Pregnancy is a cherished time for any woman – A time after which they elevate to the status of motherhood. There is significant planning that needs to be done, and questions pop up right from the beginning. Will I have morning sickness? Should the delivery be C-Section or natural birth? The questions take a slight shift when you have Rheumatology arthritis. Will my disease or the medications that I’m having negatively affect the health and wellbeing of the growing baby? Will the disease worsen? Would having Rheumatoid arthritis severely affect my delivery? Will I be able to do anything about it?
There is no doubt, that this may be a trying time for a mother who has Rheumatoid arthritis, and the questions of whether this ailment would prevent her from harboring, nourishing and caring for the expected baby in every shape and form. However, surprisingly there is a light at the end of the tunnel. For some women, surprisingly the situation turns around during the term of the pregnancy. It is approximated that roughly 70% of the women with Rheumatoid arthritis experience vastly improved symptoms by the time they reach their second trimester and this can last well into post-delivery (6 weeks).
There have been numerous studies to document and learn from this phenomenon, and it is believed that the effect is due to the increased anti-inflammatory cytokine levels and the sudden hormonal changes that occur throughout the term of pregnancy. It is believed that women who are negative for a certain Rheumatoid facto and a specific type of antibody that is called the anti-CCP, for them there is a higher likelihood for improvement during pregnancy. Not just that, but there is more! Research also has been able to conclude that the higher the genetic contribution from the father side of the expecting baby, then better is the outlook for the mother’s disease activity. However, this bliss of pain-free postpartum fades into the distance quite quickly.
After delivery, the body is weakened to a degree, and if you have experienced milder diseases during your pregnancy, then the chances for the disease to get worse become higher. This is at least the case right after delivery. There was a study conducted in Holland, which showed that around 39% of the test group has at least one moderate flare-up during the postpartum. It is advised that the expectant mother take a trip to the doc, to get the right rheumatic pain treatment that will help both you and more importantly your baby!