When am I likely to relapse after the baby is born?

tinkerbelle08
tinkerbelle08 Member Posts: 7
edited 6. Apr 2010, 17:18 in Living with Arthritis archive
Hi,

I am new to this forum and looking for some post-baby advice. I am 30 years old and am expecting my second baby in July, I was diagnosed last May when my daughter was 11 months old. Sulphasalazine was a godsend to me and after being on it for 9 weeks all my symptoms were gone. I know I'm one of the lucky ones!

I stopped the sulphasalazine once I got a positive pregnancy test and needed steroids at 17 weeks for a flare. I'm now 27 weeks and other than morning stiffness and reduced grip strength in the mornings feel good.

My worry now is what happens when the baby is born? Do I go straight back on the meds and forego breast feeding, am I to expect a big flare up soon after giving birth?

I guess it's the fear of the unknown but wondered if you could share your experiences and help,

Thanks
Penny

Comments

  • cthornley
    cthornley Member Posts: 627
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Penny

    I am about to dash off right now but will do my best to come back later and answer this fully as I would love to help
    My boy is about to turn 2 so I have some information which may be of use

    Christine
  • tkachev
    tkachev Member Posts: 8,332
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    There is no hard and fast rule as we all react differently. My personal experience was I developed R.A a few weeks after my son was born but this was under control and I improved with painkillers and sulfasalazine.I continued to take the sulfa all the way through my next pregnancy 4 years later. When my daughter was born I did have a massive flare but waited 3-4 months to get seen by rheummy by which time I was in extreme pain and could barely stand.At this appointment I was offered stronger medication and had to stop breast feeding although I then improved alot.

    I would like to have been prepared for the flare after birth by having an earlier appointment arranged just in case.As it was i was shocked by the suddeness and severity of R.A afterwards as nobody had warned me.The nursing staff had not been very interested in my R.A and I was living in a new area so had not met the rheumatologist team I am now being cared by.
    Just make them aware that birth/pregnancy CAN lead to flares and you would like to be monitored to be on the safe side.
    I suppose it depends on your body how it will react and you may not have any increase in symptoms,
    good luck
    Elizabeth
  • jenzie06
    jenzie06 Member Posts: 708
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hiya
    My baby is due 4wks today - yikes!
    I've been told that my RA will flare after the birth and this can be two weeks after the birth to 6 weeks. However, I've not had a remission during the pregnancy so the doc's don't really know.
    Past couple of weeks I've started with another flare so am seeing rhuemy next week and I think I'll either increase my steroids daily or have a steroid injection and see if it will help me over the next few weeks.
    I've also got an appt with the rheumy booked in June to discuss meds and to see how I'm getting on. He's also offered to come and see me on the post-natal ward if I'm struggling (He's lovely!). I want to breast feed but need to wait and see how I'm doing before making a decision on going back on meds.
    A lot of what I decide depends on the baby and how I'm doing. I've also had an assessment from the local council and been given a care package which means I can employ my mum to help me look after the baby (I can't do poppers and there are NO babygros without poppers!!).

    Feel free to PM me if you want to chat any more. How has the pregnancy been going? Hope you've been keeping well.
  • cthornley
    cthornley Member Posts: 627
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Penny

    unforetunatly the answer is as useful as how long is a piece of string?.... its not really predictable,
    you might get nothing you might be terrible
    I can tell you my story if thats any use:
    I had my son almost 2 years ago now.... I was on steroids throughout pregnancy after having to come off MTX to concieve.
    As I was on steroids I was put on a steroid drip when I went into labour (it might be worth checking whether u need this not all drs are aware that u may need this - its not for the pain but to ensure that ur body doesn't go into shock).
    I was still deciding with the drs whether or not I needed a c-section due to my hips, when my little boy decided he wanted to come out 3 & half weeks early!!! 3 days through labour and I ended up with an emergency c-section ( I had been trying to avoid this because it can make it harder to get up and moving , which would have compounded my stiffness....btw sometimes you just can't win)
    I stayed on the steroids whilst I was BF and only gave up BF at 6mths so I could go back on MTX. I had steroids to cover me during the changeover and gradually weaned off them as the mtx started to kick back in
    I did flare around a month after he was born....it kinda coincided with the point the post baby adrenaline wore off and it really hit home how difficult it was going to be. I suffered on and off for a long time and i'm still not back to the stability of my condition that I had b4 trying to conceive
    I was very lucky I have a fab GP/Rhemy & Health visitor all of whom were supportive , the HV offered to get me respite care whilst i was really bad but i'm stubborn and probably foolishly refused. Take all offers of support they are invaluable and plan for the worst and hope for the best and you will get through it.
    I am not sure how i got through it on some days but I did, it was actually harder when he was about 1 as I had to have surgery on my hip as he is a big lad and carrying him about was compounding the damage
    sorry i've probably rambled on too much

