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Joint problems during / after pregnancy

(24 Posts)
vole3 Mon 23-Jul-07 02:32:29

In addition to carpal tunnel probs, the pregnancy hormones turned most of my ligaments to mush so I strained / sprained joints really easily.
I had hoped that as ds is now 5 weeks old things would be improving, but if anything, they're getting worse. He is growing like a weed and putting on 10 oz a week, so the additional weight to lump about is not helping, even though it shows the bf is going well! He's feeding 2 1/2 hourly day and night, although more often than not sleep evades me because of not being able to get comfortable.
I've forgotten what it is like to have thumbs that work and find caring for myself, let alone ds a slow and painful process. As for poppers, if I can get them done up, then I can't undo them and vice versa.
At the moment I have probs with pain and stiffness in both feet, ankles, knees, shoulders and elbows, but at least my back is OK.
Sorry to winge, but paracetamol and brufen are doing b*gger all to help and having taken them continuously now for over a month I'm wondering if there is any point taking them, although I seize up entirely if I don't.

Has anyone else had similar probs and what / when did they resolve. I have been referred to a rheumatologist by my GP in case it's not pregnancy related and just co-incidental that it has manifested itself at this time.

bananabump Mon 23-Jul-07 07:22:06

Hi, just wanted to bump this post, it sounds like you're going through a rough time of it at the moment, must be very difficult dealing with a newborn while feeling so shitty.

I'm currently 38+2 and dealing with hips that don't want to stay in their sockets. No other joint pain but that's enough, trust me!

I'm glad your GP is taking it seriously and getting you seen by someone. Isn't there any stronger pain meds he could give you for now?

I think all you can do in the meantime until you see your rheumatologist is treat them like sprains/muscle pain, and take as many hot baths as possible, use hot water bottles to ease them etc, and drink plenty of water as often it helps.

Is your partner around to help with the baby? don't take on too much. You might be better off using little pull on nighties ofr the baby, or pull on tshirts and soft trousers if your fingers are having probs with the snappers. Sounds crap though, hope you get it sorted soon!

vole3 Mon 23-Jul-07 10:29:32

Thanks bananabump. It's nice to know I'm not the only one, but I hope things sort themselves out for you. On a good note, the birth was easy so obviously the ligaments that needed to soften did!

DH goes back to work today after 5 weeks off, so we shall see what happens. He has been fantastic around the house and caring for ds so I shall really miss the help (although neither of us are keen on ironing so we all looked creased unless I get to the tumble-dryer quickly ).

nightshade Mon 23-Jul-07 10:32:04

although i wasn't as severe as yourself, i did experience a lot of pain and stiffness in my joints after childbirth.

think it lasted about 6mths?
completely stopped after this.

bananabump Mon 23-Jul-07 12:46:59

Hope I have a nice easy birth with all my uber-relaxed ligaments too then!

Sod the ironing, life's too short! I hardly ever iron anything, this baby is going to be healthy but scruffy! lol

Annie12 Sat 28-Jul-07 22:52:37


I have been doing a bit of surfing re. joint pain as my youngest daughter suffered terribly with it. She has a 7 week old little boy and started feeling pain on her shoulders about 3-4 weeks ago which she put down to having carried a piece of furniture upstairs. However, the pain got worse and spread to feet/ankles/knees/hands/fingers etc. etc. She was in so much pain she cried, especially in the morning when she could hardly move/walk. She had blood tests and the doctor told her to take Ibuprofen and paracetemol after she had already tried Cocodamel. Some days she would be better than others. However, the second doctor gave her something stronger which seems to be working (Diclofenac). She still aches a bit if she has done a bit during the day but it is a great improvement. She also takes paracetemol. She had a positive result in the arthritis blood test but these can sometimes show a false positive but she is going to see a rheumatologist soon. The more I read on the web re. these joint pains the more astonished I become. I did not know that is seems to be quite common for women to experience joint pain as nobody I know has had it. It could be something viral which will just suddenly disappear. Most women seem to be ok after a few months or even after giving up breastfeeding. The key is to try and find the correct medication as there is something to help alleviate the symptoms.
Look at this website afterpregnancyP57/

vole3 Sun 29-Jul-07 08:14:00

Hi Annie12, quick question for you.

