Pregnancy often becomes an issue with young women who have Lupus. The disease often strikes during the childbearing years when most young women are planning to have babies. It is a real concern as Lupus is a chronic multi-symptom disease that affects the immune system.
Some of the more common concerns women have are:
Is it safe to conceive?
Will the condition of pregnancy cause flare-ups with my disease?
At what point in my disease is the best time to get pregnant?
Why does my doctor want me to have so many more visits than a normal pregnancy?
Are my Lupus medications safe to take during pregnancy?
Will Lupus affect my unborn baby?
Will I need to have a Caesarian Section?
Will Lupus affect my ability to breastfeed?
Will I have difficulty conceiving because of Lupus?
If my partner has Lupus, will that have any affect on our chance of conception?
These are all commonly asked questions and normal for a couple to be thinking about when they want to conceive a baby. It is wise to consult your physician as well as the obstetrician you plan on using while pregnant. Immune issue diseases have a close connection to being able to conceive.
Obstetricians recognize that complications can arise during pregnancy and close monitoring will be conducted. Many normally occurring aches and pains of pregnancy will need to be taken into account when treating the mom-to-be with Lupus. Blood clotting is also a concern because of placental bleeding (occurring during the 2nd trimester), and bleeding issues surrounding labor. Despite problems associated with pregnancy for moms with Lupus, 50% of all women who have Lupus at the time of their pregnancies have successful births with healthy babies. Fetal loss in utero statistically is 20% of all known Lupus related conceptions, which is not that much higher than otherwise normal pregnancies that have a 15% miscarriage rate for women in their 20’s and 30’s. All Lupus pregnancies are considered high risk. Women who have Lupus are cautioned against having home births, since complications could arise. The most common pregnancy related flares for the mom-to-be with Lupus are rashes, arthritis and fatigue (a common pregnancy symptom anyways). There have been some women who have reported experiencing a decrease in symptoms during their pregnancies. It is possible that the increases blood flow during pregnancy may aggravate skin rashes.
The most successful pregnancies have been obtained when Lupus has been in remission for at least 6 months prior to conception. Other than miscarriage the greatest danger to the baby is premature birth (born before 36 weeks of gestation). The majority of babies born weighing at least 3lbs., have healthy outcomes.
As far as when it is the male who has Lupus and any conception issues: young men who have lupus are fertile and have normal reproductive abilities. Their disease should have not affect on their ability to be sexually active.
It is always a concern to take any kind of medication during pregnancy; however it is important to follow treatment plans devised by your physician who understands your disease and it’s affect on your unborn baby. Most of the medications that are commonly taken by lupus patients are safe to use during pregnancy including Prednisolone and Aspirin. No medications should be used without a physician’s advice or knowledge.