Pregnancy and autoimmune connective tissue diseases

Best Pract Res Clin Rheumatol. 2016 Feb;30(1):63-80. doi: 10.1016/j.berh.2016.05.002. Epub 2016 Jun 25.


Autoimmune connective tissue diseases predominantly affect women and often occur during the reproductive years. Thus, specialized issues in pregnancy planning and management are commonly encountered in this patient population. This chapter provides a current overview of pregnancy as a risk factor for onset of autoimmune disease, considerations related to the course of pregnancy in several autoimmune connective tissue diseases, and disease management and medication issues before pregnancy, during pregnancy, and in the postpartum period. A major theme that has emerged across these inflammatory diseases is that active maternal disease during pregnancy is associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes, and that maternal and fetal health can be optimized when conception is planned during times of inactive disease and through maintaining treatment regimens compatible with pregnancy.

Keywords: Antiphospholipid antibody syndrome; Autoimmunity; Myositis; Pregnancy; Rheumatoid arthritis; Scleroderma; Sjogren's syndrome; Systemic lupus erythematosus.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology*
  • Connective Tissue Diseases / complications*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / immunology*
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Risk Factors