Pregnant, RA and headaches: Afternoon all. I am 1... - NRAS

26,490 members30,397 posts

Pregnant, RA and headaches

9 Replies

Afternoon all.

I am 16 weeks pregnant and was diagnosed with RA approx. 4 weeks ago. I have been given Hydroxychloroquine and Sulfasalazine (4 Tablets a day) which I have been taking for approx. 3.5 weeks.

I was feeling fine on them until last week and now I seem to get chronic headaches and neck pain every day. My question is - has anyone else had this and kept taking the meds for it to get better?

They haven't done anything for the RA yet but I know this can take a few months.

I also have Gestational Diabetes and am taking Metformin and Insulin for this. I read that they can interfere with each other but my Diabetic team have said no.

I work full time and have a 2.5 year old so all in all its taking its toll and I could do with some words of encouragement to keep going!

Sorry for rambling and thanks for reading!

9 Replies

I'm so sorry to hear this, pregnancy has so many potential problems anyway without having RA and its connected problems. Perhaps you could ring the NRAS helpline and ask for advice. 0800 298 7650 (Monday - Friday, 9.30am - 4.30pm).


You’ve been dealt a bit of a tough time, no doubt about that. The 2 medications you’ve been given (DMARDS) are probably the only 2 that could be used for someone who’s pregnant, which makes things a bit tougher, because they are going to take a while to achieve some change.

Out of the 2 that you’re taking, I’ve only taken Hydroxy. Nothing I’ve read suggests that headaches/neck pain are side effects of the medications you’re taking.

I agree with PoemsGalore, you need access to some regular help and advice - ring NRAS or the Rheumy Nurse if there is one available.

I’m sure Health Unlocked has a Diabetes Community (I think you search for Community) - they could be helpful. Also, welcome to our community! Hope some of this helps, cheers Deb :)


First, big welcome to our community. Second, I am so sorry you are struggling with young family, pregnancy etc then RA to deal with.

As others have said, best to call your Rheumatology advice line if you have one locally. They can look at your notes and get back to you with the right advice.

I had both the DMARDs you are taking and they did not cause the symptoms you describe. However, RA can and does for me. It affects my neck badly.

Headaches, for me, are caused by being too active when suffering RA and taking the drugs; uncontrolled RA, as yours is at the moment, needs special care, ensuring adequate rest. So does pregnancy!

I hope you soon get professional advice.

1 like

I really feel for you. I had a 3 year old and an 8 year old when Rheumatoid Arthritis came. I’m a 67 year old grandmother now with 2 grandsons. Are you off work now? You are trying to cope with so much ! Is there any way you could go part time? A two and a half year old is hard work too. May be your head aches are stress related or perhaps you’re not drinking enough water? But get it checked out.

I try to eat very healthily - lots of veg and fruit and fish and chicken. ( of course I have treats sometimes).

When you’ve had your baby if I were you I’d try the Paddison Programme ( google it). It has helped many.

Wishing you all the best.


Thank you for your replies. I'm really glad I have found this community - I've had so much going on recently its been good for me to read up on things and get some support!

I'm still working full time as baby not due until the end of March which means I'm just shattered by the end of the day and coming home to a toddler!

I eat pretty healthily at the moment anyway due to the gestational diabetes but probably don't drink enough.

I will try giving my Rheumatology helpline a call and will google the Paddison Programme. Thanks.

in reply to Newtorunnin

Diet is a big topic for many people with RD, and a bit of a heated topic on this site.

There is no evidence any of the expensive, advertised diets do any good at all, and they could remove a large chunk of money from your purse.

NRAS advises a healthy Mediterranean type diet. Eat fresh food, moderate your intake of processed foods, keep your weight in check. If you are diabetic your sugar intake will be ok anyway. Drink plenty water, especially when you are taking meds.

If any food upsets you , don't eat it (sugar upsets me) otherwise you have enough to deal with without making yourself complicated, expensive diets that your family won't eat!

Paddison and other diets sometimes sneak adverts / recommendations into this site so beware!


The above link has a wealth of information that you may find helpful.

If you would like to chat to another young mum over the phone we can arrange that for you by calling our helpline on 0800 298 7650.

Please see our previous posts regarding hte paddison programme this is not something NRAS would recommend especially in your present condition a well balanced nutrious diet is what dieticians would recommend. Well worth asking at your rheumatology department to be referred to speak with a dietician.

Good luck


I really think you should speak to your midwife or GP about your headaches and ask them to check your blood pressure and urine. It’s probably stress but it’s better to be safe.


I saw my midwife and Obstetrician on Tuesday. Mentioned the headaches and they weren’t worried. Blood pressure is fine. Just told me to take paracetamol.


You may also like...