Psoriatic disease, the umbrella term for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis together, is one of many autoimmune disorders that are on the rise in America and throughout the West.
Posoriasis: Different Types
Psoriasis, the first component of the disease, affects the way that skin cells multiply. For patients with psoriatic disease, skin cells build up on the surface of the skin and scalp at 10 times the rate of people without the autoimmune condition.
Psoriatic arthritis, the second component of the disease, is characterized by pain and stiffness in the joints. The arthritic symptoms can range from mild to severe, depending on a number of factors.
Because psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis often go hand-in-hand, medical professionals often combine the two terms into “psoriatic disease.”
In this article, we’ll discuss the changes in manifestations of psoriatic disease in pregnant patients. If you are an expectant mother managing this disease, we’ll offer a few tips for how to best prepare if you encounter complications.
How Does Pregnancy Affect Psoriatic Disease?
Each woman with the condition responds differently during pregnancy. While some women actually see a beneficial reduction in symptoms, others see a concerning rise in their frequency or intensity. Still, other pregnant women report no changes in terms of their symptoms.
Common Postdelivery Psoriatic Flare-ups
Many women experience flare-ups immediately following delivery. Although the exact reason for this occurrence remains unproven, it likely has to do with the interactions between the immune system and the fluctuating endocrine (hormone) system during this stressful period. Women and their families can prepare for this contingency by formulating a plan with their doctors in case a flare-up indeed occurs after giving birth.
Psoriatic Disease and Low Birth Weight
Although the vast majority of babies born to mothers with the disease are healthy and happy, there is evidence linking severe cases of psoriatic disease in mothers to low birth weight in their babies. This risk can be mitigated with the formulation of a plan of action between provider and patient in the case that low birth weight becomes a concern.
Psoriatic Disease Medications and Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is a delicate issue because virtually all substances ingested by the mother are passed through her breast milk to reach her baby.
Although most pharmaceutical-grade topical creams and phototherapy treatments are safe for breastfeeding women, many oral medications are contraindicated because of the potential harm to the infant.
In particular, methotrexate and Soriatane are two common oral drug treatments for the disease that are proven to cause severe birth defects. The causal link between these drugs is so close that public health officials urge women to cease taking them three years before planning to become pregnant.
On a case-by-case basis, providers may greenlight oral medications for patients with severe forms of the disease, but the utmost caution must be exercised to avoid complications associated with breastfeeding.
The Benefits of a Pregnancy Registry
A pregnancy registry is a tool that enables doctors to quickly understand all the medications that an expecting mother is taking. With this information, the healthcare provider can better predict any negative impacts that the medications the woman is taking to treat her symptoms might have on the healthy development of the fetus and the birthing process.
For a helpful medical resource that women can utilize on their own to prepare for their pregnancy, MotherToBaby provides comprehensive, science-based information regarding interactions between drugs and how they affect pregnancies.
With modern technology and a better understanding of the complex biological changes that occur inside women’s bodies during pregnancy, managing the disease effectively during this trying time is easier than ever.
When you enlist the help of all the available resources and pool the knowledge of various healthcare providers, you will be in the best position to give birth to a healthy child while caring for yourself as well in the process.