Contrary to previous belief, a new study has found that it is okay for women with lupus tot get pregnant, so long as they receive the proper care.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease that occurs when the immune system sees the body as something foreign and tries to fight it off. It affects approximately 240 people out of every 100,000 in North America.
Even more, it’s traditionally been associated with high risk pregnancies. Women with lupus have a higher risk of developing disorders such as pre-eclampsia during pregnancy. So, many women with this condition have bene advised to avoid becoming pregnant or to even terminate a pregnancy.
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However, a new study published by the Annals of Internal Medicine journal is challenging this common belief. Rather, it asserts that it can be safe for women with lupus to become pregnant, if they are receiving constant and quality care.
The study looked at statistics between the years of 1960 to 2003. In their findings, they discovered that the rate of pregnancy loses amongst women with Lupus decreased from 40 percent to 17 percent. While the risk of pregnancy complications may remain higher for women with lupus versus in those without, this risk is clearly decreasing.
“For lupus patients who are young and who are thinking of pregnancies, they should know that many other patients with lupus over the past two decades have successfully become pregnant and delivered, and mortality is minimal,” Dr. Mehta, a lead researcher in the study, explained of the results. “What this study proves is this is no longer applicable. It is okay for women with lupus to get pregnant, as long as they are under the care of a rheumatologist and high risk obstetrics.”
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Additionally, researchers from New York City recently also found similar findings. They looked at records from 1998 to 2015 via the National Inpatient Sample (NIS) database of women who’d been hospitalized during pregnancy, separating them based on whether they had SLE or not. Only a fifth of these patients were found to have lupus.
Amongst their findings, the New York researchers concluded that there was aa steep decrease in the number of pregnant women diagnosed with lupus who died as a result of the pregnancy. Likewise, the rates of pre-eclampsia and eclampsia among lupus patients decreased from 9.5 percent to 9.1 percent. The average length of hospital stays also lowered from 4.3 days to 3.8 days. For women without lupus, however, the average hospital stay increased from 2.5 to 2.7 days.
The study attributed the improved statistics to advancements in lupus-related healthcare in recent years, including a better likelihood of early diagnosis, a better understanding of the condition, and more treatment options. Women with lupus who are trying to become pregnant are strongly recommended to do so when the disease activity is low, as the severity of symptoms tends to fluctuate.