Nav: Home

Rheumatoid arthritis in pregnancy associated with low birth weight and premature birth

June 14, 2018

The results of a study presented today at the Annual European Congress of Rheumatology (EULAR 2018) demonstrate that pregnancies in women with rheumatoid arthritis are associated with premature delivery and low birth weight.1

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects a person's joints, causing pain and disability. It can also affect internal organs. RA is more common in older people, but there is also a high prevalence in young adults, adolescents and even children, and it affects women more frequently than men.

It is well documented that during pregnancy many women with RA experience improvement in their symptoms.2 This is thought to be due to alterations in the body which suppress the immune system to stop the mother rejecting the foetus. However, the effect of RA in pregnant women on foetuses is less known.

"Our results add to a growing body of evidence from different populations suggesting small but significant increases in prematurity and a decrease in birth weight in pregnancies in mothers with rheumatoid arthritis," said Dr Yun-Chen Tsai, Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Taoyuan, Taiwan (study author). "While these findings are important, they should not discourage women with RA from trying to conceive."

Results of this study showed that babies born to women with RA were associated with an increased chance of low birthweighti (OR 1.65, 95% CI 1.37-1.98), prematurityii (OR 1.41, 95% CI 1.13-1.68), and being small for their gestational age (OR 1.62, 95% CI 1.36-1.92). Investigators also looked for potential risks to the mother but, apart from preterm labour, no associations were found. Investigated outcomes included birth-related death, cardiovascular complications, surgical complications and other systemic organ dysfunction.1

"Pregnancy in patients with rheumatoid arthritis is very complex as there are many factors clinicians and patients need to consider and limited data available," said Professor Robert Landewé, Chairperson of the Scientific Programme Committee, EULAR. "More information is needed to understand implications of the disease and treatments on both mother and foetus."

Investigators identified 845 women with single pregnancies who also had RA from over two million pregnancies within the Taiwan National Health Insurance database and birth registry between 2001 and 2012. Statistical analysis was conducted using an adjusted generalised estimating equation model to estimate the association between RA and pregnancy outcomes.1

Abstract number: OP0135
-end-
i Low birthweight defined as less than 2.5kg.
ii Premature birth defined as less than 37 weeks.

NOTES TO EDITORS

For further information on this study, or to request an interview with the study lead, please do not hesitate to contact the EULAR Press Office:

Email: eularpressoffice@ruderfinn.co.uk
Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7438 3084
Twitter: @EULAR_Press
YouTube: Eular Press Office

About Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Diseases

Rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs) are a diverse group of diseases that commonly affect the joints but can affect any organ of the body. There are more than 200 different RMDs, affecting both children and adults. They are usually caused by problems of the immune system, inflammation, infections or gradual deterioration of joints, muscle and bones. Many of these diseases are long term and worsen over time. They are typically painful and Iimit function. In severe cases, RMDs can result in significant disability, having a major impact on both quality of life and life expectancy.3

About 'Don't Delay, Connect Today!'

'Don't Delay, Connect Today!' is a EULAR initiative that unites the voices of its three pillars, patient (PARE) organisations, scientific member societies and health professional associations - as well as its international network - with the goal of highlighting the importance of early diagnosis and access to treatment. In the European Union alone, over 120 million people are currently living with a rheumatic disease (RMD), with many cases undetected.4 The 'Don't Delay, Connect Today!' campaign aims to highlight that early diagnosis of RMDs and access to treatment can prevent further damage, and also reduce the burden on individual life and society as a whole.

About EULAR

The European League against Rheumatism (EULAR) is the European umbrella organisation representing scientific societies, health professional associations and organisations for people with RMDs. EULAR aims to reduce the burden of RMDs on individuals and society and to improve the treatment, prevention and rehabilitation of RMDs. To this end, EULAR fosters excellence in education and research in the field of rheumatology. It promotes the translation of research advances into daily care and fights for the recognition of the needs of people with RMDs by the EU institutions through advocacy action.

To find out more about the activities of EULAR, visit: http://www.eular.org.

References

1 Tsai YC, Luo SF, Chiou MJ, et al. Foetal-neonatal and maternal outcomes in women with rheumatoid arthritis. EULAR 2018; Amsterdam: Abstract OP0135.

2 Chakravarty EF. Rheumatoid arthritis and pregnancy: where do we go from here? J Intern Med. 2010;268(4):309-11.

3 van der Heijde D, et al. Common language description of the term rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs) for use in communication with the lay public, healthcare providers and other stakeholders endorsed by the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) and the American College of Rheumatology (ACR). Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases. 2018;doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2017-212565. [Epub ahead of print].

