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How Rheumatoid Arthritis Affects Pregnancy

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What Pregnant Women With RA Need to Know continued...

Prenatal vitamins and steroids. Taking a good prenatal vitamin is essential for all pregnant women. But when you take prednisone your risk of bone loss increases, so you may need more calcium and vitamin D (which you need to absorb calcium) than is found in a prenatal vitamin. Talk with your obstetrician or rheumatologist to make sure you are getting enough of these two nutrients.

Safe fish oil supplements. If you take fish oil to fight inflammation, check with your doctor to make sure you take supplements that are mercury free and won't harm your baby.

Risks of gum disease. Research has shown that people with RA are more than twice as likely to have gum disease, and gum disease has been associated with preterm labor. So see your dentist for regular cleanings.

Dealing With RA Flares After Your Baby Arrives

Many women go into remission during pregnancy and continue to do well after their baby is born. Other women find that their RA symptoms flare in the months after delivering their baby. Flares are a particular concern for women who are breastfeeding since medicines travel through breast milk to your baby.

If you're breastfeeding, you may not be able to take the same medicines that you took before you were pregnant, such as methotrexate and biologics. You can safely take certain medicines to help calm inflamed joints during a postpartum flare. If pain and inflammation become too much, talk with your doctor about your options.

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Reviewed on September 02, 2014

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