The following is a summary of “Pregnancy Outcomes in Women With Rheumatoid Arthritis,” published in the January 2023 issue of Rheumatology by Sim, et al.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory rheumatic illness that can develop throughout the body and impair important organs. Compared to the general obstetric population, rheumatoid arthritis is related to more unfavorable maternal and newborn outcomes. Investigating the pregnancy outcomes in RA patients in contrast to the general pregnant population was the goal of the systematic review and meta-analysis.

The qualifying criteria were satisfied by 9 studies with a total of 11,999 RA patients and 9,921,808 controls. Random-effects statistical analysis was used to compare rheumatoid arthritis patients to their control counterparts. From their beginning till September 8, 2021, they searched databases. Studies that met the criteria included information on maternal (preeclampsia, cesarean birth, and/or preterm delivery), as well as neonatal, outcomes. With the use of a random-effects model, data were combined. Only RA patients were included in the subgroup analysis. The review was prospectively registered with PROSPERO.

In terms of maternal outcomes, RA patients had higher rates of cesarean delivery (1.55 odds ratio [OR]), preeclampsia (OR, 1.61), & preterm delivery (OR, 1.83) compared to control subjects. Neonatal outcomes included a greater risk of stillbirths (1.89 OR), admission to a neonatal critical care unit (1.34 OR), and lower gestational weights (mean difference [MD], −0.19 kg) in RA patients compared to controls. There was a subgroup analysis of 4 trials that only included RA patients (n = 3,761). A total of 14.8% of deliveries were preterm, 7.3% of patients had preeclampsia, 33.2% of patients underwent cesarean sections, and 9.5% of newborns had low birth weights. 

Women with RA often had a greater risk of maternal and newborn problems than the general pregnant population. The study aimed to raise awareness of the significance of managing and advising RA patients.