Perinatal outcomes in women with systemic lupus erythematosus

J Perinatol. May-Jun 1998;18(3):178-82.


Objective: Pregnancies of women with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) were studied to assess the effects interaction of this disease and pregnancy.

Study design: Charts of pregnant women with a discharge diagnosis of lupus were reviewed. Inclusion criterion was SLE diagnosed by the criteria of the American College of Rheumatology. All patients were cared for at the University of North Carolina Hospitals, a tertiary level university center.

Results: Between January 1988 and June 1995, we participated in the care of 21 women with the diagnosis of SLE. Their obstetric histories included a total of 56 pregnancies spanning 19 years. Obstetric histories were divided into pregnancies occurring before the patient was diagnosed with lupus and those pregnancies occurring after she had been given the diagnosis. The diagnosis of lupus was made during the course of five pregnancies; those five were categorized as occurring after diagnosis. Of the pregnancies that occurred before a woman's diagnosis of SLE, 46% resulted in live births, 36% ended in spontaneous abortion, and 18% ended in an intrauterine fetal demise. Among pregnancies occurring after the diagnosis of SLE, 85% resulted in live birth, 10% in spontaneous abortion, 3.3% in intrauterine fetal demise, and 3.3% in neonatal death. Of all live births, 53% were delivered before 37 weeks' gestation. The most common causes of maternal morbidity were joint involvement (n = 8) and dermatologic disorders (n = 6). Other clinical manifestations of SLE included nephritis (n = 5), hypertension (n = 4), pleuritis (n = 3), and thrombocytopenia (n = 3). One maternal death occurred as a result of pulmonary disease. Four pregnancies were complicated by preeclampsia. Seven patients were hospitalized during their pregnancies for lupus-related complications.

Conclusions: Substantial fetal, neonatal, and maternal risks still exist for pregnant women with lupus.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Birth Rate
  • Birth Weight
  • Databases as Topic
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / drug therapy
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / physiopathology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications*
  • Pregnancy Outcome*