Anatomic and physiologic adaptations within the renal system during pregnancy are significant. Alterations are seen in renal blood flow and glomerular filtration, resulting in changes in normal renal laboratory values. When these normal renal adaptations are coupled with pregnancy-induced complications or preexisting renal dysfunction, the woman may demonstrate a reduction of renal function leading to an increased risk of perinatal morbidity and mortality. This article will review normal pregnancy adaptations of the renal system and discuss common pregnancy-related renal complications.
La Casa De Buena Salud (The House of Good Health), Family Practice Medicine, Portales, New Mexico (Thorsen)
Perinatal Outreach Education Coordinator, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Carolinas Medical Center, Charlotte, North Carolina (Poole)
Submitted for publication: August 1, 2001
Accepted for publication: November 8, 2001