Perceptions of pregnancy and lactation from the pregnancy and lactation autoimmune network registry

Brooke S. Mills, Kathryn H. Dao, Kristen M. Tecson, Emily F. Beil, Rachel Tate, John Cush

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objective. The Pregnancy and Lactation Autoimmune Network (PLAN) registry was established to evaluate the concerns of women with autoimmune or inflammatory rheumatic diseases (AIRD) pertaining to pregnancy and lactation. Methods. The registry was started as a survey of patients with AIRD at a single rheumatology specialty center in November 2016 and included questions regarding fertility, pregnancy, miscarriages, and lactation before and after diagnosis. Results. The study included 154 subjects from the PLAN registry. More than half (52%) of respondents indicated that their diagnosis negatively changed their views on pregnancy and nearly a third (30%) decided not to have children after AIRD diagnosis. Most (66%) women were concerned that medication use during the childbearing process would affect the baby. One-third (34%) indicated their views on breastfeeding negatively changed as a result of their disease diagnosis. The rates and duration of breastfeeding did not differ significantly for babies born before or after the mothers' diagnosis (p = 0.50 and p = 0.21, respectively). Eighteen women in our study avoided breastfeeding or stopped breastfeeding earlier than planned to start a medication (including etanercept, adalimumab, hydroxychloroquine, and certolizumab) they believed to be contraindicated during lactation. The PLAN registry included 19 women who breastfed 22 babies while being exposed to a disease-modifying antirheumatic drug or biologic. None of these 19 women reported a delay in their children's developmental milestones or higher infection rates. Conclusion. This study highlights an unmet need in patients with AIRD of childbearing potential for data and education regarding pregnancy and lactation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-154
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Rheumatology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2020


  • Lactation
  • Patient education
  • Pregnancy
  • Rheumatic diseases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology


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