Are you a woman living with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and considering getting pregnant? This condition may affect your journey to motherhood in several ways.
RedRiver Health and Wellness Center cites the things that you may experience as you try to conceive and after you get pregnant:
1. RA Can Make Conception Harder
Does rheumatoid arthritis reduce fertility? Experts give different answers to this question. However, women with RA, on average, take longer to get pregnant than women without RA.
Rheumatoid arthritis may reduce your sex drive. Pain and fatigue may also translate to less sex. RA may increase the chance of inconsistent ovulation as well. Accordingly, you may need patience as you try to conceive.
2. Fatigue May Worsen in the First Trimester
Almost all pregnant women experience fatigue. However, if you already had RA-related fatigue, the tiredness may worsen. Luckily, your pregnancy is unlikely to have any other major effect on arthritis during the first trimester.
3. Improvement in RA Symptoms During the Second Trimester
Like for 70% to 80% of pregnant women with RA, pregnancy may have a positive effect on your symptoms. Expect the improvement during your second trimester.
However, if you’re like the not-so-lucky one-quarter of women, RA symptoms may continue during pregnancy. If things get worse, call for immediate medical assistance.
4. Third Trimester Fatigue
Symptoms are likely to be mild through your third trimester if you had an uneventful first and second trimester. Still, you’re likely to experience more fatigue now that you’re heavier.
5. Doctors May Recommend Cesarean Section
Arthritis that affects the hips may complicate a vaginal delivery. Women with RA are, therefore, more likely to need a Cesarean section. Talk to your doctor about what to expect during labor and delivery.
Most women know they have rheumatoid arthritis when they’re in their 20s and 30s. The pain and fatigue, as well as the drug’s side effects, often make family planning for these women more complicated. If you have rheumatoid arthritis, talk to an RA care expert as soon as you are considering getting pregnant.