Women's health and fertility, family planning and pregnancy in immune-mediated rheumatic diseases: a report from a south-eastern European Expert Meeting

Clin Exp Rheumatol. Nov-Dec 2014;32(6):959-68. Epub 2014 Nov 7.


With current advances in medical treatment, reproductive issues have become more important for women with chronic immune-mediated diseases. Most, if not all, patients report that their disease affects their personal relationships, their decision to have children, and the size of their family. These decisions are multi-factorial, influenced mainly by concerns over the effect of pregnancy on the rheumatic disease, the impact of disease activity during pregnancy on foetal health, the patient's ability to care for the child, and the possible harmful effects medication could have on the child, both pre- and post-natally during breastfeeding. Apart from that, women's health issues tend to be overlooked in favour of the management of the underlying rheumatic disease. To this end, we convened an expert panel to review the published literature on women's health and reproductive issues and provide evidence- and eminence-based points to consider for the treating physicians. We conclude that there is a need for a change in mind-set from one which 'cautions against pregnancy' to one which 'embraces pregnancy' through the practice of individualised, pre- and post-conceptual, multi-disciplinary care.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Congresses as Topic
  • Family Planning Services* / methods
  • Female
  • Fertility Preservation
  • Fertility*
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / adverse effects
  • Infertility, Female / diagnosis
  • Infertility, Female / immunology
  • Infertility, Female / physiopathology
  • Infertility, Female / therapy*
  • Pregnancy
  • Reproductive Techniques, Assisted*
  • Rheumatic Diseases / complications*
  • Rheumatic Diseases / drug therapy
  • Rheumatic Diseases / immunology
  • Rheumatic Diseases / physiopathology
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Women's Health*


  • Immunosuppressive Agents