A best-practice position statement on pregnancy after kidney transplantation: focusing on the unsolved questions. The Kidney and Pregnancy Study Group of the Italian Society of Nephrology

J Nephrol. 2018 Oct;31(5):665-681. doi: 10.1007/s40620-018-0499-x. Epub 2018 Jun 14.


Kidney transplantation (KT) is often considered to be the method best able to restore fertility in a woman with chronic kidney disease (CKD). However, pregnancies in KT are not devoid of risks (in particular prematurity, small for gestational age babies, and the hypertensive disorders of pregnancy). An ideal profile of the potential KT mother includes "normal" or "good" kidney function (usually defined as glomerular filtration rate, GFR ≥ 60 ml/min), scant or no proteinuria (usually defined as below 500 mg/dl), normal or well controlled blood pressure (one drug only and no sign of end-organ damage), no recent acute rejection, good compliance and low-dose immunosuppression, without the use of potentially teratogen drugs (mycophenolic acid and m-Tor inhibitors) and an interval of at least 1-2 years after transplantation. In this setting, there is little if any risk of worsening of the kidney function. Less is known about how to manage "non-ideal" situations, such as a pregnancy a short time after KT, or one in the context of hypertension or a failing kidney. The aim of this position statement by the Kidney and Pregnancy Group of the Italian Society of Nephrology is to review the literature and discuss what is known about the clinical management of CKD after KT, with particular attention to women who start a pregnancy in non-ideal conditions. While the experience in such cases is limited, the risks of worsening the renal function are probably higher in cases with markedly reduced kidney function, and in the presence of proteinuria. Well-controlled hypertension alone seems less relevant for outcomes, even if its effect is probably multiplicative if combined with low GFR and proteinuria. As in other settings of kidney disease, superimposed preeclampsia (PE) is differently defined and this impairs calculating its real incidence. No specific difference between non-teratogen immunosuppressive drugs has been shown, but calcineurin inhibitors have been associated with foetal growth restriction and low birth weight. The clinical choices in cases at high risk for malformations or kidney function impairment (pregnancies under mycophenolic acid or with severe kidney-function impairment) require merging clinical and ethical approaches in which, beside the mother and child dyad, the grafted kidney is a crucial "third element".

Keywords: Chronic kidney disease; Evidence-based medicine; Hypertension; Pre-term delivery; Preeclampsia; Pregnancy; Proteinuria.

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Graft Rejection / prevention & control
  • Graft Survival
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / administration & dosage
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / adverse effects
  • Kidney Transplantation* / adverse effects
  • Nephrology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / etiology
  • Pregnancy Complications / prevention & control*
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Time-to-Pregnancy*
  • Transplant Recipients*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Immunosuppressive Agents