Was your daughter bf whilst on diclofenac? I'm not due to see my GP for another week and the rheumatologist the week after and can't find any info other than 'to be discussed with doctor' as to it's suitability whilst feeding.

If I can't take anything else whilst bf, I'm going to have a tough decision. I love bf ds and it's going really well and I don't want to stop unless I have to . If the choice is to bf but not be able to care for him, then I guess we will have to change or I start expressing like mad to get as much stock in the freezer as possible.

Annie12 Sun 29-Jul-07 10:38:23

Hi, My daughter was bf but had to give up when taking the Ibuprofen. You would therefore have to give up to take the prescription stuff too. She had only just bought an expensive milk expresser too but the option was not being able to function properly as a mother or bottle feeding. Baby is doing really well - birthweight 7lb and at 7 weeks he is 13lb. My daughter is getting much better every day. She had a short walk out with the pram yesterday and is feeling ok today whereas on the Ibuprofen she would have really been paying for the walk today!

Do your joints feel hot or just stiff and aching. Is it worse on one side of your body? My daughter would feel a lot better as the day went on but then would stiffen up after a night in bed.

Hope this helps! Regards

MaryBS Sun 29-Jul-07 16:31:03

I had a lot of lower back pain for a few months after. My Dr gave me acupuncture which really helped, and of course, doesn't impact on BFing

MadLabOwner Sun 29-Jul-07 16:34:27

I had aching ankles, knees and wrists/fingers at the end of my pregnancy and for a while afterwards. I think the wrist/hand stiffness went fairly quickly - a few weeks, but the ankle and knee pain took longer to shift - around 4 months post birth IIFC. Doc said that this was normal, and things get back to normal within 6 months.

vole3 Mon 30-Jul-07 03:37:00

I was prescribed ibuprofen whilst on postnatal ward to help with pain relief after 3rd degree tear and they knew I was bf and GP agreed that I could continue to take it for the joint problems.

The joints themselves are slightly swollen, can feel warm, but are not red. I'm right handed, so right hand and wrist tend to give more problems than the left, but the other joints are sometimes symmetrically painful and sometimes not. Even during the day writing is difficult, but typing is OK so I have had to type all my 'thank you' notes. I'm a bit stiff when I get up, tend to get more mobile as the day wears on, but pain and stiffness get worse again from 7pm onwards and over night the hand / wrist pain is at its worst. Might be because I've rested and things have got stuck in one position or could be that we are all at a low ebb in the small hours and things seem worse when we're tired. I have to use both hands to lift the kettle and can just about manage to unscrew already opened jars etc with my left hand, but things like squeezing toothpaste I do by putting the tube on a flat surface and squishing it with the side of my fist as I have no power / lots of pain with a pincer grip. I'm glad that ds is not at the talking stage yet as otherwise his first words could be very interesting
It would be nice to be able to soak in a warm bath, but after almost getting stuck whilst dh at work I have given up on that idea!

I looked up the link, Annie12, and was surprised to see how frequently this problem occurs. I mentioned it to my brother who is a GP in New Zealand and it came as a surprise to him.

bumperlicious Mon 30-Jul-07 07:37:37

Vole, don't have any advice but just wanted to to say that there is a bunch of us on the Born in June post natal group here if you want to come and join us for a whinge and a laugh!

Annie12 Tue 31-Jul-07 08:39:24

Hi again Vole3. It is amazing that daughter's GP advised giving up bf and yet you were able to take it! I wish these so-called professionals would get their act together. Perhaps she could have carried on but having said that she was having difficulty in lifting and holding baby when on Ibuprofen anyway. I think it does help to know that you are no alone with these problems but I am shocked that it is not so widely known. There are other websites - babycenter for instance where there are more women complaining of the same thing. My daughter is not 'soft' and even found the pain of childbirth ok but this joint pain has had her in tears! I think it is probably hormonal as women get similar aches and pains (although perhaps not so severe) during the menopause. It may also be that because she had IVF her hormones are a bit haywire. Anyway, all I know is that she is a different person this week having taken the new painkiller (along with paracetemol of course) so I just hope she carries on like this until whatever it is disappears. Hope you are managing to cope now that DH has gone back to work.

