Does Having Lupus Affect Pregnancy

Does Having Lupus Affect Pregnancy?

Pregnancy can be a particularly challenging time for women with lupus, as the changes in hormones, medications and the natural strain on the mother’s body can cause complications. Having lupus may lead to the need for extra monitoring and care during pregnancy and delivery, as well as extra care of the newborn, in order to ensure the health of all parties.

Risks during Pregnancy

The changes that occur in the body during pregnancy, as well as the medications used to treat lupus, can lead to potential risks for both mother and baby including:

  • High Blood Pressure: Pregnant women with lupus are at a higher risk for developing high blood pressure, which can put both mother and baby at risk.
  • Miscarriage: It is normal for women to have a miscarriage, but high levels of activity for women with lupus may increase risk.

  • Preterm Delivery: Women with lupus are more likely to deliver preterm, which can result in medical complications for the baby.
  • Preeclampsia: Women with lupus are at an increased risk for developing preeclampsia, a condition characterized by high blood pressure and protein in the urine.


The use of medications to treat lupus during pregnancy may also present potential risks to the baby and mother. The following medications should generally be avoided during pregnancy:

  1. Cyclophosphamide: This medication can be associated with faster tumor growth and is toxic to the fetus.
  2. Hydroxychloroquine: This medication has been associated with heart and eye defects in developing babies.
  3. Azathioprine: This medication carries risks of impaired fetal development.
  4. Methotrexate: Potential risks associated with the use of this medication includes certain types of birth defects.

Other Considerations

It is important for women with lupus to maintain healthy habits during pregnancy, including getting proper nutrition, regular exercise and rest. Women should also avoid any type of contact sports early in the pregnancy, as well as any activity that could lead to physical trauma.


Having lupus does not mean that a woman must forgo a successful pregnancy. With proper planning and good communication with an experienced healthcare provider, a woman can reduce the risks associated with lupus and pregnancy and plan for a healthy and happy experience. Although there may be risks, women with lupus can take heart knowing that there are also many women who have healthy pregnancies and successful deliveries.

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