A national study of the complications of lupus in pregnancy

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2008 Aug;199(2):127.e1-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2008.03.012. Epub 2008 May 5.


Objective: This study was undertaken to determine the risk of rare complications during pregnancy for women with systemic lupus erythematosus.

Study design: By using the Nationwide Inpatient Sample from 2000-2003, we compared maternal and pregnancy complications for all pregnancy-related admissions for women with and without systemic lupus erythematosus.

Results: Of more than 16.7 million admissions for childbirth over the 4 years, 13,555 were to women with systemic lupus erythematosus. Maternal mortality was 20-fold higher among women with systemic lupus erythematosus. The risks for thrombosis, infection, thrombocytopenia, and transfusion were each 3- to 7-fold higher for women with systemic lupus erythematosus. Lupus patients also had a higher risk for cesarean sections (odds ratio: 1.7), preterm labor (odds ratio: 2.4), and preeclampsia (odds ratio: 3.0) than other women. Women with systemic lupus erythematosus were more likely to have other medical conditions, including diabetes, hypertension, and thrombophilia, that are associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes.

Conclusion: Women with systemic lupus erythematosus are at increased risk for serious medical and pregnancy complications during pregnancy.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Cesarean Section / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / complications*
  • Maternal Mortality
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / epidemiology*
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Risk Factors
  • Thrombocytopenia / epidemiology
  • Thrombosis / epidemiology