Having lupus doesn’t usually affect a woman’s ability to get pregnant, but many lupus patients experience complications and are generally considered high-risk pregnancies. We’ve put together a list of tips to help women with lupus have a healthy pregnancy with help from Web MD.
Meet with your rheumatologist to discuss pregnancy.
It’s important to meet with your rheumatologist before planning your pregnancy so they can discuss how pregnancy may affect them. Not all lupus patients suffer from the same symptoms, so they’ll also experience different issues in pregnancy.
Assess your risks.
Lupus patients don’t have a higher risk of miscarriage in the first trimester than women who don’t have lupus but they do have an increased risk of later miscarriage and stillbirths. Certain antibodies called anti-phospholipid and anti-cardiolipin are present in around a third of female lupus patients and these antibodies can lead to blood clots which can be dangerous during pregnancy for both mother and baby. A simple blood test can determine if the patient has these antibodies.
Assess your medications.
It’s likely that you will need to alter some of your medications or discontinue them while pregnant and breastfeeding. Your doctor will be able to advise you about which ones are safe and which ones you need to stop taking before you try to conceive.
Plan your pregnancy.
It’s impossible to predict when a person will have a lupus flare, but it’s better if you plan to start trying for a family when your lupus is in remission as there will be less risk of complications.
Visit your doctor regularly.
You’ll need to see your healthcare team more frequently during pregnancy that women without lupus. It’s important that you report any symptoms or signs of a flare immediately so they can be treated as quickly as possible, and your pregnancy will need to be carefully monitored throughout.
Look after yourself.
Pregnancy is tough on any woman’s body—it’s tiring growing another human. Lupus patients will feel this much more than others, so make sure to get plenty of rest, eat well, and stay hydrated. If you feel up to it, gentle exercise a few times a week will help as well.
Prepare for premature birth.
Approximately half of lupus patients will give birth prematurely due to complications from the disease. Have everything ready a few weeks before your due date and pick a hospital that specializes in neonatal care.
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