Ask Our Experts

Got Questions? We've got answers from experts and parents who've been there.

Will rheumatoid athritis affect my baby?

I have rheumatoid arthritis. Will this affect my pregnancy or baby?
Submitted by American Baby Team

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a disease in which the immune system mistakenly attacks your joints, causing them to become warm, swollen, red, and very painful; it affects up to one in 1,000 pregnant women every year. The good news is that women with RA are just as likely to have healthy babies as anyone else.

What's more, about 75 percent of women with RA actually find that their symptoms improve during pregnancy, although for others, the additional weight and typical pregnancy aches and pains may worsen the pain. Some women with RA may not need any medications during pregnancy, but if you do, there are many safe options. Your doctor will likely suggest acetaminophen (Tylenol) or anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen and naproxen (but these can only be used early in pregnancy, since later on they increase your baby's risk of developing a heart problem). If these don't help, you may be able to take a steroid, like prednisone, to ease swelling. Many women also swear by natural remedies like massage, ice packs, or warm baths (no hot tubs, though -- too much heat can be dangerous for your baby).

RA does not usually interfere with labor and delivery, and your doctor or nurse will be able to guide you into comfortable labor positions that work around any joint limitations you may have.

A few months after baby's birth, however, your RA symptoms are likely to flare up again. If you're breastfeeding, talk to your pediatrician about which medications are safe for your baby. It's also a good idea to have some help at home during this time, since caring for a newborn can be quite exhausting for any new mom, let alone those with chronic health conditions.

The answers from our experts are for educational purposes only. Please always refer to your child's pediatrician and mental health expert for more in-depth advice.

Community Answers3

Answer this Question
Enter an Answer to this Question

500 characters left

RA and Fibro run in my family and I was diagnosed with it during my current pregnancy.... I can say that it drastically effected my pregnancy, negatively.... It's only gotten worse.. This is my second pregnancy and it has been painful, exhausting, and terrible. The only med the doctors will give me are 5mg of Flexeril twice a day as well.... good luck to you
Submitted by kassandraallis1
I have fibromyalgia...I know that this is different, but the doctors couldn't tell me if it would get better or worse....IT GOT BETTER!!!! Many people said that it usually never gets better, but it did. Just a little hope that maybe yours will get better while your pregnant.
Submitted by scatteredbones6