatoid arthritis and pregnancy, you will find that though rheumatoid arthritis does affect only one to two percent women, rheumatoid arthritis and pregnancy is not as rare a condition as one might expect it to be and women who are at an age of reproduction are most likely to be affected. There have also been studies on the effects of rheumatoid arthritis on pregnancy, and it has been found that majority of women in the US having rheumatoid arthritis may be relatively unaffected by their pregnant condition and the maternal morbidity rates among women with rheumatoid arthritis and pregnancy are about the same as for those who have rheumatoid arthritis and are not pregnant. Diet: * A low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet with high-fiber content is recommended.
Fish oils in moderate quantities can be taken during pregnancy. * Over-the-counter herbal remedies are best avoided. * Calcium supplementation is recommended to prevent osteoporosis.
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