Take care, Annie12

Anonymama Tue 31-Jul-07 13:49:59

Hi Vole
I'm 17wks now and suffering with really painful knees. Sometimes I can bearly stand up from a chair or loo! I've trawled the net for advice, and found some comments on netdoctor which suggested that joint pain in pregnancy is usually due the excess of progesterone and other hormones that relax the ligaments. Apparently the pain should ease a few months after birth.

Don't really have any advice or tips, but sounded like you are having a really difficult time, at a time when life is not easy anyway. Just wanted you to know that you are not alone, and to wish you well.

vole3 Tue 31-Jul-07 14:25:09

Just knowing that I'm not alone in this seems to be helping me cope better with it.

Annie12 Fri 03-Apr-09 14:17:43

Hi there, I know this mail is almost two years after we first spoke about Rheumatoid Arthritis. My daugher started with it 6 weeks after having her first baby. I just want to tell you what has happened with her lately and it might be of help to you if you are still suffering.

She visited a natural health clinic and was told she had many food intolerances and possibly a leaky gut. She was given some homeopathic drops and probiotics and she is brilliant now. I have tried to get to the bottom of why she started with RA just after pregnancy and apparently YEAST infections are very common during pregnancy because of hormones. (Her pains always did get worse during her period). Yeast infections in turn can permeate the gut causing LEAKY GUT. Food particles then escape from the gut and get into the bloodstream. Toxins are then formed and joint pain occurs due to autoimmune system. Anyway, google all those things and you will see the connection. It just seems such a coincidence that many young mums suffer like this. Daughter now eating things like chicken, turkey, few vegetables NO potatoes (only sweet ones), no sugar, caffeine, spices, black pepper. She is losing weight but was already doint so on her medication. See what you think when you google all these things. Look at YouTube McDougall Diet and reviews on Barbara D Allen's book CONQUERING ARTHRITIS to see how diet has helped many people.

Believe me my daughter can clench her fist, kneel down, run upstairs. Minor miracle and we hope it is going to last! Early days but things are working. She felt quite bad at first due to 'yeast die off' but it was worth it.

Bye for now


bakingcakes Tue 07-Apr-09 13:55:34

vole 3
Your rheumatologist will probably / should test you for Lupus - it is an auto-immune disease SLE ( which can be totally managed ) - it sometimes effects young women during their childbearing years - so often manifests around pregnancy. I am no expert, but see the doc and see what they say. In many cases small joint pain is dealt with using a very low dose of steroids which sounds alarming, but actually totally does the trick and at low dose does not have massive side effects - plus use of the old fingers again is a massive plus- it might just be your body readjusting a bit post the new arrival. Hope the mornings aren't too bad, warm baths and warm wax can help sore joints too -if you get the time to indulge!

Annie12 Wed 29-Apr-09 10:26:59

My daughter is now 4 weeks into the elimination diet for RA and is marvellous. She can do things she has not been able to do for 2 years almost. It is NO good masking the symptoms with drugs you need to find out if food is the trigger. I am not saying stop taking drugs at first but at least see what happens. DD is not now taking MTX which made her worse but is still taking sulfasalazine. This really is a miracle but if you get the book I mentioned in my last message you will be helped. If not, it is worth a few pounds to visit a naturopathic clinic. I admit the elimination diet is not easy - No yeast, gluten, wheat, dairy, lamb, potatoes,caffeine,tomatoes, black pepper..... but she manages and it is only for 6 weeks initially. There IS a cure for most people.
Hormone imbalance can cause yeast overgrowth (Candida), the yeast overgrowth then permeates the gut wall causing leaky gut and then this causes toxins to get into the bloodstream and the autoimmune system kicks in and RA. Read about it online.

I really do not want anybody to suffer as my DD has done NEEDLESSLY. Once her treatment has finished I shall be standing outside the hospital rheumatology clinic handing out leaflets! I shall also be sending this book to the consultant. There is however one rheumatologist Gail Darlington who treats patients by diet first of all. Other doctors just have the blinkered approach and have no interest in reading up on trials that have been done and have been SUCCESSFUL.

Take care.

MavisG Wed 29-Apr-09 13:14:41

It's not necessary to stop breastfeeding when taking ibuprofen or diclofenac. If your Dr is unsure, contact La Leche League - they'll point you to expert advice.

looloo2 Thu 30-Apr-09 09:36:18


My baby is 9 months now and I have been diagnosed with RA a few months ago. I am not currently on medication as I am BF but have been told to give it up so they can put me on sulfasalazine.

