Health Questions and Answers

Question: How does pregnancy affect RA?


Signs and symptoms of RA subside in approximately 70% of women during pregnancy. No data suggest that RA has a detrimental effect on the fetus. However, arthritis should be assessed before pregnancy, if possible, because anesthesia and intubation can be problematic and even dangerous when cervical spine disease is present. Delivery also can be difficult if arthritis limits hip motion. Postpartum flares of disease occur in approximately 90% of women who experience improvement.

Stage I: early
No destructive changes on x-ray.
X-ray evidence of osteoporosis is acceptable.

Stage II: moderate
X-ray evidence of osteoporosis with or without slight subchondral bone destruction; slight cartilage destruction may be present.
No joint deformities, although joint mobility may be limited.
Adjacent muscle atrophy.
Extra-articular soft tissue lesions such as nodules or tenosynovitis may be present.

Stage III: severe
X-ray evidence of cartilage and bone destruction in addition to osteoporosis.
Joint deformity, such as subluxation, ulnar deviation, or hyperextension, without fibrosis or bony ankylosis.
Extra-articular soft tissue lesions such as nodules or tenosynovitis may be present.

Stage IV: terminal
Criteria of stage III.
Bony or fibrous ankylosis.

Griffin J: Rheumatoid arthritis: Biological effects and management. In Scott JS, Bird HA (eds): Pregnancy, Autoimmunity and Connective Tissue Disorders. Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1990, pp 140-162.

One Response to “Question: How does pregnancy affect RA?”

  1. Ida Mayr Says:

    An interesting discussion is worth comment. I think that you should write more on this topic, it might not be a taboo subject but generally people are not enough to speak on such topics. To the next. Cheers

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