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Psoriasis and pregnancy

Psoriasis is an immune system disorder that causes red and scaly patches on the skin. Psoriasis is not contagious but it is a mix-up in the signals that are sent from the immune system to the skin's cell growth cycles. It is likely that a combination of inherited genetic factors and environmental factors combine to cause psoriasis. According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, people with the condition are at risk for developing other diseases such as arthritis, heart disease, inflammatory bowel disease and diabetes. While psoriasis doesn't affect the reproductive system, but treatments for the disease during pregnancies can cause birth defects. The severity of psoriasis varies from person to person. For some people there is only a small area of the body that is mildly affected while others may experience more discomfort and itching by having large areas of the body affected. 

Pregnant women with psoriasis have a significantly increased risk of spontaneous abortion, preterm birth, hypertension ectopic pregnancy and other problems. So due to this reason many women with psoriasis worry about becoming pregnant and how their health might affect them and their baby. One study suggested that psoriasis increases the risk for pregnancy complications, such as high blood pressure and the need for cesarean delivery, although another study did not confirm such type of risk factor in pregnancy. Many women will experience improvement in psoriasis symptoms during pregnancy. However, most will experience an increase in symptoms after delivery. In a study of 91 pregnancies, 56% of women reported that symptoms improved, about 18% reported symptoms stayed the same, and 26% reported that symptoms worsened.

Dangers of Psoriasis on Pregnancy

Who have psoriasis are afraid of passing it on to their children. As psoriasis is not a contagious disease, so there is no risk of passing it on to a child through cuddling or breastfeeding. But, there is a genetic predisposition towards psoriasis. Most dermatologists, knowing someone is planning on becoming pregnant, would recommend stopping treatments, although we think they are generally safe,” Dr. Hsu says. “Most psoriasis treatments are more than a decade old, but we don’t know the risks, so we’re just trying to be careful.”

Some past evidence has indicated psoriasis increases the risk of certain pregnancy complications, such as recurrent spontaneous abortion and hypertension and other research has turned up no association between psoriasis and poor pregnancy outcomes.

On the basis of one analysis, pregnant women carrying the "severe psoriasis" classification were 1.4 times more likely to give birth to LBW infants than comparable age and risk-matched control women. In contrast, women with only mild psoriasis were no more likely to have LBW infants than psoriasis-free control women. Psoriasis was not statistically associated with other negative fetal outcomes.

There is some debate about how psoriasis and other dermatological conditions affect the risk of miscarriage. According to a large-scale study, published in 2007 in the medical journal Dermatology, however, followed approximately 3,100 pregnancies and found that the risk of miscarriage was similar to those without psoriasis.

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