Lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus) doesn't usually affect a woman's ability to conceive. But if you are having a lupus flare or are taking corticosteroid medicines, you may have irregular menstrual cycles. This can make it hard to plan a pregnancy.
If you plan to have a baby or are already pregnant, it's very important that you and your doctor discuss how lupus may affect your pregnancy.
- Most women with lupus have successful pregnancies. Women who become pregnant during lupus remission are more likely to have a successful pregnancy.
- Lupus increases the risk of fetal and pregnancy problems. This includes premature birth and stillbirth. This risk is greatest among women who have kidney problems or antiphospholipid, anti-Ro, or anti-La antibodies.
- Women are encouraged to wait until lupus is under control for at least 6 months before they try to become pregnant.
- Some women with lupus need to take medicines or have regular fetal monitoring or ultrasound while they are pregnant to reduce the risk of problems.
- It's not clear if women with lupus are more likely to have flares during pregnancy.
Talk with your doctor about which medicines you can take during pregnancy.
- Some lupus medicines, like acetaminophen and prednisone, are considered safe during pregnancy. Others may not be safe, such as immunosuppressant medicines and cytotoxic medicines.
- Your doctor may want you to avoid nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) while you're pregnant. These include ibuprofen.
If you have miscarried before, expect that your pregnancy will be closely watched. Talk to your doctor about whether you have tested positive for antiphospholipid antibodies. If so, anticoagulant treatment may improve your chances of having a healthy pregnancy.
Current as of: July 11, 2023
Author: Healthwise Staff
Clinical Review Board: All Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.