Background Building a family is an important part of a full life for many women with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and juvenile inflammatory arthritis (JIA).
Objectives Our goal was to identify the differences and similarities between the reproductive health choices and practices of women with RA and JIA.
Methods A cross-sectional survey was completed by women between age 18–39 with a diagnosis of RA and/or JIA seen in a university rheumatology clinic. Descriptive statistical methods were used.
Results Of the 33 women that completed the survey, 22 were diagnosed with RA at or after age 18 and 11 were diagnosed with JIA. The average age at diagnosis and the time of the survey was higher for women with RA (see table). The majority of participants were white. Methotrexate (MTX) had been used by all women with JIA and 73% of women with RA. The average total lifetime dose and duration of MTX dose was significantly higher among women with JIA.
Contraception: 4 women with RA were trying to conceive at the time of the survey. Among the other women, the rates of effective contraceptive use was similar, but more women with RA used an IUD or surgery and more women with JIA were taking daily birth control pills.
Pregnancy: Women in both groups reported a similar ideal number of children. About 2/3 of the women had either tried to conceive or been pregnant. The average age of first attempted pregnancy was similar between women with RA and JIA. Of the women who had tried to conceive or been pregnant, both groups had a similar number of pregnancies and the rates of live births, miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies, and elective terminations were not significantly different between the groups.
Fertility: Of the women who tried to get pregnant or had a pregnancy, 19% with RA and 40% with JIA reported infertility (p=0.3) and 12.5% with RA and 60% with JIA had used a fertility treatment to attempt pregnancy (p=0.03). The age of menarche, the frequency of menstrual irregularities, and the number of menses per year were similar between the groups.
Conclusions The reproductive goals of women with JIA and RA appear to be similar. The majority of sexually active women were using effective contraception, with women with RA using long-acting options and women with JIA relying on birth control pills. Pregnancy outcomes appeared to be similar. Infertility was increased, particularly among women with JIA.
Disclosure of Interest M. Clowse Grant/research support from: Pfizer, G. McDaniel Grant/research support from: Pfizer