Psoriasis And Pregnancy

By Freedom 360

Medically reviewed by Freedom 360 Panel of Doctors

Pregnant women all fret over their unborn child, wondering if the child has five fingers and properly formed toes. As a psoriasis patient, your biggest fear will be whether your child will inherit your psoriasis.

While the causes of psoriasis are complex, there is evidence that it is hereditary and patients are more likely to have relatives that also have the disease. Around one-third of psoriasis patients report a family history of the disease and studies suggest a 70 per cent chance of an identical twin developing psoriasis if the other twin has the disorder, while the risk is around 20 per cent for non-identical twinsi.

Having psoriasis should not be a deterrent in your decision to have children as psoriasis is a manageable disease. With pre-planning and support from your friends and family, it is possible for men and women with psoriasis to start a family.

Have a plan

Talk to a doctor to find out everything you can about coping with pregnancy and psoriasis. From diet, risk factors, genetic links to post-partum care, the key is to be aware of all the risks involved so that you will be prepared.

Before you decide to conceive, consult a doctor to check if the medication you are currently taking will have side effects on your baby. While it is common for doctors to recommend women stop all oral medications prior to pregnancy, there are medications that are relatively safe.

Pregnant mothers who turn towards topical medication (medication applied on skin) instead of continuing oral medication must still be cautious as there are topical medications that tend to be absorbed into the skin as well. Patients of both sexes should avoid Psoralen + UVA treatment when trying to conceive and women should avoid this treatment when pregnant as they can cause birth defects.ii

For psoriatic arthritis patients, to completely stop medication is almost impossible, but there are pain medications available that are non-harmful to the baby. Your treatment plan for your period of conception and pregnancy should be worked out in consultation with your doctor.

Dealing with fears

Some women report improvement in the condition of their psoriasis during pregnancy, while others say their psoriasis gets worse. The impact varies from pregnancy to pregnancy and differs between individuals.

One study showed pregnancy has little effect on the condition of the skiniii. In another study 55 per cent saw an improvement in their symptoms, and only 23 percent reported that their symptoms worsenediv . Another study showed that 30 to 40 per cent of female patients surveyed had experienced an improvement in their psoriasis during their pregnancy, the majority during the first trimester, while 20 per cent reported their condition had worsened and the rest saw no changev

So it is inconclusive whether pregnancy will lead to a deterioration in your condition, so don’t let this fear be a barrier to starting a family.

Another big fear of mothers is the thought of miscarriage. A large-scale study of 3,100 pregnancies, found the risk of miscarriage for psoriasis patients was similar to those without psoriasis.vi There is a rare condition known as Impetigo herpetiformis, a severe form of psoriasis, that can have a serious impact on a pregnancy and can often result in miscarriagevii .

In order to ensure that your baby is in the best of condition, have regular check-ups with your paediatrician and do not underplay the symptoms of your psoriasis.

Breast Feeding

When it is time for you to nurse your baby, you must take precautions, especially mothers who have psoriasis on their nipples. Take care to moisturize often with over the counter moisturizers or emollients. Although psoriasis on the nipples will not affect the baby, it may be uncomfortable for the mother. Also avoid topical medication on the nipples or skin during this time as it may be absorbed into the skin and seep into the mother’s milk.

Alternatively if breastfeeding is hurting you, you might want to consider using a breast shield. The device is made of silicone and it rests over the nipple. However, breast shields have been known to cause a decrease in milk supply as well as a risk of infection. Therefore consult a doctor before deciding to use a nipple shield.

Psoriasis And Pregnancy