Ivanhoe.com—November 9, 2011
Promising research may offer hope for women with lupus who once believed that pregnancy was too risky. According to this study, most women with stable lupus can have successful pregnancies.
"There was a misconception, based on outdated experience, that women with lupus should not try to have children," Jane Salmon, M.D., the study's senior author and Collette Kean Research Chair at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, was quoted as saying. "Now that our treatments are more effective and we have a better understanding of the disease, we can identify a window when pregnancy is safe and outcomes are good for mother and fetus."
Historically, women with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) have been advised not to become pregnant because of risks to their own and their fetus' health.
Dr. Salmon and her collaborators evaluated 333 pregnant women with lupus from the PROMISSE Study (Predictors of pRegnancy Outcome: BioMarkers In antiphospholipid antibody Syndrome and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus), which seeks to identify biomarkers that predict poor pregnancy outcomes. The research team found that 80 percent of lupus patients had a favorable pregnancy outcome.
"Most women with stable lupus, defined as limited disease activity and no flares during the time of conception and the first trimester, had successful pregnancies," explained Dr. Salmon, who is also the principal investigator of the PROMISSE Study. "We learn from these results that timing is a most important element for successful pregnancy in women with lupus and that avoiding pregnancy during periods of increased disease activity is essential."
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