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Nat Rev Rheumatol. 2012 Dec;8(12):710-8. doi: 10.1038/nrrheum.2012.133. Epub 2012 Aug 21.

Management of pregnancy in systemic lupus erythematosus.

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Division of Rheumatology, University Medicine Cluster, National University Health System, 1E, Kent Ridge Road, 119074, Singapore.


Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoantibody-mediated systemic autoimmune disease, predominantly affecting young females. Pregnancy is increasingly common in the setting of SLE, as survival and quality of life of patients improve. Although live births can be achieved in the most cases, pregnancy in patients with SLE remains a high-risk condition. Maternal and fetal mortality and morbidity are considerably increased, compared with the general population. Aberrations in pregnancy-related maternal immune adaptations are likely contributors. Active maternal disease, renal involvement, specific autoantibody subsets and advanced organ damage are predictors of poor outcome. Therapeutic options are limited during pregnancy as maternal benefit has to be weighed against fetal risk. Prevention of preterm birth and refractory pregnancy loss, as well as management of established neonatal heart block remain unmet needs. Further research should address these important issues that affect young patients with SLE and their babies.

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