This guide aims to cover some of the common concerns that women with rheumatoid arthritis RA may have Hydroxychloroquine and low sperm count various pregnancy issues from conception, controlling disease during pregnancy through to the birth and breastfeeding. It is important to remember that while RA may affect your pregnancy and its outcome, pregnancy itself will also affect your RA.
In the past there were concerns that RA might affect the ability to conceive, but if the disease is well controlled, most women with RA can have an enjoyable and successful pregnancy. As with any normal pregnancy, planning ahead is important and you should discuss your plans as early as possible with your rheumatologist.
Following a healthy lifestyle will increase your chances of conceiving and reduce potential problems during pregnancy. The risk of foetal loss or genetic abnormalities for women with RA is not significantly greater than for any other pregnant women. All women who are pregnant or planning a baby should take folic acid supplements 0. Some of the drugs used to treat RA can be maintained while trying to conceive but several should be avoided as they are known to affect fertility.
Also some drugs may have to be stopped for a while before trying to conceive to ensure they are eliminated from the body, such as leflunomide which can remain in the body for up to 2 years. Guidance for doctors about the use of arthritis drugs during pregnancy Hydroxychloroquine and low sperm count been updated in by the British Society for Rheumatology and the advice below is in keeping with these guidelines. This temporary remission normally continues throughout the course of the pregnancy.
During the later stages of pregnancy, swelling, backaches and tiredness are common for many women regardless Hydroxychloroquine and low sperm count their RA status. In addition any animal studies that may have been carried out may not be applicable to humans. Although you may be concerned about the possible harmful effects of taking RA drugs while pregnant, it is important to remember that uncontrolled arthritis during pregnancy can also have adverse effects on your baby such as low birth weight.
Some of the concerns about the common drugs used to treat RA are listed below.
These drugs are considered safe to take while trying to conceive but the general advice is for women to avoid these drugs during the first trimester of pregnancy, as there is some evidence they may be associated with miscarriage. They are safe to take while breastfeeding and many women find them beneficial to treat any pain after childbirth i.
There is no good quality data about their safety during conception, pregnancy or breastfeeding. Therefore, it is advised that both men and women avoid these medications while trying to conceive and women continue to avoid during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.
However they have also been linked to premature rupture of membranes, increased risk of hypertension and increased risk of developing gestational diabetes where blood sugar levels are too high. Hydroxychloroquine This drug is commonly used to prevent malaria and there are no known increased risks of abnormalities in babies and it is not thought to affect your fertility.
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Sulfasalazine This drug has been used to control RA successfully in pregnancy although it has been linked to temporary infertility in men. Women should take folic acid alongside sulfasalazine while trying to conceive and throughout pregnancy.
Men may consider stopping sulfasalazine if their partners are struggling to conceive as it may reduce their fertility, but it is not recommended that all men stop this treatment unless there seems to be a problem with conception.