Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a chronic autoimmune inflammatory disease of synovial joints, can lead to chronic pain and structural joint damage, as well as other organ involvement, especially if not adequately controlled. Because it can affect women in their reproductive years, care of pregnant women with RA requires a delicate balance of maintaining disease control while limiting potential toxicity to the fetus and neonate. While most women experience a substantial improvement in disease activity during pregnancy, for some women their RA remains active. It can even manifest itself for the first time during pregnancy or early in the post-partum period. Optimizing disease control prior to conception is key, but utilizing disease-modifying treatments effectively and safely throughout pregnancy and lactation requires open dialogue and shared decision making. This review provides evidence-based recommendations for use of disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) and biologic response modifiers to guide rheumatologists in their care of pregnant and lactating women with RA and serves as a guide to counsel male patients with RA on family planning decisions.
- rheumatoid arthritis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine