Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Management in Pregnancy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) affects reproductive aged women. Issues regarding family planning are an important part of SLE patient care. Women with SLE can flare during pregnancy, in particular those who have active disease at conception or prior history of renal disease. These flares can lead to increased adverse pregnancy outcomes including fetal loss, pre-eclampsia, preterm birth and small for gestational aged infants. In addition, women with antiphospholipid antibodies can have thrombosis during pregnancy or higher rates of fetal loss. Women who have anti-Ro/SSA and anti-La/SSB antibodies need special monitoring as their offspring are at risk for congenital complete heart block and neonatal lupus. Ideally, SLE patients should have their disease under good control on medications compatible with pregnancy prior to conception. All patients with SLE should remain on hydroxychloroquine unless contraindicated. We recommend the addition of 81mg/d of aspirin at the end of the first trimester to reduce the risk of pre-eclampsia. The immunosuppressive azathioprine, tacrolimus and cyclosporine are compatible with pregnancy and lactation, myco-phenolate mofetil (MMF)/mycophenolic acid are not. Providers should use glucocorticoids at the lowest possible dose. Methotrexate, leflunomide and cyclophosphamide are contraindicated in pregnancy and lactation. SLE patients on the biologics rituximab, belimumab and abatacept can continue these medications until conception and resume during lactation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)199-211
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Women's Health
StatePublished - 2022


  • Fertility
  • Medications
  • Pregnancy
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Maternity and Midwifery


Dive into the research topics of 'Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Management in Pregnancy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this