So, can people with antiphospholipid antibody have successful pregnancies?
The short answer is yes – with a couple of footnotes.
First, it depends a bit on how you were defined as having antiphospholipid antibody.
There are three different blood tests:
- A positive lupus anticoagulant test, a type of clotting test, if present, indicates the highest risk (for losing the baby or having another complication of pregnancy). However, it is easy to get a wrong answer in this test if the doctor or the laboratory are not familiar with it and don’t handle the blood specimen properly.
- A positive test for anticardiolipin antibodies raises concern only if it is very strongly positive. Our own studies suggest that even a strongly positive test, if not accompanied by lupus anticoagulant, may not be as worrisome as we once thought.
- A positive test for antibodies to beta-2-glycoprotein I also has to be strongly positive to be worrisome, and even then, according to our studies, may not suggest high risk.
- The worst scenario is if all three tests are strongly positive.But don’t despair. These pregnancies are treatable.
- (the largest and most detailed one done to date), pregnancy outcome was about the same as for women with diabetes, kidney disease, or poor socioeconomic conditions. More than 9 of 10 pregnancies survived, and about 8 of 10 pregnancies went to full term. Of course patients were very closely monitored and treated, mostly with a form of injectable heparin (a blood thinner). The common problems were prematurity and high blood pressure (a pregnancy complication seen in many circumstances); the problems occurred most often in patients who also had
So the answer is yes: women with antiphospholipid antibody have “successful pregnancies.” You have to be emotionally strong – it will be a very long nine months. And four people – you, your partner, your obstetrician, and your rheumatologist – have to have a good working relationship and understanding of the possibilities, both good and bad. Consult with your physician if you plan on having a pregnancy.