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Can an arthritis patient get married and bear children?

Q: What is the impact of arthritis during pregnancy? Can arthritis patients get married? What special precautions are to be taken during marriage?

A:Arthritis is a broad term and I presume you are referring to varieties of chronic arthritis like rheumatoid arthritis. In my view the most important aspect is to let the other party know of the chronic nature of the problem and not to conceal the diagnosis. The average life expectancy of such patients is also lower than the general population. Many of my patients with different forms of chronic arthritis have, however, been happily married. It needs to be appreciated that medication would be needed life long and this fact should be openly discussed. Arthritis is not a major barrier to happy sex life. It is true that pregnancy will impose a certain strain. Many patients with rheumatoid arthritis actually improve during pregnancy because of the effects of the hormones. However, deterioration can also take place and many medicines can not be taken during pregnancy. In fact it is recommended that the drug levels be tested and shown to be below a particular level before pregnancy can be permitted. Some forms of arthritis like SLE can have significant deterioration during pregnancy and pregnancy can impose a severe strain on the mother and the child. A patient with arthritis also needs to assess the responsibilities of parenthood before planning pregnancy.

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