Rheumatoid arthritis can worsen post delivery; tips for new mothers to cope

By, New Delhi
May 14, 2023 04:45 PM IST

Arthritis symptoms can flare up post pregnancy. Here are tips for new mothers to care for themselves and their newborns.

Pregnancy could be a bumpy ride for anyone but for women with rheumatoid arthritis, the challenges could be manifold. To begin with, women who have this autoimmune condition are less likely to conceive than others. Also, women who have uncontrolled rheumatoid arthritis could be susceptible to complications like preterm birth. It is thus advised, that the disease should be brought in control 3 to 6 months before trying to get pregnant. The challenges continue for new mothers as their inflammation could go up post delivery as per studies. (Also read: Rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, psoriatic arthritis; how their symptoms differ)

After delivery in rheumatoid arthritis sometimes inflammation can go worse as suggested by certain studies. (Freepik)
After delivery in rheumatoid arthritis sometimes inflammation can go worse as suggested by certain studies. (Freepik)

"After delivery in rheumatoid arthritis sometimes inflammation can go worse as suggested by certain studies. So, women should take adequate rest because the body ache or the joints pain anyway are more after the delivery. Secondly, they should preferably buy a rocker for a child so they do not have to lean much and minimise the pain in their joint. They can also think of buying a bed which can go up in height or down in height as it will also prevent leaning of delivered mother, says Dr Deepika Aggarwal, Senior Gynaecologist and Obstetrician, CK Birla Hospital, Gurugram.

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New mothers who have arthritis may face specific challenges that can affect their ability to care for themselves and their newborns. Dr Deepika elaborates on the same.

Physical limitations: Arthritis can cause joint pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility, which may make it difficult for new mothers to perform tasks such as lifting, carrying, and feeding their babies. Basic and daily routine activities can become challenging.

Fatigue: Arthritis-related fatigue is common and can be exacerbated by the demands of caring for a newborn. Lack of sleep and the physical strain of taking care of a baby can worsen fatigue levels, making it harder for new mothers to manage their arthritis symptoms.

Joint damage and inflation: Arthritis can cause joint damage and inflation over time, which can get worse and can affect a new mother's ability to care for her baby and perform daily tasks.


Consumption of turmeric with black pepper, cooking in virgin olive oil can help control inflammation in arthritis. New mothers must also make sure the food does not have a lot of salt, sugar or fat which could exacerbate the symptoms. Intake of fish is useful with arthritis along with things like broccoli and almonds, says Dr Deepika.

"Most important thing for the new mothers is taking adequate rest and having the support system in the family because the exertion can cause worsening of joints pain," says the expert.

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