Sarcoidosis during pregnancy is a rare event affecting only 9.6 out of 100,000 births. Sarcoidosis does not prevent pregnancy or affect fertility in women. Studies also have shown that maternal sarcoidosis is not harmful to the baby. After the birth of a child, mothers with sarcoidosis may breastfeed as usual.
While women with sarcoidosis can carry out successful pregnancies, they are at risk of adverse events during the pregnancy. One such risk is venous thromboembolism, or a blood clot forming inside a vein. Due to this risk, women with sarcoidosis may be placed on thromboprophylaxis during their pregnancy. Other risks include preeclampsia, eclampsia, pulmonary embolism, premature delivery, and postpartum hemorrhages.
Effects of sarcoidosis treatments on the baby
Expectant mothers with sarcoidosis should consult with their doctor about the side effects of any medications they may be taking that could affect their pregnancy. Some sarcoidosis treatments may be harmful to the baby. In these cases, the dose of a mother’s medication may need to be lowered or changed altogether. Doctors may encourage women to avoid pregnancy if they are on anti-inflammatory therapies such as methotrexate.
Symptoms of sarcoidosis throughout pregnancy
About 65 percent of women with sarcoidosis may experience improved symptoms during pregnancy, while about 5 percent can experience a worsening of symptoms. Sarcoidosis symptoms usually return within six months after the pregnancy and may worsen. Thus, doctors may monitor the mother’s condition during and after pregnancy.
Can mothers pass sarcoidosis onto their children?
Expectant mothers with sarcoidosis may worry about their children also developing the disease. There is evidence suggesting that sarcoidosis tends to run in families, but childhood sarcoidosis is extremely rare, and it is unlikely that a mother will pass the disease onto her child.
Another sign that sarcoidosis may be an inherited disease is the racial incidence of the disease. Specific ethnic groups such as African-Americans, Puerto Ricans, and Scandinavians tend to be at a higher risk of developing the disease. Among these high-risk groups, the chance that a first-degree relative of a patient will also develop the disease is between 6 and 20 percent. However, more research is needed to determine whether sarcoidosis has a genetic component behind it.
Sarcoidosis and fertility
While it is primarily thought that sarcoidosis does not affect female fertility, it has been found that it may negatively affect male reproductive organs. Therefore, couples with sarcoidosis should consult with their doctor when planning a pregnancy. In rare cases, sarcoidosis in men can cause infertility and erectile dysfunction that may prevent a couple from having a baby.
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