Inborn errors of metabolism and pregnancy

J Inherit Metab Dis. 2000 May;23(3):229-36. doi: 10.1023/a:1005679928521.


An increasing number of women with inborn errors of metabolism are now reaching child-bearing age. For certain disorders there are maternal risks associated with pregnancy. These may be related to an increased likelihood of metabolic decompensation (e.g. disorders of the urea cycle) or to increased stress to systems already compromised by disease (e.g. cardiomyopathy in GSD III). Detrimental effects upon the fetus may also be caused by maternal disease, as occurs with phenylketonuria, or from medication used to treat the mother's condition. Less commonly, fetal inborn errors may adversely effect the mother's health--e.g. fetal long-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency and the maternal HELLP syndrome (haemolysis, elevated liver enzymes and low platelets) and AFLP (acute fatty liver of pregnancy). Because of the rarity of individual disorders, our knowledge of risks associated with pregnancy is limited. Even for more common inborn errors such as phenylketonuria, there remain a number of questions that have not been fully answered.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Metabolism, Inborn Errors / complications*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications*