Autoimmune disorders and diseases affect millions of women. More than 23 million Americans have one of 80 known types of autoimmune diseases, which can lead to disability and even death. Autoimmune disease makes the body believe it is under attack from germs, even when it isn’t. Women of childbearing age can have high-risk pregnancies when they have an autoimmune disease. For that reason, it is important to understand the effects and learn how these disorders affect women’s bodies.
Autoimmune Diseases and Pregnancy
The Autoimmune Association estimates that 80 percent of people living with autoimmune diseases are women. Some better-known autoimmune diseases include Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Sjogren Syndrome, and Hashimoto’s Disease. Some of these conditions are difficult to control, and some have mild, manageable symptoms.
If you want to get pregnant and have an autoimmune disease diagnosis, be sure to let your OBGYN know. While an autoimmune disorder may make it harder to get pregnant, the greater concern is that it increases your risk of keeping the pregnancy and maintaining your health while pregnant.
At West Des Moines OBGYN Associates, we have seen many women with autoimmune diseases have successful births. Before you begin to try getting pregnant, our experienced obstetrics staff will help you understand the challenges you could face. With their guidance, you can manage symptoms, avoid medications that aren’t safe during pregnancy, and maintain your health and the health of your baby.
Have a Treatment Plan
Some autoimmune diseases can cause serious complications. You will want to have an accurate diagnosis and a plan for your treatment in case you experience a flare-up. Autoimmune disorders are chronic and incurable, but they can go into remission, which may be the best time to try getting pregnant.
Here are a few facts about autoimmune diseases and their effects on pregnancy:
· Lupus is associated with a higher risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, and preeclampsia.
· Myasthenia gravis has been associated with breathing problems during pregnancy.
· Steroids are often prescribed to treat rheumatoid arthritis, but higher doses taken long-term can affect the baby’s birth weight.
The Advantage of an Experienced OBGYN
When you have any chronic condition or autoimmune disorder, choosing an experienced OBGYN can make a huge difference. Whether you are planning a family or entering menopause, the knowledge, skill, and rapport they have developed from working with and treating many women can provide you with extra peace of mind. Preconception care and counseling will educate you generally on getting pregnant and having a healthy baby.
Contact West Des Moines OBGYN Associates in Ankeny, Indianola, and West Des Moines to find an OBGYN who will give you the individualized attention you need to manage your fertility and health when you have an autoimmune disease.