Pregnancy and rheumatoid arthritis

Rheum Dis Clin North Am. 1997 Feb;23(1):195-212. doi: 10.1016/s0889-857x(05)70323-9.


Amelioration of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) occurs in about three quarters of pregnancies. Most women who improve experience initial relief in the first trimester. RA almost invariably recurs within 3 to 4 months of delivery. The effect of pregnancy upon the risk of first developing RA is similar in some respects but also differs from that observed in women with established disease. Analogous to women with established disease, the chance of a woman first developing RA is significantly reduced during pregnancy but increased in the first year post partum; thereafter risk is decreased. There is no indication of any adverse effects of RA on pregnancy outcome. Although limited, some medications can be used during pregnancy and during lactation without jeopardizing the well-being of the fetus.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis, Juvenile
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid* / diagnosis
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid* / drug therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications* / diagnosis
  • Pregnancy Complications* / therapy
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Prognosis
  • Puerperal Disorders