Getting Pregnant With Lupus…There Are Risks

In the past women with lupus were advised to not get pregnant because of how high the risks were for these women. However, thanks to advancements in technology, as well as a better understanding of lupus, women are no longer advised to avoid pregnancy. In fact, the chances of having a successful pregnancy with lupus have vastly improved over the last four decades, as long as certain things are kept in mind.

One of the most important things to consider when getting pregnant with lupus is understanding the risk factors. For women with lupus certain risk factors will increase the odds of a flare up, even if the lupus has been in remission. These same risk factors will also drastically increase the chances of something going wrong during the pregnancy. The risk factors that women with lupus need to watch out include a history of kidney disease, previous preeclampsia, low platelets, blood clots, antiphospholipid antibodies, and hypertension.

As a woman with lupus, you must understand that while most pregnancies will be free of complications they are still considered to be high risk. What this means for women with lupus is that they need to be aware of the fact that problems can occur during pregnancy, but there are some things steps that can be taken ahead of time to reduce the risk. With lupus, it is best to get pregnant when the disease is in remission rather than active. It has been shown that women who are in remission have far less issues during their pregnancy than women who are dealing with an active disease.

While not all pregnancies are planned women with lupus will find the pregnancy is easier if they plan it ahead of time. Talking with the doctor before you try getting pregnant allows your health care professional to review your list of medications and make any changes that are necessary. Many lupus medications have been found to cause fetal problems, but luckily, safer alternatives are found. For example, your doctor may suggest you quit taking mycophenolate mofetil and replace it with azathioprine.

Once you are pregnant, you will want to ensure you are seen by an obstetrician who specializes in high-risk pregnancies, which can be a maternal-fetal specialist or a perinatologist, as well as your rheumatologist. Some women are lucky and discover that their rheumatologist can also treat their pregnancy as well. No matter what type of doctor you decide to go with it is important to see them on a regular basis as there are specific labs that must be done as soon as you are pregnant, as well as your regular checkups.

Once pregnant it is important that you listen to your doctor and do as you are told. Make sure that you tell them about anything that concerns you, no matter how minor it might sound. Women with lupus are more likely to suffer complications such as preeclampsia, impaired kidney function, lupus flare-ups, HELLP Syndrome, early deliver, and fetal loss. While these complications sound horrible, knowing about them allows help to be sought sooner rather than later.

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