Thursday, October 17, 2019

HEALTHIER YOU: Lupus and pregnancy

May 22, 2019 by  
Filed under Health

Lupus and pregnancy

BY DR. ANNETTE MAYES, OB/GYN

DR. ANNETTE MAYE

May is Lupus Awareness Month, and many women wonder whether lupus may increase the risk for birth defects.

Women with lupus can have healthy pregnancies — however, they also have a higher chance for complications.

Lupus is formally known as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). It is an autoimmune disease that affects many different parts of the body. Autoimmune diseases occur when the body’s immune system attacks its own cells or organs. SLE affects women more than men. Most women are diagnosed in their 20s or 30s.

Lupus does not affect a woman’s ability to become pregnant. However, some women with high disease activity have reported missing periods, which may make it harder to get pregnant. Some medications used to treat lupus can affect how your ovaries work and this might make it harder to get pregnant. Women with kidney disease may also have a harder time getting pregnant.

It is not clear whether pregnancy increases the number of lupus flares or new symptoms of lupus in women who are expecting. But some studies have suggested a small increased chance for flares — with symptoms that range from very mild to severe.

Yes, lupus in the mother can lead to symptoms of lupus in the baby. This is called neonatal lupus erythematosus (NLE). NLE is seen mostly in children whose mothers have certain antibodies in their blood. Several of the signs of neonatal lupus (like rashes, blood abnormalities that only show up in a blood test, and liver problems) are usually temporary and often disappear by age 6 months — sometimes sooner.

If you have a diagnosis of lupus, it is important to see your Ob/Gyn prior to becoming pregnant in order to discuss your medical care during pregnancy. Baseline blood tests are usually taken to determine how well your kidneys and other organs are working before pregnancy. It is also important to discuss your medications to make sure they are safe to use in pregnancy.

For additional information call the Las Vegas All Women’s Care at (702) 522-9640. Or visit us at 700 Shadow Lane #165 in Las Vegas.

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