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Lupus and Pregnancy: What You Need to Know

There was a time when women were told that pregnancy was impossible if they had lupus. While all lupus pregnancies are still considered high risk, advances in medical technology and in our understanding of the disease have made it possible for women with lupus to have successful pregnancies. But there are a few things to keep in mind.

Remember, lupus is an autoimmune disease. When a person has an autoimmune disease, his or her body’s immune system can’t tell the difference between harmful invaders such as viruses, bacteria, and germs from the body’s healthy tissue. As a result, the immune system attacks the healthy tissue and causes inflammation, pain, and damage.

Lupus is also a chronic disease. This means that the signs and symptoms of the disease last longer than 6 months and sometimes for years. It occurs most often in women of childbearing age and can cause a number of complications in pregnant women, including miscarriage. However, many women with lupus do not have any complications, and give birth to healthy, full-term babies. Below are steps that you can take to help you before and during pregnancy.

5 steps you can take before and during pregnancy

Step 1: Work with your rheumatologist well ahead of time to plan your pregnancy

Step 2: Try to be as healthy as possible when you’re trying to get pregnant

Step 3: Choose an obstetrician who has experience in high-risk pregnancies

Step 4: Continue to see your rheumatologist

Step 5: Pay attention to your body

Signs that you need to call your doctor right away

If you have any of the following symptoms or new or unexplained symptoms, call your doctor right away. It could be a sign that something is wrong.

Andrew Koenig, D.O., F.A.C.R., is a rheumatologist and the Inflammation/Immunology Group Lead for North America Medical Affairs at Pfizer, Inc.

[1][2][3][4][5]

References

  • 1. Lupus Foundation. Accessed 3/24/17.
  • 2. Buyon JP, Kim MY, Guerra MM, et al. Predictors of pregnancy outcomes in patients with lupus. Ann Intern Med. 2015;163:153-163.
  • 3. Lupus Research Alliance. Accessed 3/3/17.
  • 4. Lateef A, Petri M. Managing lupus during pregnancy. Best Pract Res Clin Rheumatol. 2013;27(3):1-20.
  • 5. What is a perinatologist and when to see one. Accessed 3/24/17.