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Arthritis, Pregnancy & Parenthood

Arthritis, Pregnancy & Parenthood

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By Dr Irwin Lim, Rheumatologist

Just completed this book. It arrived the day before my holiday, courtesy of author, Suzie Edward May.

Suzie has lived with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) for 12 years. She's a qualified lawyer and social welfare officer, and has been an active patient advocate.

Suzie was on a cocktail of medications, including Methotrexate, Prednisone and a TNF-inhibitor, when she decided to have a baby.

This decision to become a parent is a difficult one for people who suffer with chronic arthritis, such as RA. It carries many implications.

It's something my rheumatology colleagues and I would spend a lot of time talking about & planning. And yet, that time we spend is so inadequate. It's something I was never taught and something I'm sure I can learn to discuss better.

Suzie gave birth to her son in 2007. It was a difficult journey from decision to pregnancy to early parenthood.

She discusses these openly and I am sure this book will help the many chronic arthritis sufferers who are prospective parents.

Topics which are handled honestly and practically include:

  • The decision to have a baby
  • Stopping or reducing medications and what this will mean
  • What happens to the arthritis during the pregnancy
  • The post-birth RA flare
  • Breastfeeding vs Weaning to formula feeds early
  • How this process will affect your relationship with others, especially your partner.

I think it's important for prospective parents to try and understand the impact the process will have on their lives, especially when they are living with a disease like rheumatoid arthritis.

This book "Arthritis, Pregnancy and the path to parenthood" is a valuable resource and one I will be recommending to my patients. You can order it here - www.suzieedwardmay.com

What are your experiences with pregnancy while living with arthritis? I'd also like to hear the experiences of doctors reading this.

Dr Irwin Lim is a rheumatologist and a director of BJC Health. You should follow him on twitter here.
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