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A study from UT Southwestern and the Baylor Research Institute examined the preceptions and practices of women with autoimmune or inflammatory rheumatic diseases (AIRD) noting that an AIRD diagnosis changed most womens future hopes and plans regarding pregnancy and lactation.
This single center registry was based on a survey of 154 AIRD patients who were interviewed regarding fertility, pregnancy, miscarriages, and lactation before and after diagnosis.
More than half of respondents indicated that their diagnosis negatively changed their views on pregnancy and nearly a third (30%) decided not to have children after AIRD diagnosis.
The majority (66%) women were concerned that medication use during the childbearing process would affect the baby.
One-third (34%) indicated their views on breastfeeding negatively changed as a result of their disease diagnosis.
The rates and duration of breastfeeding did not differ significantly for babies born before or after the mothers’ diagnosis, but 18 women in our study refused breastfeeding or stopped breastfeeding early.
The registry included 19 women who breastfed while being exposed to a DMARD or biologic; none of these reported any developmental delay in their children or increased infection rates.