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Rheumatology clinic

Pregnancy and rheumatoid arthritis: it’s not all doom and gloom

Claire Barrett, Laurel Young

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Abstract

Contrary to common belief, some medications to treat rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are safe to use during the preconception period, pregnancy and breastfeeding. As uncontrolled RA is associated with subfertility and poor outcomes for both mother and baby, management should be individualised, balancing risks of active disease against any medication-related risks.

Article Extract

Pregnancy is relatively common in women with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and poses unique management challenges. The reported prevalence of RA is 1 to 2 per 1000 women, which translates to an estimated 5000 to 10,000 Australian women of childbearing age with RA.1,2 The average birth rate in Australia of 65 per 1000 women gives an estimate of up to 1300 pregnancies in women with RA per year in Australia.

Picture credit: © Annebaek/iStockphoto.com. Model used for illustrative purposes only.

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