Monday, May 21, 2018

HEALTHIER YOU: Getting Pregnant with Lupus

BY DR. ANNETTE MAYES, OB/GYN

DR. ANNETTE MAYE

The month of May is Lupus Health Awareness Month. It is important that we all understand lupus, because so many African-American women have the disease — or know someone who does. People of all races get lupus, however, it is three times more common in black women than in white women. As many as 1 in 250 young black women will get the disease.

Lupus is a disease that can affect many parts of the body. It can affect the joints, the skin, the kidneys, the lungs, the heart, or the brain. Only a few of these parts of the body are affected in most people. Lupus attacks the body’s immune system. We can think of the immune system as an army within the body with legions of defenders known as antibodies. They defend the body from attack by germs and viruses. With lupus, however, the immune system becomes overactive. The antibodies attack healthy tissue in the body. This attack induces inflammation — causing redness, pain, and swelling in the affected parts of the body.

Many women with lupus may be concerned about conceiving and carrying a child. Pregnancy is no longer considered an impossibility if you have lupus. Advancing technology — alongside better understanding of the disease and its effects on the body — have improved pregnancy outcomes over the last 40 years.

Your chances for a successful pregnancy are excellent if you plan properly — when lupus symptoms are in remission — and you are monitored closely by your rheumatologist and specialists in maternal-fetal medicine.

Certain factors can make you a higher risk for lupus flares and poor fetal outcomes during pregnancy that include:

  • Pre-existing or current hypertension
  • History or presence of kidney disease
  • History of previous preeclampsia
  • History of low platelets
  • History of blood clots

Although many lupus pregnancies will have no complications, all lupus pregnancies are considered “high risk”— meaning problems may occur and must be anticipated. The best time to be pregnant is when you are doing well with your health. Women whose lupus is in remission have much less trouble with pregnancy than women whose disease is active.

For additional information, contact the Las Vegas All Women’s Care Offices at (702)522-9640. Or visit us at 700 Shadow Lane No. 165 (1st floor) in Las Vegas.

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