Lupus & Autoimmune Diseases

How common are autoimmune diseases in pregnancy?

Rarely, connective tissue disorders may be inherited (such as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome). More commonly, they are acquired later in life and disorders such as SLE (lupus) are quite common in pregnancy.

What effect will my autoimmune disease have on my pregnancy?

Because these disorders attack connective tissue within the body, they can affect many different organ systems during pregnancy, particularly the joints, kidneys, heart, lungs and eyes. If there is kidney involvement, the risks of miscarriage, pre-eclampsia, premature delivery and fetal growth restriction are increased. Joint pain and stiffness may improve during pregnancy. A proportion of women with connective tissue disorders may carry certain antibodies in their blood which can increase their risk of blood clots or, rarely, can affect the baby’s heart rate. Although some anti-inflammatories, steroids and immunosuppressant agents can be safely continued in pregnancy, many are not recommended.

Have you treated cases like mine before?

Yes, absolutely. We are very experienced in caring for pregnant women with the whole range of connective tissue disorders, including SLE, Sjogren’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, mixed connective tissue disease, ankylosing spondylitis and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.

  • Mater Hospital
  • North Shore Private Hospital
  • The University Of Sydney
  • Royal College Of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists