In a nutshell
This study investigated the level of disease activity following pregnancy in patients with juvenile arthritis.
They found that disease activity was stable overall during the pregnancy and 12 months after delivery.
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is a condition that affects children aged under 18 and can persist into adulthood. The cause is unknown, or idiopathic, and symptoms include painful, swollen joints. JIA affects twice as many girls as boys.
The effects of pregnancy on disease activity in JIA is unknown. Adult women that suffer from a similar condition, rheumatoid arthritis, can enter disease remission during pregnancy. Remission describes a state where symptoms are mild or non-existent.
Methods & findings
This study investigated the effects of pregnancy on disease activity in patients with JIA.
This study included data from 114 women with JIA. Patients were assessed for disease activity by a rheumatologist. Disease activity was measured by the number of involved joints and protein levels in the blood. Following the end of the pregnancy, patients were also monitored for up to 1 year post-partum (birth). Patients were also asked to complete self-assessment questionnaires.
80% of patients with JIA were in low or stable disease activity state during the pregnancy. At 6 weeks post-partum patients had higher disease activity compared to the third trimester. Physical function was significantly lower in the third trimester of pregnancy compared to 6 weeks post-partum. Patients reported improved mental health 6 weeks post-partum compared to pre-pregnancy and the first trimester.
The bottom line
This study concluded that disease activity was stable overall during the pregnancy and 12 months after delivery.
The fine print
Only 35% of women were recruited to the study before conception, so the measurement of disease activity pre-pregnancy could not be established for all patients. Many women stopped taking medication to treat arthritis during the pregnancy so we cannot rule out beneficial effects of pregnancy on disease activity.
If you have any concerns regarding arthritis treatment and pregnancy, please discuss with your physician.
Published By :
The Journal of Rheumatology
Dec 01, 2017
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