Sarcoidosis is an autoimmune condition that causes inflammation in the body’s tissues. It can affect many organs, but it most often affects the lungs and lymph nodes. Even though this is not a life-threatening illness, it can be dangerous for pregnant women because of its possible effects on unborn babies. This article will discuss some of the risks during pregnancy, how to recognize if you have it while pregnant, what treatments are available for both mother and child after birth and how to prevent it from happening and affecting your unborn baby.
Pregnant women need to be aware of the possible risks and complications during pregnancy. If you experience symptoms including chest pain, shortness of breath, coughing up blood or rust-colored sputum (phlegm), fatigue, fever, weight loss and night sweats, contact your doctor immediately as these could be signs that sarcoidosis has become active. You should also visit your doctor right away if you have been diagnosed with the condition in the past because it can reoccur at any time, even after years of no symptoms.
Effects of Sarcoidosis
When sarcoidosis affects pregnant women, it can cause preeclampsia when pregnancy-related high blood pressure becomes severe. Having the condition during pregnancy has also been linked with low birth weight in babies and fetal death. Because of this, doctors try to manage any symptoms, including reducing swelling in the lymph nodes and lungs by using corticosteroids like prednisone during your pregnancy along with antibiotics if there are signs that infection may be present. When sarcoidosis affects a pregnant woman and the fetus, it can cause complications that include the following:
- Preterm labor, which is when your cervix opens too early (before 37 weeks)
- Placental abruption, which is when your placenta peels away from the inner wall of your uterus
- Premature rupture of membranes, or PROM, which is characterized by going into labor with fluid leaking through the cervix before contractions begin
- Multiple miscarriages, reducing fertility in men and women
- High blood pressure and gallstones
Once diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, make sure to tell your doctor before getting pregnant since some conditions can be passed on to your baby.
Because sarcoidosis is caused by an overactive immune system, it makes sense that limiting exposure to allergens, like pollen or mold, would help prevent symptoms from flaring up. If you have previously been diagnosed with sarcoidosis and are trying for a baby, stay away from triggers including smoking cigarettes, being exposed to second-hand smoke, perfumes or other strong odors in the workplace or at home, as well as pesticides used around the house if possible. Research suggests that omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil supplements may decrease inflammation associated with sarcoidosis during pregnancy.
Treatment During Pregnancy
Even if you have been diagnosed with sarcoidosis in the past, it is important to continue seeing your doctor regularly while pregnant because symptoms can still occur even if you have previously been treated for them. Ensure to let all of your doctors know about any medications or supplements you are currently taking, including herbal treatments, vitamins and minerals, since some may interfere with common treatment options for pregnant women, such as steroids, which could potentially cause a miscarriage. If possible, try alternative therapies like acupuncture before resorting to corticosteroids.
If you have had no complications before delivery, you will most likely not need treatment after giving birth either. However, some cases require that the baby stays in the hospital for observation to make sure that there are no complications; also, if some cases go untreated, it could lead to relapse later in life.
This is a serious condition that can interfere with pregnancy and affect both the mother and baby if not managed correctly. Make sure to tell your doctor about any existing health conditions, even if they are in remission, before trying for a baby so you will be aware of how best to manage them.