Lupus

Pregnancy Results Good for Women Who Have Lupus

Not long ago, women with lupus were often told pregnancy was too risky. But new research confirms that when the disease is under control, women usually have healthy pregnancies and babies.

By Amy Norton
Not long ago, women with lupus were often told pregnancy was too risky. But new research confirms that when the disease is under control, women usually have healthy pregnancies and babies.

The study, of 385 pregnant women with lupus, found that 81 percent gave birth to a full-term, normal-weight baby.

It’s not always an easy road, though, the researchers found. And some women — including those with high blood pressure and symptom flare-ups during pregnancy — had higher risks of complications, including pregnancy loss and preterm delivery.

Black and Hispanic women also faced greater risks than white women, for reasons that are not fully clear, experts added.

The study, published in the June 23 online edition of Annals of Internal Medicine, reinforces what many doctors are already telling women with lupus: If you plan for pregnancy and get your symptoms under the best control possible, your chances of a healthy pregnancy are high.

Still, that confirmation was needed, said Dr. Bevra Hahn, who wrote an editorial published with the study.

“The teaching that disease activity is an important harbinger of poor [pregnancy] outcomes was not universally accepted before this study, because of the limitations of prior [research],” said Hahn, a rheumatologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, Medical Center.

“This study puts the matter to rest,” she said.Lead researcher Dr. Jill Buyon agreed. “We’ve come to a time where we’re telling women with lupus, ‘Yes, you can become pregnant,'” she said.

“This study provides reassurance that we’ve been doing the right thing.

“But just as important, Buyon added, the findings give a clearer picture of which women are at greater risk of pregnancy complications.

According to Buyon, that doesn’t mean a woman with a risk factor should not become pregnant — but that she and her doctor should be prepared.

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