Thanks so much for this post as its encouraging to know I am not the only one as it can be a struggle sometimes with coping with the little one when your in pain.

I will definately look at the book and the links. Did your daughter actually have a food intolerance or is it cutting out these things from her diet that has helped?


Annie12 Tue 12-May-09 20:49:49

Hi Looloo2.

Sorry to hear that you have been diagnosed with RA. It is so common after having a baby due, I believe, to hormone imbalance. My daughter was really bad - could not even do the poppers on babygros at first. She tried acupuncture which helped for a bit. Please try to visit a nutritionist/naturopath/homeopath for help.

My daughter was given a test and found to be intolerant to certain things. She had no problems before other than sometimes she would get migraines from perhaps cheese/wine but NOT always. She is cutting all the foods out she is intolerant to now and is doing so well. When she eats something she is unsure of (when eating out) she gets soreness again. That goes after a few hours. She has had to cut out dairy, wheat, yeast, black pepper, tomatoes, potatoes, lamb, pork, salt..... I really hope that I can be of help to you as I cannot bear to think of others suffering in the same way as my daughter has for nearly 2 years. There is so much on the internet about this. Leaky gut is definitely implicated!

Google Gail Darlington, a rheumatologist from Epsom who treats patients by food elimination where possible. -Joint-Axis&id=356801

looloo2 Sat 30-May-09 10:45:04

Hi Annie12

Thanks for your message, I have googled Gail and found she is not too far away from me and as I have private health through work I was just going down that route to get a second opinion so I am now hoping that as she works at private practises too that I can be referred to her!

Fingers crossed. Otherwise I may well look at Homeopath etc. Or at least get an ALCAT test done - did they do the test for your daughter or did she do it herself?


Annie12 Sat 12-Sep-09 15:52:43

Hi Looloo2

I must check this website more often!

How are you doing? I do not know what test she had and I forgot to ask. I shall find out for you.

I hope you are improving. My daughter started to put foods back into her diet and it does seem to be sugar and perhaps gluten. She is taking the probiotics again which really do the trick but she has lost some weight and because she wanted to put it back on she ate sugary foods which affected her.

There is so much information regarding diet and RA. Also, I have seen that coeliac (celiac) disease can start after childbirth and if you look at the symptoms (you don't have to have them all)you will see JOINT PAIN....

'What causes celiac disease?
Celiac disease is a genetic disease that runs in families. A person can have the disease and not know it until it is triggered by severe stress, pregnancy, surgery, physical injury, infection, or childbirth.'


unexplained iron-deficiency anemia
bone or joint pain
bone loss or osteoporosis
depression or anxiety
tingling numbness in the hands and feet
missed menstrual periods
infertility or recurrent miscarriage
canker sores inside the mouth
an itchy skin rash called dermatitis herpetiformis
People with celiac disease may have no symptoms but can still develop complications of the disease over time. Long-term complications include malnutrition—which can lead to anemia, osteoporosis, and miscarriage, among other problems—liver diseases, and cancers of the intestine.

The website is

There is a book by Dr John Mansfield which I got from the library and is interesting as he treats RA patients by food elimination and if that is not totally successful he goes down the allergens/chemicals route. Google him on amazon and read reviews. He has a clinic too but again it is private.

Go to Conquering Arthritis website and look at the reviews for Barbara D Allan's book of the same name.

My daughter also did a liver/colon cleanse under the naturopath. It IS mostly something to do with hormones/candida/leaky gut/food. Have you tried cutting out gluten or sugar just to see if there is an improvement? At first you may feel worse (VERY good sign) - a bit flu-like which is called Herxheimer Reaction or Die-off due to the yeast die off in your body.

The more you read about it the more convinced you will be that you can help yourself.

Also I have seen Zyflamend which is a natural anit-inflammatory - I saw this on Conquering Arthritis. Far better than Ibuprofen I would have thought as they don't help if you have leaky gut - and a lot of us have it.

Let me know how you are going on.

Love Annie12

Jo1950 Sat 22-Mar-14 08:59:37

Ladies. Suggest you get your VitD levels checked.

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