Sjogren’s and Pregnancy | Arthritis Foundatiomn

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There is no evidence that having Sjӧgren’s will affect your ability to get pregnant, so it’s important to practice effective birth control until you decide the time is right for you to have a child.

Ideally, you should discuss family planning issues with your rheumatologist early on, not just when you’ve decided you would like to start trying to have a baby, says Dr. Sammaritano.

Effects of medications on baby: Planning will always involve a discussion of which medications you can and can’t safely continue during pregnancy and finding alternatives for those you can’t. Planning will allow you and your rheumatologist to make sure disease activity is low while you’re on pregnancy-compatible medications, says Dr. Sammaritano. “This process can take some time since changing a medication means giving it several months to make sure that it is working and that it does not cause side effects,” she says.

Effects of Sjӧgren’s on baby: Planning should also include an evaluation of factors that could make pregnancy riskier for you and your unborn baby, including the presence of two autoantibodies, anti-Ro (SSA) and/or anti-La (SSB), which are common in Sjӧgren’s. In rare cases, the antibodies are associated with congenital heart block, an abnormality of the rate or rhythm of the baby’s heart, which can begin in the womb.

Because of the increased risks that can come with Sjӧgren’s, it will be important to see a high-risk OB/GYN as well as your rheumatologist. You may be also need to see doctors to monitor and manage other aspects of your disease.

Passing on Sjӧgren’s: There is a genetic component to autoimmune diseases, such as Sjӧgren’s. While there’s a possibility that your child may develop Sjӧgren’s or another autoimmune disease, it’s important to remember that many women with autoimmune diseases have healthy babies who don’t develop Sjӧgren’s or any other type of autoimmune disease.

Effect of pregnancy on Sjogren’s: For many women, Sjӧgren’s worsens during pregnancy and/or after delivery. This makes it important to not only see your rheumatologist regularly but to also to plan for extra help after the baby comes.

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