    btw you can actually get babygrows without poppers especially when they are very young but they are hard to find...sometimes pumpkin patch have them otherwise trawl the internet
    good luck
    Chrissie
  • suziev
    suziev Member Posts: 252
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    hi penny

    am with chrissie on this one there is no hard or fast rule.

    my first child who is nearly 5 now brought on ra so second pregnancy i got a flare up at 6 weeks pregnant but then by later stages i was doing very well except for my hips (hips are another story), after birth i excepted the worse but it was a slow burn with me i felt fine in fact great when i saw my rhemy at 4 week post but was still feeding myself however as with my first baby my milk started to run out so i slowly did a cross over between breast and formula and thats when i started to notice slowly the stiffness coming on and feeling unwell, my thyroid had packed up in pregnancy and that was ofcourse causing problems as well! started to take meds 4 months after birth and been doing very well except ofcouse for my hips (oh how i hate my hips).

    i think it's a wait and see game myself, have lots of support near by and don't be afaird to ask for help.

    good luck and let us know how you get on

    suzie x
  • poppy30
    poppy30 Member Posts: 67
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I'm going to have to echo what the other posters have already said..... sorry!!! :? .... but it really depends on each individual. I agree that my flare started after the initial excitement/hormone rush/adrenaline had worn off and I was begging my rheumy to give me back my meds (mtx and Humira) 2 months after the birth! :shock:

    My little man is 5 months old now and my meds are slowly kicking back in although not performing as well as before.... I'm hoping that I just need to give them more time! :lol:

    If you fancy a chat or have any specific Qs, feel free to PM me.

    Poppy x
  • tinkerbelle08
    tinkerbelle08 Member Posts: 7
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thankyou! It's the real stories and honesty that I wanted as no-one tells you realistically what to expect. I think like you say I'll prepare for the worst and hope for the best. To complicate things we moved to Melbourne at the end of January and are staying over here for 12 months with my husband's job. So I'm not with my usual super rheumy (meet new one in 2 weeks so fingers crossed) and there is no family support network.
    However I am also stubborn and want to do this myself, I realise some days will be so hard but a bit of positive thinking at the moment makes those painful days seem a lifetime ago. Oh how I wish.....
  • katekelly
    katekelly Member Posts: 975
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Penny,
    I developed RA between pregnancies 2 and 3(a gap of nearly 10 years). So as you can imagine number three was very planned to get me off meds etc.
    I came off sulpha and continued with steroids up until month 8 and had a month off them too. After a c-section I managed to feed for 6 weeks before huge flare-up when I had to hit the drugs big time and change to a bottle. This was hard in one way as I had fed my older 2 for as long as they needed but in some ways it was a relief. I was so tired what with just having a baby- an operation-a flare-up and being in my late 30's I just hadn't got the energy and I felt as if she was quite literally sucking the life out of me.
    So my advice would be if you want to feed your baby yourself do so for as long as is viable for you. At the end of the day nobody but you knows what is right for you and your baby. Trust your instincts believe me they are there for a reason but most of all enjoy the time you have with your baby- it goes so quick - my first baby is 21 tomorrow...where did that time go!!!
  • cthornley
    cthornley Member Posts: 627
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thankyou! It's the real stories and honesty that I wanted as no-one tells you realistically what to expect. I think like you say I'll prepare for the worst and hope for the best. To complicate things we moved to Melbourne at the end of January and are staying over here for 12 months with my husband's job. So I'm not with my usual super rheumy (meet new one in 2 weeks so fingers crossed) and there is no family support network.
    However I am also stubborn and want to do this myself, I realise some days will be so hard but a bit of positive thinking at the moment makes those painful days seem a lifetime ago. Oh how I wish.....

    Wow Australia....well if you are there then perhaps you should look at getting a book by a lovely australian lady - Suzie Edward May (google her) which I have just received about pregnancy, parenthood and arthritis..I had to get mine sent over but its a good read on the trials and tribulations...if nothing else it reminds you you are not alone
    good luck
    Chrissie

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