The ACR is continually updating and increasing its collection of patient education materials, or fact sheets. One of the newest fact sheets, “Pregnancy and Rheumatic Disease,” discusses the complex interactions of pregnancy and rheumatic diseases, acceptable medications to use during pregnancy and breastfeeding and helps to define what constitutes a high-risk pregnancy. The fact sheet offers links to additional resources and educational materials.
“So many autoimmune diseases disproportionately affect women, often in their childbearing years, says Kristine M. Lohr, MD, chair of the Patient Education Task Force. “The ACR can now offer patients and their healthcare providers a well-written, easily accessible patient fact sheet on this topic of importance.”
Key points to remember about treating or monitoring patients who are pregnant or may become pregnant include:
- With careful medical and obstetric management, many women with rheumatic disease can have successful pregnancies if they and their physicians are prepared to handle the possible complications.
- Rheumatic diseases with the potential to trigger antiphospholipid syndrome or affect the kidney are more likely to affect pregnancy outcome than others.
The ACR’s patient education materials are among the most popular on the College’s Web site, attracting approximately 70,000 visitors each month. The patient fact sheets provide a more detailed source of information about the pathogenesis and treatment of rheumatologic diseases that can supplement and reinforce information given to patients in the office. These printer-friendly online pieces can be printed and displayed in the waiting room or distributed to patients during a consultation, or physicians can direct patients to the ACR Web site to read information at their leisure.