4 EULAR. 10 things you should know about rheumatic diseases fact sheet. Available at: https://www.eular.org/myUploadData/files/10%20things%20on%20RD.pdf [Last accessed April 2018].

European League Against Rheumatism

Related Rheumatoid Arthritis Articles:

Study examines opioid use in patients with rheumatoid arthritis
A new analysis indicates that the use of opioid pain medications in older US rheumatoid arthritis patients peaked in 2010 and is now declining slightly.
Studies examine rheumatoid arthritis patients' prognosis
What's the long-term outlook for today's patients with early rheumatoid arthritis?
Obesity may influence rheumatoid arthritis blood tests
New research reveals that in women, obesity may influence blood tests used to diagnose and monitor rheumatoid arthritis.
New tool for prognosis and choice of therapy for rheumatoid arthritis
In rheumatoid arthritis, antibodies are formed that affect the inflammation in the joints.
The promise of precision medicine for rheumatoid arthritis
In a new study, a Yale-led research team identified the mechanism of a gene that raises the risk of severe rheumatoid arthritis in susceptible individuals.
Immunotherapy reduces cardiovascular risk in rheumatoid arthritis
Weight loss from bariatric surgery appears to reverse the premature aging associated with obesity, according to research presented today at Frontiers in CardioVascular Biology 2016.
Osteoarthritis just as severe as rheumatoid arthritis
Rheumatologists more likely to underestimate clinical status of their OA patients than their RA patients
Serotonin deficiency implicated in rheumatoid arthritis
For the first time, serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT) has been directly implicated in the pathophysiology of rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Link between mood, pain in rheumatoid arthritis patients
Depressive symptoms and mood in the moment may predict momentary pain among rheumatoid arthritis patients, according to Penn State researchers.
Inflammation in the mouth and joints in rheumatoid arthritis
Today at the 93rd General Session and Exhibition of the International Association for Dental Research, researcher Sheila Arvikar, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, USA, will present a study titled 'Inflammation in the Mouth and Joints in Rheumatoid Arthritis.' The IADR General Session is being held in conjunction with the 44th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Dental Research and the 39th Annual Meeting of the Canadian Association for Dental Research.

Related Rheumatoid Arthritis Reading:

Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis (A Johns Hopkins Press Health Book)
by Tammi L. Shlotzhauer MD (Author)

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which inflammation plays a major role in causing joint problems. Warmth and swelling in the joints, along with significant stiffness and pain, can make daily life difficult. Many people with rheumatoid arthritis also experience fatigue, low-grade fever, loss of appetite, depression, and muscle aches.

In this, the third edition of Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis, Tammi L. Shlotzhauer describes new findings about causes and treatments, including
• New research on risk factors and triggers, including pathologic bacteria in... View Details


The Autoimmune Solution: Prevent and Reverse the Full Spectrum of Inflammatory Symptoms and Diseases
by Amy Myers M.D. (Author)

Over 90 percent of the population suffers from inflammation or an autoimmune disorder. Until now, conventional medicine has said there is no cure. Minor irritations like rashes and runny noses are ignored, while chronic and debilitating diseases like Crohn's and rheumatoid arthritis are handled with a cocktail of toxic treatments that fail to address their root cause. But it doesn't have to be this way.

In The Autoimmune Solution, Dr. Amy Myers, a renowned leader in functional medicine, offers her medically proven approach to prevent a wide range of inflammatory-related... View Details


The Rheumatoid Arthritis Cookbook: Anti-Inflammatory Recipes to Fight Flares and Fatigue
by Caitlin Samson MSACN (Author)

“In The Rheumatoid Arthritis Cookbook, Caitlin skillfully guides you towards improved health with her all-encompassing program that includes valuable, researched information on RA, easy-to-follow meal plans, and delicious, wholesome recipes that will keep you nourished and satisfied.”
―Kate Hope, MS, CNS

If you are one of the 1.3 million people in the US living with rheumatoid arthritis, you’re all too familiar with joint pain, fatigue, and even depression. And if you’ve tried one-size-fits-all anti-inflammatory treatments, you may be disappointed in... View Details


The Immune System Recovery Plan: A Doctor's 4-Step Program to Treat Autoimmune Disease
by Susan Blum (Author), Mark Hyman (Foreword), Michele Bender (Foreword)

One of the most sought-after experts in the field of functional medicine shares her proven four-step program to treat, reverse, and prevent autoimmune conditions and repair your immune system.

