Deciding to start a family is an exciting time in your life. However, for women diagnosed with arthritis, the possibility of having children can be loaded with insecurity and uncertainty. Frequently, at the point of diagnosis, conception can feel like a faraway priority: the immediate profound impact of the disease looms larger in the mind of both the woman and her doctor.

However, while having arthritis may present extra challenges in having a family, these are usually overcome. Your arthritis may affect your pregnancy and conversely, your pregnancy may affect your arthritis.

One of the key messages is to start having conversations about your family plans with your healthcare team as early as possible. This is central to ensuring that you have a safe conception, pregnancy and delivery. As every pregnancy is different, a plan of care will be developed in partnership with your rheumatology and obstetric teams which will be specific for you.

We have developed a suite of videos to provide you with a variety of expert perspectives - including a mother, rheumatology, obstetrics, nursing, physiotherapy and occupational therapy - on pregnancy and arthritis, which you can view below.

Pregnancy, parenting and arthritis - a personal story
Pregnancy and arthritis - obstetrics perspective (Prof. Fionnuala McAuliffe)
Pregnancy and arthritis - rheumatology perspective (Prof. Douglas Veale)
Pregnancy and arthritis - Louise Moore
Exercise in pregnancy with arthritis - Mary Grant
Managing stress, anxiety and fatigue in pregnancy with arthritis - Emer Sheridan

Read our new booklet on this important topic below. It covers all aspects of planning a pregnancy, arthritis during pregnancy, and after the birth. It also explores issues such as fertility, dads with arthritis, the arthritis gene, lupus and pregnancy, medication, exercise, nutrition, stress management, caring for a new-born, and breastfeeding.

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