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Q&A: I have lupus. What should I know before getting pregnant?

I have lupus -- are there any precautions I need to take before getting pregnant?

Re: I have lupus -- are there any precautions I need to take before getting pregnant?

The Bump Expert

Luckily, studies have shown that pregnancy doesn't affect the long-term course of lupus, although flare-ups are more common after you deliver. It's also extremely unlikely that baby will be born with the disease, no matter how severe you own case. That said, it's best for you and baby if you can conceive when your disease is in a quiet period (if it's at all possible to plan this). Make sure to let your OB know you have lupus so she can get in touch with your regular doctor, if need be. It's good if both doctors are on the same page, to ensure you and baby stay as healthy as possible throughout your pregnancy.

Once you're pregnant, it's especially important for your doctors to keep close tabs on you. Lupus puts you at an increased risk for preeclampasia, a serous disorder that can damage the kidneys, liver, brain, heart, and eyes. So you and your doctor should be on the lookout for telltale symptoms including headaches, rapid weight gain, and swelling in your hands and/or face. If you're diagnosed with preeclampasia, you may need to stay in the hospital for monitoring, and baby may even have to be delivered early.

While moms with lupus deliver healthy babies all the time, it is important to know that patients with lupus or other autoimmune disorders are also at a higher risk of miscarrying. That's why proper treatment is so important for moms-to-be. Keep the lines of communication open between you and your doc.

Colleen Canney