Lupus nephropathy and pregnancy

G. Burkett

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Early reports on SLE were too small in number to determine that pregnancy was contraindicated in patients with renal involvement. Later reports show that patients with lupus nephropathy can have successful pregnancies provided certain preconditions are established. Optimal preconditions include prepregnancy remission of at least 6 months, renal function with serum creatinine 1.5 mg/dl or less or creatinine clearance of 60 ml/min or more or proteinuria of 3 g/24 hr or less. Successful pregnancies have been recorded in some patients with more severe renal impairment. Renal function will remain unchanged in approximately 60% of pregnancies; and although deterioration may occur, it is only severe or permanent in less than 10%. In 26% of patients, mild to severe renal impairment was transient, with recovery to pregnancy levels of renal function. Proteinuria with good creatinine clearance may not be dangerous. Hypertension or superimposed preeclampsia jeoparidizes the outcome. Fetal outcome averaged approximately 70% (range, 41-77%) live births, 17.8% (range, 5.1-40%) spontaneous abortions, 19.7% (range, 3.0-38.5%) prematurity, and 8.2% SGA. Therapeutic abortion is not a modality of treatment of lupus nephropathy. Management of patients with lupus nephropathy is twofold and includes suppression of underlying lupus activity as well as the serial evaluation of chronic renal disease. In chronic lupus nephropathy with inactive SLE, maternal and fetal outcome is the same as for pregnant patients with chronic renal disease of other causes. Strict fetal surveillance must be performed to decrease the stillbirth rate. The concomitant increase in prematurity demands the services of a tertiary care neonatal unit. Management necessitates the team approach of the obstetrician, nephrologist, rheumatologist, and neonatologist working in collaboration. The reports which contain large numbers of patients now allow better counseling of these patients who are contemplating pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)310-323
Number of pages14
JournalClinical Obstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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