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Systemic lupus erythematosus and pregnancy

Molad, Yair

Current Opinion in Obstetrics and Gynecology: December 2006 - Volume 18 - Issue 6 - p 613–617
doi: 10.1097/GCO.0b013e32800ff5c5
Women's health

Purpose of review Pregnancy in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus is associated with a high risk of maternal disease exacerbation and adverse fetal outcome. This review summarizes recent published findings on lupus pregnancy.

Recent findings The literature is in agreement that for most women with inactive and stable systemic lupus erythematosus, pregnancy is safe for both mother and fetus. The main risk factors for adverse pregnancy course and outcome are active disease, nephritis with proteinuria, hypertension, and maternal serum antibodies to SS-A/Ro, SS-B/La, cardiolipin, β2-glycoprotein I, and lupus anticoagulant. Recent studies have broadened our understanding of the immunological mechanism underlying congenital heart block induced by anti-Ro/La antibodies. In addition, the approach to oral contraceptives has been modified on the basis of two well controlled studies suggesting that they do not cause exacerbation of inactive or mild disease.

Summary Pregnancy in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus is safe and manageable provided the disease is stable. Patients should be evaluated before pregnancy for pregestational risk factors and be closely followed during pregnancy. In most cases of lupus flare during pregnancy, the disease can be safely managed.

Rheumatology Unit, Rabin Medical Center, Beilinson Campus, Petah Tiqwa and Internal Medicine, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel

Correspondence to Yair Molad, MD, Rheumatology Unit, Rabin Medical Center, Beilinson Campus, Petah Tiqwa, 49100, Israel Tel: +972 3 937 6947; fax: +972 3 937 7062; e-mail:

© 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.