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Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis Affect Birth Rates

Women With the Autoimmune Diseases Often Have Fewer Children Than Desired, Study Finds

Pregnancies Should Be Planned

New York rheumatologist Cynthia Aranow, MD, says young women with rheumatoid arthritis or lupus who are considering having children need to plan their pregnancies carefully.

Aranow is an investigator with the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research in Manhasset, New York.

Women with lupus, for example, can reduce their risk of having a miscarriage or a baby born prematurely by avoiding conception until their disease has been inactive for at least six months, Aranow tells WebMD.

And certain rheumatoid arthritis medications, such as the widely prescribed drug methotrexate, are not safe for use during pregnancy.

“There are relatively safe medications for both of these conditions that can be used during pregnancy,” Aranow says. “That is why pregnancy planning is crucial.”

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