Rheumatoid Arthritis and Pregnancy

Dr Jason Kur, MD, FRCPC, ABIM, discusses Rheumatoid Arthritis and Pregnancy

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Dr Jason Kur, MD, FRCPC, ABIM, discusses Rheumatoid Arthritis and Pregnancy
Video transcript

Dr. Jason Kur, MD, FRCPC, ABIM
Rheumatoid Arthritis and Pregnancy
Duration: 1 minute, 48 seconds

So, first of all rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that attacks the joints and causes pain and inflammation.  

But, rheumatoid arthritis also affects other parts of the body. And because rheumatoid arthritis often attacks young women in their childbearing years, it is really important to have discussions about your pregnancy issues with your doctor before you get pregnant.

There are some very important considerations with pregnancy. If you do have rheumatoid arthritis and are on medications, some of those medications are unsafe in pregnancy and as a result, you need to talk to your doctor about those medicines.

They may need to be stopped a certain amount of time before conception in order that it is safe for both you and the baby. Fortunately, most women with rheumatoid arthritis find that their joint symptoms improve during pregnancy so they often don’t need a lot of treatment.  

However, after pregnancy when women give birth, women are at high risk for having flares of their arthritis. Up to 90 percent of women report that their joint symptoms worsen in the immediate period after giving birth and as a result, that is a very important time to notify your doctor about any new joint symptoms that you are having, because you will want to have them treated as urgently as possible.

The other important area with pregnancy is to have discussions about breastfeeding. Many of the medications that are considered unsafe in pregnancy in rheumatoid arthritis are also unsafe with breastfeeding, so it is very important to have that discussion with your family doctor.

Finally, pregnancy and rheumatoid arthritis should be something planned and something discussed with your rheumatologist in order to ensure the best possible outcome for both you and your baby.  

Presenter: Dr. Jason Kur, Rheumatologist, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Rheumatologist

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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