Pregnancy and lupus nephritis

H Julkunen
Scandinavian Journal of Urology and Nephrology 2001, 35 (4): 319-27
Family planning and pregnancy are important and usually problematic issues for a young woman with lupus nephritis. Moderate renal insufficiency and previous use of alkylating cytotoxic drugs are associated with decreased fertility. Oral contraceptives containing synthetic estrogens are contraindicated in women with active lupus nephritis, uncontrolled hypertension, history of thromboembolic diseases or high levels of antiphospholipid antibodies. Mild flares of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) are common during pregnancy, severe renal flares and permanent impairment of renal function are uncommon. The outlook of pregnancy for women with lupus nephritis is usually favourable if the disease (both renal and nonrenal) has been quiescent for at least 6 months before pregnancy, and if, at conception, serum creatinine is less than 140 micromol/l, proteinuria less than 3 g/24 h and blood pressure controlled. The risk of fetal loss is, however, at least 2-3 times higher than in the normal population and pre-eclampsia, prematurity and fetal growth retardation frequently complicate these pregnancies. Especially poor fetal outcome is associated with antiphospholipid antibodies. Pregnancies in women with lupus nephritis require intense fetal and maternal surveillance.

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