Pregnancy outcome in women with pre-existing lupus nephritis

J Obstet Gynaecol. 2004 Sep;24(6):630-4. doi: 10.1080/01443610400007836.


The aim of the present study was to assess the fetal and maternal outcome in a cohort of patients with lupus nephritis. Twenty-four pregnancies in 22 women with lupus nephritis occurring between 1991 and 2000 were analysed retrospectively. Lupus nephritis was biopsy proven before pregnancy in all cases. Women were followed from the beginning of pregnancy up to 6 months postpartum. Close fetal-maternal monitoring and frequent laboratory investigations were applied routinely to all patients. All women were prescribed steroid therapy from the beginning of the pregnancy. There were 18 live births, four spontaneous abortions and two stillbirths. Of the 18 live births, 14 were premature and four were term deliveries, representing a 25% fetal loss rate and 58% prematurity rate. There were two fetuses with congenital heart block. We recorded hypertension in 42%, proteinuria in 50% and pre-eclampsia in 25% of our patients. Proteinuria was irreversible in four cases. No maternal deaths or postpartum exacerbation of the disease were recorded in the study period. All renal flares were reversed postpartum. Patients positive for antiphospholipid antibodies had a worse perinatal outcome. Hypertension, proteinuria and antiphospholipid antibodies appear to be associated with adverse perinatal outcome and pregnancy complications. Pregnancy is not contraindicated in women with lupus nephritis, but is associated with significant fetal and maternal risks.

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Spontaneous / epidemiology
  • Antibodies, Antiphospholipid / blood
  • Birth Weight
  • Cesarean Section / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Fetal Death / epidemiology
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / complications
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Lupus Nephritis / complications*
  • Lupus Nephritis / immunology
  • Obstetric Labor, Premature
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications*
  • Pregnancy Outcome*
  • Prognosis
  • Proteinuria / complications
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors


  • Antibodies, Antiphospholipid