Fetal outcome in autoimmune diseases

Autoimmun Rev. 2012 May;11(6-7):A520-30. doi: 10.1016/j.autrev.2011.12.002. Epub 2011 Dec 11.


The impact on fetal outcome in women with autoimmune diseases is a result of a several conditions. Fetal success depends on early immunological changes in the mother, which rely in modifications of the innate and adaptative immune system, inducing tolerance to the semi-allogenic fetus. Others crucial factors are maternal disease activity, severity of organ damage, circulating antibodies, and drug treatment. Although fetal outcome is becoming better still it has a worse prognosis in comparison with healthy women. Diseases like antiphospholipid syndrome, systemic lupus erythematosus and vasculitis have the higher risk while rheumatoid arthritis and spondiloarthopaties the least. In the majority of the diseases the risk of poor fetal outcome directly correlates with the activity of disease. While there are no pathognomonic autoantibodies for fetal outcome, antiphospholipid and anti-thyroid antibodies have been implicated in unsuccessful pregnancies and anti-Ro and, to a lesser extent, anti-La antibodies may result in neonatal lupus syndrome congenital heart block. There is increasingly the hope that fetal outcome will be good if the disease is well controlled prior to pregnancy, and with a specialized interdisciplinary support.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Antinuclear
  • Antibodies, Antiphospholipid
  • Autoantibodies
  • Autoimmune Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology
  • Female
  • Fetus / immunology
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / immunology*
  • Pregnancy Outcome*
  • Thyroid Gland / immunology


  • Antibodies, Antinuclear
  • Antibodies, Antiphospholipid
  • Autoantibodies