After you've delivered a baby you'll find that your body is very sore and there is a niggling ache in one or many muscles or joints. This is caused by a number of factors, the first being the physical strain of carrying a baby. Then there is the pregnancy hormone called relaxin, which relaxes the body’s ligaments, particularly the ones attached to the pubic bone. Also, in certain cases, during delivery, a woman could sprain her tailbone and at times the strained back is a result of wrong posture during delivery, which the woman doesn’t realize because of the numbing effects of the epidural. The most common areas to be affected post pregnancy are...
...the neck, wrists, back and hip.
However, sometimes, these aches and pains are more than just strained muscles or joints. At times these are early signs of arthritis.
Arthritis, for the uninitiated, is a disease that affects a person's immune system and inflicts damage and pain to various joints in a person's body. Statistically, women are three times more susceptible to this disease than men.
For women who already have arthritis, there's some good news and bad news. The good news is that when they are pregnant, the aches and pains from arthritis decrease drastically, especially, in the second and third trimester. The bad news is that the disease resurfaces again post pregnancy, either in a few days or within a few months. In fact, in several cases, women who have arthritis are usually diagnosed with the disease only post pregnancy because during this period it is more severe than ever.
Women afflicted with post pregnancy arthritis need to check with their doctor before taking their arthritis medications as this can be harmful for the baby. Of course, any stiffness and aches they suffer because of arthritis will considerably lessen, as mentioned above. It is this ironical behavior that leads researchers to believe that there is a co-relation between arthritis and pregnancy and it also explains why women are more vulnerable to the disease than men.
Arthritis being a chronic disease, will never completely disappear. Its impact may however subside and flare depending upon the person’s activities. The key to keeping arthritis in check, post pregnancy and otherwise is early diagnosis. The earlier you detect it, the faster you can begin treatment. It is noted that if arthritis is identified early then with medication and appropriate exercise and diet, its impact can be curtailed.
If you had arthritis before pregnancy, or show signs of it post pregnancy, keep your weight in check. More weight can increase the strain on the back and hip. Keep yourself fit, do some stretching, and eat right. Most importantly, if you feel any aches or pains, post pregnancy, especially in the joints, take them very seriously.