Pregnancy in lupus nephropathy

H Julkunen, R Kaaja, T Palosuo, C Grönhagen-Riska, K Teramo
Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica 1993, 72 (4): 258-63
The purpose of this study was to obtain information about the fetal and maternal outcome of pregnancy in patients with pre-existing lupus nephritis and to evaluate risk factors for poor fetal outcome. Twenty-six pregnancies in 16 patients were retrospectively analyzed. Induced abortions were performed in two patients and one patient had a spontaneous abortion. Of the 23 completed pregnancies, all clinically established on inactive lupus nephritis with normal renal function, seven (30%) were complicated by pre-eclampsia. Two of the three patients with severe pre-eclampsia had increased levels of antiphospholipid antibodies (aPL). Of the 23 newborns, seven (30%) were premature (< 37 weeks) and seven (30%) had neonatal complications. Six of the seven pregnancies associated with neonatal complications were hypertensive. There was one early neonatal death. Four newborns (16%) were severely growth retarded (< -2 SD). The presence of hypertension before pregnancy tended to correlate with low relative birth weight in the newborns (p = 0.079). Flares of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) during pregnancy and six months post partum occurred in two (9%) of the 23 completed pregnancies. Renal function was not affected irreversibly in any patient. Thus, the outlook for pregnancy in patients with stable lupus nephritis at conception is good. However, the risk of obstetric complications is greater and fetal morbidity, especially in hypertensive pregnancies, is common.

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