Pregnancy in systemic lupus erythematosus: a retrospective study from a developing community

Clin Rheumatol. 2008 May;27(5):577-80. doi: 10.1007/s10067-007-0749-0. Epub 2007 Oct 2.


Little data exists from the developing world on pregnancy in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). A 10-year review of pregnancies in lupus patients was conducted at a tertiary hospital in a developing country. Forty-seven pregnancies in 31 patients were identified. Eleven (23%) booked after 20 weeks gestation. There were no maternal deaths; six (13%) mothers experienced flares-all mild. Twelve women developed preeclampsia of which one experienced an intrauterine death. One patient was diagnosed with lupus and nephritis during pregnancy. She required an abortion to control the disease. Another with active nephritis delivered a normal but premature infant despite cyclophosphamide therapy. There was only minor deterioration in renal function. There were 36 (77%) live births, 8 first trimester abortions, 2 elective abortions and 1 still birth. Fourteen (39%) of live births were premature, and five (14%) experienced intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR). Two live-born babies experienced neonatal heartblock, and one, a neonatal lupus rash. We discuss these finding in relation to risk factors and to results from the developed world.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Antiphospholipid / blood
  • Complement System Proteins / metabolism
  • Developing Countries*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / blood
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / complications*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / immunology
  • Pre-Eclampsia / etiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / blood
  • Pregnancy Complications / etiology*
  • Pregnancy Complications / immunology
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Raynaud Disease / etiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • South Africa


  • Antibodies, Antiphospholipid
  • Complement System Proteins