How I'm Managing My Arthritis During Pregnancy

Editor's Note

Any medical information included is based on a personal experience. For questions or concerns regarding health, please consult a doctor or medical professional.

The most difficult part of my journey has been conceiving and coming off medication. It was a testing time coming off methotrexate and reducing painkillers but ultimately it was worth it.

I’ve been lucky that during my early stages of pregnancy my symptoms had reduced and this is due to the surge in hormones.

The first 12 weeks of my pregnancy were the best for me and I was able to walk in the mornings unaided without pain. My arthritis affected my feet the most and it caused so much pain when walking so it was quite the relief that this pain had gone. My knees had previously required steroid injections every few months but were holding up well with no fluid gathering. Overall, my arthritis symptoms had eased during this time and my mood had lifted to a happier and optimistic one.

From week 12-20, my body changed the most with the most noticeable change at 16 weeks with the appearance of the bump. Fatigue started to kick in and it was exhausting managing work and home life. At 20 weeks I was in denial about my increased pain and tried to battle through it without support.

At 22 weeks I was diagnosed with symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD), also known as pelvic girdle pain which is common in pregnancy. It causes joint pain around the hip, pubic bone and lower back. I self-referred to a maternity physio who confirmed it was indeed SPD and adjustments were made with crutches and a maternity belt.

Weeks 22-26 have been the most challenging because of the pelvic pain and it’s resulted in time off work which I was reluctant to take. Unfortunately, I had to as the pain has been difficult to manage and I would have been unable to sit at my desk for long periods of time and pain insomnia doesn’t help matters.

I’m now at 26 weeks and I’m consultant-led at the hospital with a supportive midwife and consultant. This means I get appointments every four weeks with growth scans starting at 28 weeks with a view of being induced at 38 weeks. I’m also on aspirin due to my arthritis which was recommend by my consultant and monitored by him.

Despite the increased pain I am doing well and feeling happier and excited about the future. With the support of the consultant and midwife, I feel confident at managing my arthritis during pregnancy.

Image Credits: Leann Kelly

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