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Pregnancy and arthritis

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Planning for a baby

It’s important to get advice from your healthcare professional before you try for a baby, especially about any any drugs you may be taking. This is important for both men and woman who want to become parents.

It’s better to try while your arthritis is in a good phase so you can reduce the drugs you need to take. Your fertility isn’t likely to be affected by arthritis, but it may take longer for you to become pregnant. Read more >

What supplements should I take during pregnancy?

All women who want to have a baby should take a folic acid tablet (0.4 mg) every day from 3 months before conception until 12 weeks into the pregnancy. You should avoid supplements other than folic acid and iron unless you have a specific deficiency, such as a lack of vitamin D. If you’re taking steroids you may also be advised to take calcium and vitamin D tablets to help protect against osteoporosis.

Read more >

What are the chances of my child having arthritis?

The risk of passing most types of arthritis onto your children is small. As most forms are unlikely to be passed on from parent to child, this shouldn’t affect your decision to have children.

If you’re worried you may want to try genetic counselling, in which a trained counsellor will help you to assess the risks of passing a condition onto your child and give you the opportunity to discuss any worries you may have. Read more >

During the pregnancy

Pregnancy can have different effects on arthritis, depending on what condition you have. However, apart from lupus, most types of arthritis don’t harm the baby, increase the risk of problems during pregnancy or affect the delivery. You may need more detailed ultrasound scans throughout your pregnancy.

You should keep doing your exercises for as long as possible during your pregnancy. Read more >

How do blood tests help doctors to manage my pregnancy?

Blood and urine tests can help doctors to tell whether fatigue and joint pain are caused by the pregnancy or the arthritis. Special blood tests before you become pregnant or during the early stages can help doctors decide if you need special treatment.

Read more >

Lupus (SLE) and pregnancy

Most women with lupus should be able to have a baby if they want to, but it’s best to discuss your plans with your doctor before trying to get pregnant so that your treatment can be altered if need be. Always plan a pregnancy, where possible, at a time when your lupus is inactive and you’re taking minimal medication.

Some women with lupus do have a higher risk of complications during pregnancy, though most will have a successful pregnancy. You’ll be closely monitored, and your obstetric consultant will need to see you frequently in the antenatal clinic.

You should have a normal labour but there’s a risk of babies being smaller than usual when they’re born to mothers with lupus. If this happens, your baby may need to spend a few days in the newborn (neonatal) nursery.

Read more >

After the birth

You may find that you need extra help after your baby is born, so think about this before the birth and talk to your doctor if you need to. They’ll probably recommend going straight back on any medication you might have stopped during the pregnancy, except where the drugs would affect breastfeeding. Read more >

Drugs, pregnancy and breastfeeding

Before you try for a baby, you should think about the drugs that you (or your partner) are taking as some of these can affect the pregnancy or even harm an unborn baby. Some medications will need to be stopped before you try for a baby. With careful planning, it’s usually possible to change your treatments so that you have a safe pregnancy and a healthy baby.

Breastfeeding is best for your baby, so doctors and midwives will try very hard to keep you on drugs that won’t affect your baby through your milk. Read more >

Research and new developments in pregnancy and arthritis

Information from a biological therapies registry on patients who continue pregnancy and breastfeeding while taking these drugs will allow doctors to better determine their safety in these circumstances. Read more >
For more information, go to or call 0300 790 0400 to order the complete printed booklet.
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