Learn About Arthritis During Pregnancy

This post was most recently updated on July 25th, 2023


Arthritis during pregnancy is a condition that can occur even though many people have assumed it to appear only in older adults.

Pregnancy causes a woman’s body to undergo a lot of physical changes, such as weight gain, a larger size of the waistline to fit the baby’s development. These changes also affect the bones and joints of the body, causing intense pain. This condition is called arthritis.

Quite a few ideas suggest that arthritis only occurs in older people. On the other hand, though not so common, it can still occur during pregnancy with some milder and more severe symptoms as the baby begins to develop.

Causes of arthritis during pregnancy

Pregnancy does not lead to arthritis, but it is caused by changes in the pregnant woman’s body, which leads to certain types of arthritis.

One of them is due to the degeneration that occurs in articular cartilage and stretching of the body. During pregnancy, you gradually gain weight, causing large joints such as the hips, knees, and ankles to bear a heavy load. Over time, these factors can lead to arthritis during pregnancy.

Another type of arthritis that pregnant women sometimes encounter is rheumatoid arthritis. This condition results from the reaction of the immune system to the body targeting the lining of the joints, leading to inflammation. If the mother has this type of arthritis, the pain will subside after you give birth.

Severe joint pain may also occur if the mother is accidentally injured. A sudden change in the physical condition of the body can cause pregnant women to fall during pregnancy or bump into objects. If these conditions affect joints, pain begins to appear and worsens due to restricted movement during pregnancy. When not taken care of properly, the injury will turn into arthritis during pregnancy.

Signs of arthritis during pregnancy

Some symptoms that a pregnant woman may have arthritis during pregnancy include:

  • Severe pain in the knee
  • Numbness and spasm in the leg muscles
  • Feeling difficulty walking
  • Exhaustion and tiredness may indicate the presence of rheumatoid arthritis. These symptoms also indicate that the immune system is fighting against your body
  • Water retention in the body causes limbs to swell. This condition can also manifest as carpal tunnel syndrome, causing pain and tingling in the joints and especially in the fingers.

The risk of pregnancy may be encountered if arthritis occurs during pregnancy

Pregnant women with arthritis can cause a problem during pregnancy, such as:

  • Babies are born small or lighter than their friends
  • The risk of pregnancy is higher if you have rheumatoid arthritis
  • The presence of rheumatoid arthritis in pregnant women increases the risk of pre-eclampsia. This is a situation that needs special attention because it can be fatal.

Measures to support pregnant women with arthritis during pregnancy

The fact is that medication is always restricted during pregnancy, but there are cases where you still need it to control the condition. The drugs used will be prescribed by the doctor with the criteria not to pose a threat to fetal development as well as to manage pain somewhat.

However, you can try some support measures so that the situation does not affect your daily activities, such as:


Acupuncture can reduce arthritis pain to a certain extent. However, you should choose the facilities that perform clean, sanitary conditions as well as highly qualified doctors.

Apply hot/cold compresses

Hot and cold measure, although simple, is also quite effective. You can try taking a dip in warm water at the end of the day. You can also apply warm or cold compresses to the sore areas.


The massage with essential oils will make pregnant mothers relax a lot after a hard-working day. Try massaging the joints in combination with some essential oils, such as lemon lemongrass essential oil, neroli essential oil, lavender essential oil, geranium essential oil. The soothing scent, as well as the therapeutic properties, can ease pain and make you feel better.

Take omega-3 supplements

If you have arthritis during pregnancy, you should increase your intake of omega-3 rich foods like salmon, milk, cereals, or fish oil capsules because they will help reduce inflammation and pain.

Wear comfortable footwear

Priority should be given to shoes that are comfortable and comfortable for pregnant women if you are diagnosed with arthritis during pregnancy. A pair of shoes or sandals with good quality will support the mother elected a lot in the issue of moving.

Try to exercise regularly to keep your joints and muscles strong. Consult your doctor or health professional about the correct posture to distribute the weight evenly across the body and reduce any unwanted pressure on the joints.

Also, try not to stress yourself because psychology will also partly affect the condition.

Frequently Asked Questions

Some questions that pregnant women may ask about arthritis during pregnancy include:

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Written by Dr. Ganga Sapkota
Updated on July 25, 2023

A graduated medical physician with years of experience in the medical field. Working as a full-time physician in Puspanjali Hospital, Chitwan, Nepal.