What you need to know about arthritis during Pregnancy
Women with arthritis commonly think twice about getting pregnant because of increased health concerns. But those with arthritis are generally not exposed to more risks as commonly believed.
Here are some facts you need to know about pregnancy and arthritis:
The added weight of carrying a child can add pressure to the joints of women. Those with arthritis may feel increased numbness and stiffness on the knees, ankles, hips and feet. Those with the auto-immune ailment rheumatoid arthritis additionally experience exhaustion. But these go away once the baby is born.
Medications can help treat arthritis during pregnancy. But always consult with your doctor before getting supplements or over-the-counter drugs.
Taking medications may last even after the baby is born. Some changes may also be made if you are breastfeeding.
Keeping a strict diet and supplements as advised by your doctor will make eating more bearable and will help in the baby’s development. Low-intensity exercises like walking and swimming can also help ease pressure in the joints and promote flexibility and muscle strength.
When in pain…
Here are some safe tips you can try to help relieve joint pain and stiffness:
- Hot or cold packs can bring primary relief to the joints
- Rest your joints. Relieve strain on knees and ankles by resting with your feet propped up on cushions
- Sleep eight hours a day
- Do deep breathing and relaxation techniques
- Avoid slouching and maintain your posture to balance the weight around your body
- Choose comfortable shoes
- When having back pains ask your doctor to recommend a more comfortable alternative position
Know the risks
It is important for mums with arthritis to know the special risks involved when carrying a child. Those with rheumatoid arthritis, for example, experience more conditions than others. Preeclampsia or the increase in blood pressure is a serious condition that needs to be monitored by an expert. Women with rheumatoid arthritis are also more likely to give birth through Caesarian section.
Remissions and post-partum symptoms
Studies point to the fact that some women experience remission (lessening) of symptoms and pains connected to rheumatoid arthritis when they are pregnant.
Meanwhile, some women experience heightened symptoms of arthritis after they have given birth. Sometimes this is triggered when anti-arthritis medications have been stopped after birth. Changes in exercise and activities may have also triggered this. Consult your doctor to find out the possible reason behind post-partum symptoms.