• Are you constantly exhausted?
• Do you frequently feel sick?
• Are you hot when others are cold, or cold when everyone else is warm?
• Do you have trouble thinking clearly, aka “brain fog”?
• Do you often feel irritable?
• Are you experiencing hair loss, dry skin, or unexplained weight fluctuation?
• Do your joints ache or swell but you don’t know... View Details


The First Year: Rheumatoid Arthritis: An Essential Guide for the Newly Diagnosed
by M.E.A. McNeil (Author), Kenneth Sack (Foreword)

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a disease characterized by inflammation of the joints, is one of the most disabling forms of arthritis and affects over two million people in the United States. Without proper treatment it can lead to long-term joint damage, chronic pain, loss of function, and disability. From the first moment of her diagnosis, author M.E.A. McNeil took charge and educated herself on every aspect of her condition. Now, as a "patient-expert," she guides those newly diagnosed step-by-step through their first year with RA. McNeil provides crucial information about the nature of the... View Details


Your Life with Rheumatoid Arthritis: Tools for Managing Treatment, Side Effects and Pain
by Lene Andersen (Author)

Your Life with Rheumatoid Arthritis: Tools for Managing Treatment, Side Effects and Pain is the ultimate guide to living well with this chronic, at times debilitating, autoimmune disease. Lene Andersen has 40+ years of living with RA and is working as Community Leader for HealthCentral.com's RA site. She has amassed an almost encyclopedic knowledge of how to manage the many challenges of life with the disease. Your Life with Rheumatoid Arthritis covers medication and treatment options, questions of opioids and addiction, down-to-earth tips to manage side effects, and techniques to control the... View Details


Healing Arthritis: Your 3-Step Guide to Conquering Arthritis Naturally
by Susan Blum MD MPH (Author), Mark Hyman M.D. (Foreword), Michele Bender (Foreword)

The author of the bestselling The Immune System Recovery Plan shares her science-based, drug-free treatment plan for the almost fifty million people who suffer from arthritis: an amazing 3-step guide to eliminate the disease naturally.

Arthritis is the most common cause of disability in the world—greater than both back pain and heart disease. One example, Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), is the most common autoimmune disease, affecting 1% of the US population, and almost 68 million people worldwide. Conventional medicine tends to treat arthritis with strong, gut-damaging,... View Details


Rheumatoid Arthritis Unmasked: 10 Dangers of Rheumatoid Disease
by Kelly O'Neill Young (Author)

What if no one confused rheumatoid disease with just arthritis? What if the world understand that people with rheumatoid disease (RD) are not hypochondriacs because they have so many health problems? What if all of the effects of the disease were treated - not dismissed or ignored? Rheumatiod Arthritis Unmasked exposes the true nature of RD revealed in medical research. For about a decade, Kelly O'Neill Young has studied current and past academic research about RA, reading hundreds of journal articles for this book alone. Kelly, widely known as the RA... View Details


The Anti-Inflammatory Diet & Action Plans: 4-Week Meal Plans to Heal the Immune System and Restore Overall Health
by Dorothy Calimeris (Author), Sondi Bruner (Author)

“Following an anti inflammatory diet has been a game-changer for me―and the elimination of gluten and dairy has been especially transformative. I’m able to manage and control my symptoms by what I choose to eat and I’m eternally grateful for that choice.”
―Sondi Bruner, holistic nutritionist and co-author, The Anti Inflammatory Diet & Action Plans

So much in life is beyond our control. Managing chronic inflammation and pain doesn’t have to be. From the publishers who brought you the New York Times bestseller Paleo for Every... View Details


Stuff you should know about Rheumatoid Arthritis
by Dr Irwin Lim (Author)

Stuff You Should Know about Rheumatoid Arthritis is intended as a resource to help you understand what your rheumatology team is thinking. And perhaps, one that will better help you appreciate aspects of rheumatoid arthritis so you can have better conversations about your management with family, friends and your health support team.

----------------------------------

Dr Irwin Lim is a rheumatologist working in Sydney, Australia. He is a director of BJC Health, a group comprising committed rheumatologists and... View Details

Best Science Podcasts 2018

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2018. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

The Person You Become
Over the course of our lives, we shed parts of our old selves, embrace new ones, and redefine who we are. This hour, TED speakers explore ideas about the experiences that shape the person we become. Guests include aerobatics pilot and public speaker Janine Shepherd, writers Roxane Gay and Taiye Selasi, activist Jackson Bird, and fashion executive Kaustav Dey.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#478 She Has Her Mother's Laugh
What does heredity really mean? Carl Zimmer would argue it's more than your genes along. In "She Has Her Mother’s Laugh: The Power, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity", Zimmer covers the history of genetics and what kinship and heredity really mean when we're discovering how to alter our own DNA, and, potentially, the DNA of our children.