Pregnancy, Breastfeeding and PsA

It's not surprising that questions surrounding pregnancy and breastfeeding come here from time to time. They are complicated questions, with no easy one-size-fits all answer.

Having PsA complicates our lives, and it really complicates the issues surrounding pregnancy and breastfeeding. What's best for you, as an individual, isn't necessarily what may be best for your child: treatment risks that you may accept for yourself may not be risks that you want to take for your baby. You may even have to weigh up the options and risks surrounding treatment, breastfeeding and weaning. During all of this, it is important to remember that living with PsA is not a sprint, but a marathon – you have to think ahead to two decades of physical and emotional demands as a mother, and a lifetime of being a parent. Your child deserves to have a parent who is as healthy and as functional as possible, for as long as possible.

What's the right answer? Well, there isn't one. There's only the answer that is right for you and your baby at the time. That decision can only be made after seeking support from your family, your support networks, and after the input and guidance of your medical professionals.

We do our best here at LWPsA, and between us and our members we have a lot of expertise in many areas, including pregnancy, breastfeeding, medical issues, and parenting. But the bottom line is that you need to make this decision for yourself. And the information that you use to make that decision has to come from reliable sources. The two main sources you should look to for guidance include 1) those who have the expertise to offer you sound, medical advice, and know your personal medical history and circumstances; and 2) trusted people who know you, your family and your background well. Please try don't rely on "well-meaning" advice from sources which don't fit into either of these categories.

Here are some places where you may want to start your research in preparation for the conversation with your rheumatologist. One site is from the US, the others from Canada and the UK.

And from the southern hemisphere, here's a book which Arthritis Australia ( ) is promoting:

That's just a small sampling of the kind of thing that's "out there". And you'll want to do your own research. Some hints for doing your homework: sites or recommendations from sites with URLs ending in .org are likely to be more reliable than anything from a .com . And do consider carefully who is speaking, where they are located, to whom they are connected, and what other agendas they may have. Finally, discuss what you've found and your thoughts with your rheumatologist.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding are areas in which there can be information and advice from well-meaning others that is heavily influenced by social or moral considerations. The resulting discussions can become emotionally charged. These decisions are up there with the most important ones that you will ever take. We want you to be empowered to make your own well-informed decision, without social or emotional pressure from well-meaningsources (and that includes advocacy groups and yes, support groups like this one) who most likely don't know you and your family.

The summary sounds like a disclaimer! OK, let's just say it is a DISCLAIMER: We work hard at finding high-quality information and resources to share with you. Our job here is to inform and support, which we do to the best of our ability, and using our considerable collective experience. But at the end of the day, your treatment decisions are a matter between you and your rheumatologist, with the input of your family and your social and moral support system.