Pregnancy will cause profound changes for any woman. For the woman with psoriasis, decisions concerning pregnancy and its possible consequences can be overwhelming.
According to Psorinfo.com, it's not uncommon for psoriasis flares and lesions to decrease during pregnancy. Then again, for other women, their psoriasis may worsen while they are pregnant.
It's difficult to say how much the hormone fluctuations of pregnancy impact women because hormonal changes are constantly ebbing and flowing during the childbearing years, with or without pregnancy.
To conceive or not to conceive? This has always been a heavy question for every fertile woman. The woman with psoriasis is faced with even more factors to consider.
Psoriasis is not contagious but there may be a genetic predisposition that can be passed on to the children she may bear. Psorinfo.com reported that when one parent has psoriasis, the likelihood of passing it on is between 8 percent and 15 percent. When both parents have psoriasis, the risk rises to between 50 percent and 60 percent.
A woman with psoriasis may worry about whether or not her condition will worsen while she's pregnant, and whether or not she will be able to breastfeed. She may worry about any medications she takes for psoriasis, and possible effects on the unborn child, and later the nursing infant.
She may wonder whether or not to stop taking medications, and whether or not she can manage without them during pregnancy.
The "baby weight" gained during pregnancy can lead to more psoriasis pain.
In a study on hormonal influences on women with psoriasis, reported on Psorinfo.com, it was found that 30 percent to 40 percent of the women surveyed improved during pregnancy, particularly in the first trimester. Another 20 percent worsened. The rest of the women saw no change.
A woman's experience during her first pregnancy tends to be her experience in subsequent pregnancies as well. So if things went relatively smoothly, she may feel optimistic about possible future pregnancies. If she had a bad experience the first time, this may be what lays ahead if she becomes pregnant again.
Psoriasis can emerge for some women who did not have the condition before becoming pregnant for the first time. This is often the case with pregnancy-related pustular psoriasis.
About.com brings the good news that psoriasis does not damage the reproductive system. But a March 14, 2010 article on Abcnews.go.com shared some cautions.
Psoriasis during pregnancy can heighten the risk of hypertension ectopic pregnancy, preterm birth and spontaneous abortion. According to research out of Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston women with psoriasis are at three to four times greater risk for these outcomes.
Do hormonal changes have an impact on psoriasis? Psorinfo.com. Web. August 24, 2011.
Pregnancy and Psoriasis. About.com. Web. August 24, 2011.
Psoriasis Increases Pregnancy Risks, Study Suggests. Abcnews.go.com. Web. August 24, 2011.
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Reviewed August 26, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg R.N.