Women with lupus have less live births than otherwise healthy women.
"Talk to your doctor before getting pregnant."
Pregnancy is an exciting time for most women. However, it can be a stressful time as well, especially if the mother has lupus.
While it is entirely possible for a woman with lupus to have a healthy baby, she should also know the risks she faces before she decides to get pregnant.
Évelyne Vinet, M.D., of McGill University Health Centre in Montreal, and colleagues recently carried out a study to measure the number of live births in women with lupus.
The results show that women had 32 percent fewer live births after being diagnosed with lupus, compared to before diagnosis.
"Lupus is in the family of autoimmune disorders," says Jennifer Mushtaler, M.D., an obstetrician in Austin, Texas. "As a whole, these disorders tend to complicate pregnancy for both mother and fetus."
Dr. Mushtaler, who was not involved in the study, explains that these autoimmune conditions can lead to thrombophilias, or disorders that promote blood clotting, and other complications that can pose a risk to the placenta.
"As a generalist, I co-manage these pregnancies with a perinatologist," she says. "We perform more aggressive surveillance on mother and baby during the pregnancy, and have a low threshold for early delivery if indicated on behalf of the baby or the mother."
The study involved 1,334 women with lupus. These women had a total of 559 live births, which was lower than the expected number of 708 live births.
"After diagnosis, women with [lupus] have substantially fewer live births than the general population," the authors conclude.
These findings suggest that doctors need to keep a close watch on their pregnant patients suffering from lupus.
The study is published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.