Fertility and pregnancy in vasculitis

Best Pract Res Clin Rheumatol. 2013 Feb;27(1):79-94. doi: 10.1016/j.berh.2013.02.002.


Despite the rarity of vasculitides, fertility and pregnancy outcome in the setting of vasculitis have become a major topic of interest within the past decade. The potential impact of vasculitis therapies, particularly cyclophosphamide, has been examined to some extent, but data are limited on the possible impact of the disease itself on fertility. Ideally, pregnancy should be planned when the vasculitis is in remission. The outcome for mothers and newborns is usually good when vasculitis is known before the pregnancy and is in remission, but every pregnant woman must be monitored by a specialised health-care team consisting of obstetricians specialised in high-risk births and internists/rheumatologists with expertise in managing these rare conditions. Most maternal complications during pregnancy are indeed due to vasculitis damage: hypertension in Takayasu arteritis (TAK) or granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA)/microscopic polyangiitis (MPA) with renal insufficiency, asthma or cardiac damage in eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis (EGPA) and subglottic and/or bronchial stenosis(es) in GPA. Pregnancy loss can occur in about 10% of cases in GPA, up to 20% in EGPA, 20-30% in Behçet's disease and up to 25% in TAK, and several studies found high rates of preterm births, at least with some vasculitides. Vasculitis manifestations in newborns from mothers with known vasculitis are very rare and usually transient.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autoimmune Diseases / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Fertility / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / prevention & control
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / adverse effects
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Cardiovascular*
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Renal Insufficiency / prevention & control
  • Vasculitis / complications*
  • Vasculitis / physiopathology


  • Immunosuppressive Agents