Rheumatoid arthritis: Does pregnancy affect symptoms?

Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms often subside during pregnancy.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Many women with rheumatoid arthritis, a disorder in which your immune system mistakenly attacks your body's tissues, report improvement in their symptoms during pregnancy. Many also report a flare-up of symptoms after childbirth, usually within the first three months.

Researchers are studying why these changes occur. Because women are more likely than men to develop rheumatoid arthritis, one theory is that female sex hormones, estrogen and progesterone, play a role.

But women who take medications containing estrogen — as part of their oral contraceptive or hormone replacement therapy for menopause — usually don't have any change in their rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.

During pregnancy, the mother's immune system changes to prevent the rejection of the fetus. Researchers are studying whether these changes might be connected to an improvement in rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.

May 20, 2020 See more In-depth

See also

  1. 3D Printer Helps Hip
  2. 6 tips to manage rheumatoid arthritis symptoms
  3. C-reactive protein test
  4. Do infrared saunas have any health benefits?
  5. Does stress make rheumatoid arthritis worse?
  6. Ease rheumatoid arthritis pain when grocery shopping
  7. Elbow Replacement
  8. Elbow replacement surgery
  9. Fatigue
  10. Hip replacement
  11. Hip resurfacing: An alternative to conventional hip replacement?
  12. Hip Surgery Overview
  13. Hockey Coach Gets Hip
  14. How do I reduce fatigue from rheumatoid arthritis?
  15. Is depression a factor in rheumatoid arthritis?
  16. Isometric exercise
  17. Joint pain
  18. Joint pain: Rheumatoid arthritis or parvovirus?
  19. Joint replacement
  20. Knee replacement
  21. Living better with rheumatoid arthritis
  22. Mangosteen juice: Can it relieve arthritis pain?
  23. MRI
  24. Osteoporosis and long-term prednisone: What is the risk?
  25. Palindromic rheumatism: Precursor to rheumatoid arthritis?
  26. Physical therapy
  27. Prednisone risks, benefits
  28. Prednisone withdrawal: Why taper down slowly?
  29. Protect your joints while housecleaning
  30. Rethinking Rheumatoid Arthritis
  31. Rheumatoid arthritis
  32. Rheumatoid Arthritis
  33. Rheumatoid arthritis and exercise
  34. Rheumatoid arthritis: Vaccines
  35. Rheumatoid arthritis diet
  36. Rheumatoid arthritis: Can it affect the eyes?
  37. Rheumatoid arthritis: Can it affect the lungs?
  38. Rheumatoid arthritis medications: Dangerous during pregnancy?
  39. Rheumatoid arthritis pain: Tips for protecting your joints
  40. Rheumatoid factor
  41. Robotic-Arm Assisted Knee Resurfacing
  42. Sed rate (erythrocyte sedimentation rate)
  43. Seeing Inside the Heart with MRI
  44. Cane tips
  45. Joint protection
  46. Smoking and rheumatoid arthritis: What's the risk?
  47. Spinal fusion
  48. Stem Cells Get Hip
  49. Symptom Checker
  50. Tai chi
  51. Tips for coping with rheumatoid arthritis
  52. Tips to make your mornings easier
  53. Ultrasound
  54. Unexplained weight loss
  55. MRI
  56. Tai chi
  57. X-ray