Drug exposure, pregnancy outcome and fetal and childhood development occurring in the offspring of mothers with systemic lupus erythematosus and other chronic autoimmune diseases

Lupus. 2006;15(11):808-13. doi: 10.1177/0961203306071003.


Most autoimmune diseases occur more commonly in females and many of these young women wish to become mothers. For pregnancy to proceed successfully immunomodulation and physiological changes preparing the reproductive system need to occur. Pregnancy occurring in a chronically ill mother who requires medications in order to maintain her own health and who may have already incurred significant organ pathology gives rise to several problems and so four questions arise: 1) What will be the effect of the pregnancy on the underlying disease? 2) What will be the effect of the disease on the outcome of pregnancy? 3) How to manage the disease, just prior to, throughout and immediately after the pregnancy? 4) The long term fetal and childhood effects of maternal disease and its management. This paper reviews the current literature pertaining to these questions in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and other chronic rheumatic and autoimmune diseases.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / adverse effects
  • Antibodies, Antinuclear / drug effects
  • Antimalarials / adverse effects
  • Autoimmune Diseases* / immunology
  • Autoimmune Diseases* / physiopathology
  • Autoimmune Diseases* / therapy
  • Child Development*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Diethylstilbestrol / adverse effects
  • Estrogens, Non-Steroidal / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Fetal Growth Retardation / etiology
  • Fetal Growth Retardation / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppression
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic* / immunology
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic* / physiopathology
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic* / therapy
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome*
  • Xenobiotics / adverse effects


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Antibodies, Antinuclear
  • Antimalarials
  • Estrogens, Non-Steroidal
  • Xenobiotics
  • Diethylstilbestrol