Pregnancy For Women With Lupus Safer Than Previously Thought

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by Isaura Santos |

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Recent findings might help ease concerns for women suffering with lupus and interested in having a child. New research concluded that most women diagnosed with lupus and whose disease is not very active can go through a safe pregnancy. The results were published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

It has been suggested that women with lupus should avoid pregnancy due to the possibility of serious complications that could compromise both their own health and the health of the baby. As science evolved, women were told to wait until their symptoms were under control. However, doctors were not sure whether this was a good advice and if pregnancy would be favorable.

This study identified risk factors that might imply some women suffering with systemic lupus erythematosus are at higher risk for negative outcomes during pregnancy. These high risk factors include having active lupus disease, low platelet counts, high blood pressure and a positive lupus anticoagulant test result in their first trimester of pregnancy.

“One of the questions I’m most commonly asked by young women with lupus is whether it is safe to get pregnant. Our new study is quite reassuring in that in the majority of cases, both mother and baby can do well if lupus is under control at conception. For patients who may be facing a complicated pregnancy, we have been able to pin down some of the risk factors,” said lead author Jill Buyon, director of the Lupus Center at NYU Langone.

In this multicenter, multiethnic, and multiracial study — which is believed to be the largest of its kind — researchers assessed 385 pregnant women with lupus and found that 81 percent of all pregnancies were free from complications, with less than 1 in 5 women having at least 1 negative pregnancy outcome. Flares of lupus activity seemed to be quite rare and severe flares occurred in only 3 percent of the subjects.

Dr. Buyon warns that these findings might not be applicable to those with very active forms of the disease at conception. Such patients were excluded from this study since pregnancy is not recommended until women have their disease controlled.