There are a number of increased pregnancy risks associated with lupus, including:
- Preeclampsia. Expectant moms with lupus have a 3 to 5 times higher risk of developing preeclampsia. This pregnancy complication occurs even more frequently among moms-to-be with lupus who also have kidney disease, antiphospholipid antibodies, or diabetes.
- HELLP Syndrome. This is a rare but serious liver and blood-clotting disorder that occurs usually in conjunction with preeclampsia and almost always in the third trimester.
- Preterm delivery. About a quarter of all pregnancies with lupus have a preterm delivery. Women with severe SLE have a higher risk of preterm delivery.
Because of your lupus, your pregnancy will be classified as high-risk, even if your disease is in remission. This means you’ll likely be assigned to a specialist who is familiar with high-risk pregnancies, and you’ll receive some extra tests at every visit. You’ll also have to visit the doctor more often: Most lupus patients check in with their practitioners every two to four weeks throughout pregnancy.
HOW PREGNANCY AFFECTS LUPUS
While studies indicate that pregnancy doesn’t affect the long-term course of this autoimmune disorder, less is certain about what a mom-to-be with SLE can expect symptom-wise during pregnancy itself. Luckily, women who conceive during a period of remission are less likely to experience a lupus flare-up during pregnancy. And while women who become pregnant while their lupus is active can expect to see an increase in symptoms, only 3 percent of those with SLE experience severe episodes during pregnancy.