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Preconception Planning May Improve Fertility in Women With Rheumatoid Arthritis

When planning for a family, women with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have a number of health concerns that interfere with their ability to become pregnant. However, a research team in Rotterdam, The Netherlands uncovered a few strategies for improving fertility and lowering the time to conception for men and women hoping to have a baby. According to the study, while the symptoms of RA can make the road to conception difficult, planning ahead and adjusting RA treatment well before trying to become pregnant can make a huge difference. Beverly Hills rheumatologist Susan Baker, MD, discusses the possible connection between these conditions and what routes patients can take in improving their health.

“Typically, women with rheumatoid arthritis have a harder time becoming pregnant than other women. It can take well over twelve months of trying for some women,” said Dr. Susan Baker, rheumatologist and internal medicine specialist. “However, the prolonged time to pregnancy is often a result of the medications that women with RA take to manage their symptoms.”

What are the Risks?

According to a study from The Netherlands, medications, such as prednisone and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which are commonly prescribed to alleviate the symptoms of RA are actually linked to infertility and prolonged time to pregnancy. The researchers found that women who modified their treatment by reducing their dosages had shorter time to pregnancy than women who continued the same treatment.

“It’s incredibly important for women hoping to start a family to work closely with their rheumatologist before making any adjustments to their RA treatment,” added Dr. Baker. “Every patient is unique and reducing medication dosages or stopping medications altogether should be managed by an experienced doctor to ensure that the patient is healthy and safe.”

Preventing Infertility Issues

Through rheumatology treatments that are tailored to treat a wide variety of conditions according to each patient’s unique conditions and needs, Dr. Baker has helped numerous people find needed relief and improved everyday health.

“There is no single path to health and recovery from rheumatoid arthritis,” said Dr. Baker. “But with an attention to each person’s individual needs, a healthier and happier everyday life that allows for a growing family is possible today.”

Read more about family planning and rheumatoid arthritis at nccih.nih.gov

Schedule a Consultation with an LA Rheumatologist

Dr. Susan Baker is board-certified in both internal medicine and rheumatology. She has been providing exceptional and personalized care from her Beverly Hills facility since 2003. She is also a teacher and clinical instructor at Cedars Sinai Hospital and UCLA, David Geffen School of Medicine, respectively.

To learn more about Susan A. Baker MD, Rheumatology & Internal Medicine, please contact us online or call (310) 274-7770.

Next, here are some tips for alleviating chronic rheumatoid arthritis pain

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