Breast-feeding and postpartum relapse in women with rheumatoid and inflammatory arthritis

Arthritis Rheum. 2000 May;43(5):1010-5. doi: 10.1002/1529-0131(200005)43:5<1010::AID-ANR8>3.0.CO;2-O.


Objective: To test the hypothesis that breast-feeding increases the risk of postpartum flare in inflammatory polyarthritis.

Methods: We compared disease activity during pregnancy and at 6 months postpartum among 49 non-breast-feeders, 38 first-time breast-feeders, and 50 repeat breast-feeders.

Results: After we adjusted for possible confounders, including treatment, first-time breast-feeders had increased disease activity 6 months postpartum, based on self-reported symptoms, joint counts, and C-reactive protein levels.

Conclusion: Postpartum flare may be induced by breast-feeding.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antirheumatic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / etiology*
  • Breast Feeding / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Puerperal Disorders / etiology*
  • Time Factors


  • Antirheumatic Agents