Planning to have a baby when you have a Chronic illness

I have Arthritis & Fibromyalgia & thankfully my Rheumatologist has been supportive with helping me plan for a baby. I first spoke with her 3 years ago & at the time I was on methotrexate, painkillers, anti-inflammatories & steroids. In order to start trying for a baby I had to come off methotrexate for at least 3 months but to be on the safe side I gave it 6 months.

Coming off medication wasn’t an easy decision but I knew it was necessary if I wanted to start a family. Methotrexate was a little easier to come off, it made me feel sick for days after taking it & I couldn’t wait to come off it. I didn’t realise at the time how much I needed it & failed to grasp that it was stopping my Arthritis from progressing. Having said that, I coped well with coming off it but I did depend on painkillers & steroids.

I have a love hate relationship with steroids. I love that they give me relief but I hate that I gain weight & my anxiety increases. Unfortunately for me, the steroids suppressed my pituitary gland which set my periods off & in turn it was difficult to monitor if I ovulated. I understood the risks of steroids & being on & off them for so long I knew it would have some sort of impact on my body.

I’m now 2 years free from methotrexate, 18 months from steroids & only 4 months free from painkillers. Has it been easy? Certainly not. It’s been challenging & I have been tested both physically, mentally & emotionally. However, it has been worth it.

If your thinking of trying for a baby with a chronic illness here’s some things to think about:

1. Speak to your GP or Consultant.

2. Make a plan for reducing & coming off medication with the supervision of Health Professionals.

3. Consider alternative ways to manage; physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, yoga or massages.

4. Reduce working hours to cope with pain management.

5. Referral to Fertility Specialists.

I’ve experienced mix opinions since starting this journey including Doctors trying to put me off starting a family. If you have a good supportive network with your partner & health professionals then it is certainly achievable.

There’s a little bit of hope at the end of the rainbow.

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