Lupus and Pregnancy: A Simple Guide for Women with Lupus


Lupus can be a challenging autoimmune disorder to manage even under the best of circumstances. Combine lupus with the challenges of pregnancy, and the situation can become complex and overwhelming for many women. For women with this condition, planning for pregnancy and pregnancy itself is not a simple decision. However, with the right guidance and support, it is possible to navigate lupus and pregnancy with minimal stress. In this blog post, we’ll talk about the special challenges that come with lupus and pregnancy and provide useful tips to help you have a safe and healthy pregnancy.


A Story of Hope and Strength:

Emily was diagnosed with lupus in her twenties and always feared that her dream of becoming a mother might remain just that—a dream. When she finally decided to pursue pregnancy, the journey was filled with apprehension and numerous doctor visits. With meticulous planning and the support of her medical team, Emily managed her lupus well throughout her pregnancy. Despite the challenges, she gave birth to a healthy baby boy. Her story is a testament to the resilience and strength of women with lupus, proving that with the right care and determination, it is possible to have a healthy pregnancy while living with this ailment.


Key Points / Table of Contents

  1. Understanding Lupus and Pregnancy
  2. Preparing for Pregnancy with Lupus
  3. Managing Lupus During Pregnancy
  4. Postpartum Care for Women with Lupus
  5. FAQs about Lupus and Pregnancy
  6. Resources and References


Understanding Lupus and Pregnancy

Pregnancy in women with this illness requires special considerations due to the potential for complications such as preterm birth, preeclampsia, and flares of lupus symptoms. It is crucial to have a period of stable disease before conceiving, as active lupus can lead to higher risks during pregnancy. The goal is to manage lupus effectively to ensure both maternal and foetal health.

Scientific Reference: Studies have shown that women with lupus who have stable disease for at least six months before conception have better pregnancy outcomes (Petri et al., 1991).

“Effective preconception counselling and rigorous monitoring during pregnancy are paramount to achieving favourable outcomes in women with lupus” (Gamba et al., 2024).

Preparing for Pregnancy with Lupus

Understand Your Lupus Treatment: The first step to navigating lupus and pregnancy is to get a handle on your lupus treatment. Discuss with your rheumatologist and other healthcare providers the potential implications of your current treatment on pregnancy. Some medications may not be safe during pregnancy. For instance, methotrexate and mycophenolate mofetil should be avoided due to their teratogenic effects. It may be necessary to develop a new treatment plan that mitigates risks to you and your baby during pregnancy.

Scientific Reference: The use of certain lupus medications, like hydroxychloroquine, has been shown to be safe and beneficial during pregnancy (Clowse et al., 2006).

Fact: “Women with SLE taking hydroxychloroquine during pregnancy had lower disease activity, but did not have improved pregnancy outcomes” (Clowse et al., 2022).

“This large study of prospectively collected lupus pregnancies demonstrates a decrease in lupus activity among women who continue HCQ through pregnancy and no harm to pregnancy outcomes” (Clowse et al., 2022).

Make Lifestyle Changes: Lifestyle changes are important for managing this disease, and they become even more important when carrying. Eating healthy, exercising regularly, and managing stress can help control lupus symptoms and improve overall health, reducing the risk of problems like high blood pressure and early birth.

Scientific Reference: Dietary changes and regular exercise help manage lupus symptoms better (Liu et al., 2012).

“A balanced diet can be helpful in the prevention and management of SLE, contributing to the management of the disease activity as well as the reduction of co-morbidities, thus improving health and quality of life of patients with [systemic lupus].” (Aparicio-Soto et al., 2017).

Managing Lupus During Pregnancy

Work with the Right Team: Successful pregnancy planning with lupus involves working with a team of specialists, including your rheumatologist, obstetrician, and other experts. This team approach ensures you get the best care and helps manage any complications.

Scientific Reference: Multidisciplinary care models improve outcomes in high-risk pregnancies (Wind et al., 2021).


Stay Informed and Educated: Being educated about lupus and pregnancy helps you manage better. Learn about your diagnosis, possible risks, and the side effects of treatments during pregnancy. Connecting with others who have this condition and had children can provide valuable insights and support.

Scientific Reference: An integrated approach involving rheumatology and gynaecology experts is very helpful for patients dealing with fertility and rheumatological issues (Gamba et al., 2024).


Medication Management: Some medications are safe to continue during pregnancy, like hydroxychloroquine and azathioprine. However, some medications should be stopped because they can harm the baby. High doses of oral glucocorticoids should be avoided because they can lead to severe infections and pregnancy complications.

Scientific Reference: Hydroxychloroquine is recommended during pregnancy to control the disease, and stopping it can increase the risk of flares (Gamba et al., 2024).

Fact: “Pregnancy loss occurred in 12%, ranging from 2% in Italy to 23% in Israel. Preterm delivery occurred in 28% of all live births and pre-eclampsia in an estimated 12%” (Clowse et al., 2022).

“Among women with low lupus activity, HCQ reduced the odds of preterm delivery” (Clowse et al., 2022).

Postpartum Care for Women with Lupus

After giving birth, it’s important to watch for lupus flare-ups and adjust your treatment plan if necessary. Breastfeeding is generally safe, but some lupus medications may need to be changed to make sure they are safe for the baby.

Scientific Reference: The postpartum period is linked with an increased risk of lupus flare-ups, so close monitoring is essential (Chakravarty et al., 2005).

“The postpartum period is a critical time for lupus patients, requiring vigilant monitoring and appropriate medical support” (Gamba et al., 2024).


FAQs about Lupus and Pregnancy

Q: Can I have a healthy pregnancy with lupus?

A: Yes, many women with lupus have healthy pregnancies, but it needs careful planning and management with a healthcare team.

Q: What are the risks of lupus flare-ups during pregnancy?

A: Lupus flare-ups can pose risks to both the mother and baby, including increased chances of early birth and high blood pressure.


Resources and References

  • Lupus Foundation of America: [Link]
  • National Institutes of Health: [Link]


Final Message

Managing lupus and planning for pregnancy requires proper planning and access to appropriate expertise. Have open conversations with your healthcare team to assess your unique health circumstances and make informed treatment decisions. Stay proactive, and make changes to your treatment as advised by your healthcare professionals. Finally, stay optimistic and hopeful for a healthy and safe pregnancy and delivery. With the right measures in place, pregnancy is within reach for many women with this ailment.


Call to Action

Ready to take control of your lupus journey? Start by going gluten-free for five days and see if it helps reduce your symptoms. Stay tuned for our gluten-free challenge, which will guide you through this process. Until then, stay lucky.



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