Rheumatic Diseases in Pregnancy

Women with rheumatic diseases or conditions can face unique challenges during pregnancy and are often at greater risk for pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia, preterm delivery and low birthweight infants.

Additionally, many of the medications traditionally used to treat rheumatic disease are contraindicated during pregnancy.

At Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), we provide highly specialized care for women with rheumatic diseases before, during, and after pregnancy.

Causes and Risk Factors

Rheumatic diseases that put a potential mother and baby at high-risk can include:

Symptoms

While the symptoms of some rheumatic diseases, such as RA, may improve during pregnancy, other disorders, such as systemic lupus erythematosus, are more likely to flare. Moreover, pregnancy itself can cause symptoms of joint pain and fatigue that mimic rheumatologic disorders. 

Diagnosis

For women with pre-existing rheumatic disease, planning with the medical team should begin before conception in order to understand how to best manage these conditions during pregnancy.

If you have never been diagnosed with a rheumatic disease and start experiencing symptoms while pregnant or planning to conceive, it is important to get an evaluation with a rheumatologist or maternal-fetal medicine specialist as soon as possible to reduce the chance of experiencing pregnancy complications.

Treatment

At Brigham and Women’s Hospital, experts in maternal-fetal medicine and rheumatology have formed an innovative collaboration to provide advanced, highly specialized care for women with rheumatic diseases before, during, and after pregnancy. In addition to maternal-fetal medicine specialists and rheumatologists, our multidisciplinary team includes nephrologists, anesthesiologists, specialized nurses, and social workers – all dedicated to delivering the highest level of care for both the mother and her baby.

Learn more about our program in Pregnancy and Rheumatology.

Contact Us 

To learn more about our services or to make an appointment with a Brigham and Women’s Hospital rheumatologist, contact one of our trained coordinators at 1-800-294-9999 to get connected with the best doctor for your needs.

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