Having survived labour, you now have a little human to look after. Depending on how serious your arthritis is, it might impact on your new role as a parent only slightly, or it may cause major problems. And as the infant grows, your role as a father or mother might become more difficult.
Breastfeeding is unlikely to present any problems, but some drugs can be passed into breast milk. Make sure you discuss any potential side-effects with your doctor.
Lifting and carrying an infant is very demanding. If you have arthritis in the back or limbs you may find it increasingly difficult as the infant grows.
Speak to an occupational therapist about gadgets that can ease the load, such as high changing tables or basins. But even the most high tech nursery won’t prevent you having to bend for a fallen tube of nappy rash lotion, or hold on to a squirming, soap-lathered baby.
If your arthritis gives you stiff joints in the morning, the routine of nappies and burping in the wee hours, you should ask your partner to help out.
Delegate the heavy lifting and carrying. Invest in a baby backpack, which will reduce the strain of carrying a baby around.
(Susan Erasmus, Health24, updated February 2011)