One of the questions I hear with the most anxiety from women that are just diagnosed with Lupus (and want children), is how will Lupus affect any future pregnancies?
Obviously, if you don't want children or are not planning a pregnancy, you definitely don't have to worry about this!
For women with lupus who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, there are unique concerns and considerations that need to be addressed.
What can you do to have a safe pregnancy?
Impact of lupus on pregnancy
Lupus can increase the risk of pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia (high blood pressure in pregnancy), preterm labor, fetal growth restriction, and stillbirth. Women with lupus are also at increased risk of flares during pregnancy, especially in the first and second trimesters.
Lupus can also affect the fetus.
Some babies born to women with lupus may have a condition known as neonatal lupus. This is a rare condition that can cause a rash, liver problems, and low blood counts in the baby. Neonatal lupus is typically not life-threatening, and symptoms usually resolve within a few months of birth.
Managing lupus during pregnancy
Women with lupus who are planning to become pregnant should work closely with their healthcare provider to manage their disease. It is important to ensure that lupus is under control before becoming pregnant, as flares during pregnancy can increase the risk of complications.
During pregnancy, women with lupus should continue to take their medications as prescribed by their healthcare provider. Some medications used to treat lupus are safe to use during pregnancy, but some may need to be adjusted or discontinued depending on the individual case. Discuss with your provider if your current medications are appropriate for a potential pregnancy.
Regular prenatal care is essential for women with lupus. Women with lupus should see their healthcare provider regularly throughout pregnancy to monitor for complications and ensure that both the mother and baby are healthy. Also, discuss with a dietitian (like me!), your prenatal vitamins, habits and dietary choices that can support a healthy pregnancy and baby.
Delivery and postpartum care
Women with lupus may need special considerations during delivery. In some cases, a cesarean section may be recommended to reduce the risk of complications. After delivery, women with lupus may need to continue taking their medications to prevent flares.
Breastfeeding is generally safe for women with lupus, but some medications used to treat lupus may pass into breast milk. Women with lupus should discuss breastfeeding with their healthcare provider to determine the best approach.
In conclusion, pregnancy can be a unique challenge for women with lupus. Women with lupus should work closely with their healthcare provider to manage their disease and ensure the best possible outcomes for themselves and their babies.
If you're interested in learning more about diet and lifestyle changes to help you have a safe and successful pregnancy, schedule a meet and greet call with me today!