Can I get pregnant? This is the one the first questions I asked my rheumatologist when I was diagnosed. In general, most women with lupus can get pregnant; it’s carrying the pregnancy that can be problematic. If you are considering having a baby, you should speak with your rheumatologist about the risks and complications a potential pregnancy will have on you and your baby. If you decide to get pregnant, you should meet with your rheumatologist and a maternal-fetal-medicine doctor six months before you plan to get pregnant to determine a plan for your pregnancy and medications.
One of the complications women with lupus face during pregnancy is anti-phospholipid syndrome. There are three different antibodies that can be found in APS- lupus anticoagulant, anti-cardiolipin, and beta-2 glycoprotein. It is possible to have one or more of these antibodies and not develop APS. In order to be diagnosed with APS, you must test positive for one or more of these antibodies two separate times at least three months apart AND have suffered either a thrombotic event (blood clot), late term miscarriage, recurrent early miscarriages, or preterm delivery <34 weeks.Women with APS are able to have babies, and are usually placed on blood thinners.
After many years of contemplation, I became pregnant and delivered my sweet baby boy in August 2019. I had a relatively easy pregnancy, but I was still placed on modified bed-rest during my first and third trimester due to spotting. My Benlysta infusions were placed on hold, but thankfully I never really developed any flare symptoms during the course of my pregnancy. I was positive for anti-cardiolipin in the past, but not during pregnancy, so I was only advised to continue my low dose aspirin. I did develop high blood pressure, and was placed on anti-hypertensive medication, but never developed pre-eclampsia. My biggest issue during pregnancy was anxiety. I was constantly anxious about the pregnancy, because of everything I had learned, and was having nightmares frequently. At 35 weeks, my son was found to have intrauterine growth restriction, and therefore was delivered at 37 weeks. He unfortunately had to stay in the NICU for six days due to only being four pounds, but he had no other issues. This week he turns one, and apart from some reflux, he is a very healthy, energetic little boy!
Please share your pregnancy story!