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Living with Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA)

Help during pregnancy both skin and joints

#1

It’s been a long time since I’ve been on here, but during this extremely difficult time, I’m in desperate need of support and advice. I am only 4 weeks pregnant, my husband and I have been trying for a while and finally, it’s happened. So naturally I’ve been off all medication since December 2017. My symptoms didn’t get bad until fall of 2018, and it started mainly with my psoriasis, and the larger affected joints. No Dr will put me on anything or tell me anything other than “pregnancy usually makes your symptoms better!”. Well, 4 weeks pregnant and my skin is the worst it’s ever been. It is in so much pain, and my ribs and left SI joint are not feeling all that great. I am more concerned about my skin at the moment, especially since it is, for the first time ever, “down there”. All I want is to enjoy this time, and I am already losing my mind over how bad my skin feels and how awful it looks as well. I pulled my pant leg up the other night in front of my 5 year old niece whose eyes widened before she said “oh.my.gawd.” Yeah. I’m looking for anyone’s advice on anything natural, or just what has worked for you in the past. It’s mostly bad on my legs, upper arms, and scalp, but it is all over my body at this point. Also, I am expecting the joints to continue to get worse since I can see new spots forming on my neck as I write this, and with the worsening skin comes worsening joints. I already feel it in my ribs, and the pregnancy symptoms that I wasn’t expecting so early are not helping any of this. I cry all the time. Please, anything. I am calling a new dermatologist tomorrow, in the meantime, I’m thinking about just taking low dose prednisone again, but I don’t want a worse flare or to hurt the life growing inside. My husband tried to help me feel better emotionally, thank god, since I also can’t take my anti anxiety meds. He is truly great, but you all know, sometimes you need to talk to someone who has been there. Thanks for even getting this far in my post if you have, and any help is more than appreciated.

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#2

I am really sorry you are going through this. I’m glad you decided to post here. I am also super glad to hear you have a supportive spouse - speaking from my direct experience that is GOLD. Let him help you.

Meanwhile, you will be surprised by how much simple vaseline will help your skin. The patches will stay red but the white, flaking, bleeding thing will go away pretty much immediately and stay away as long as you use it. The itching and pain will go down as well.

Some other natural things to do that are completely safe for your baby are:

  • Gentle exercise (pregnancy yoga)

  • mineral baths - warm water with epsom salt

  • meditation (I like the 4-7-8 breathing exercise by Dr. Weil https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRPh_GaiL8s)

  • acupuncture (if you are in the US I can probably refer someone with relevant experience)

  • FOOD. I used all caps because this is a really big one. I am not sure how familiar you are with anti-inflammatory foods vs. inflammatory foods, it’s a whole thing that I’m happy to get into if appropriate but I am guessing it’s laid out here on the message boards already.

I hope this helps!

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#3

Thank you. I have not tried acupuncture yet, but am willing to try anything! I think that is my next step. I have gone through the auto immune protocol diet a couple times to weed out the inflammatory foods and know which ones make me flare worse. A lot of my favorites, of course! Right now, I am just trying to eat ANYTHING because I’ve already lost 6 pounds in a week from the nausea and food aversions I have being newly pregnant. But I will go through the anti inflammatory foods again, and add in as many as I can and reduce the amount of inflammatory again! I’m having a hard time with sugar, I’m craving it. Have to find an alternative :slight_smile: thanks for the advice. Epsom bath, here I come!

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#4

I’m really sorry to hear you’re having such trouble with P and PsA symptoms, on top of morning sickness to boot! I really hope you find some relief from both soon and can start enjoying your pregnancy. I found nibbling arrowroot biscuits or dry crackers helped with my morning (all day!) sickness. Sucking a boiled sweet can help too, strong tastes like mint might make you worse but ice cubes are always good.
I had a flare up of symptoms after my first was born and relied a lot on vaseline and diprobase. I was also put on a vitamin d supplement and took pregnacare total with the omega supplement daily. I had the odd oatmeal and lavender teabag bath (homemade from porridge oats and dried lavender sealed up in old pop socks or tights).
I was fortunate enough to be kept on Humira for my second pregnancy up until third trimester, and could start again under advice and monitoring, not long after birth (despite breastfeeding) with no adverse affects.
I have recently discovered Children’s Farm moisturiser which is brilliant for dry sensitive skin plus it smells really nice and isn’t really greasy. I also love Lush Sleepy cream at night, I’ve struggled with sleep and anxiety for years and have tried a lot of natural things for calming and for me this is the best.
I hope you find something that suits you, you’ll probably find like I did that it’s a bit of trial and error but you’ll get there! Xx

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#5

Oh my I feel for you, hunny. I’d ask your doctor but I believe a lot of herbal teas are safe during pregnancy. Many Help with nausea and anxiety as well as sleep.

You mentioned craving sugar. I’ve replaced sugar with honey. The best is that you get from your area unrefined or no processing.

I found some natural soaps online through Amazon. I like tea tree oil soap. It seems to help my itchy spots especially “down there”. But you may want to check with your doctor or pharmacist for safety when pregnant.

Sure hope you find something to help you through this. Praying for you and your little one. God bless!

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#6

Hi, my name is Mary and I was diagnosed with PsA about 11 years ago, and I am a retired OB nurse. It is so very important that during your pregnancy that your OB and your rheumatologist communicate frequently. As far as the skin concerns go, the genital area is so important and some ointments do well in controlling the itching as well as the psoriatic thickening and flaking. Most medications that we use for PsA are damaging to the fetus so please read up closely on them. If you are prescribed a low dose prednisone, be aware that that can elevate your glucose levels. This can be a problem later in pregnancy so it will be checked more frequently. As you go through the pregnancy try meditation for anxiety and herbal teas. These can be calming and that is what you are striving for. Warm soaks, but never over 100 degrees will soothe the joints for a short time, remember to never turn a heating pad on high. It’s too easy to burn your skin as we tend to have a higher tolerance for needing heat on joints. The other thing that may help both anxiety and discomfort in your ribs and joints is a good massage therapist. Feel free to look close around your area for a support for those with chronic pain group as well. You never know where you’ll find help. Make sure that all the nursing staff that attend you know that you have psoriasis and problem skin so they will use other skin cleansers that would not necessarily cause more irritation for you. Also, check out your local natural grocery and health food store. They usually carry excellent soaps and lotions for your tender skin. Good luck and God bless.

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#7

For the nausea that accompanies pregnancy, utilize the sour and salty trick. Try combining lemonaide and potato chips as a snack when you are nauseated. Also, try to keep something in your stomach as nausea is worse when it is empty. Good luck

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