Living With Lupus While Pregnant: Part 1
A few months ago my whole world changed.. I found out that I was pregnant! Even though this should be an exciting time, it was also scary for me because I have Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), a chronic autoimmune disease. My mind went non-stop and all I did was worry. Since then, I have done tons of reading and research and even though pregnancy and birth can both trigger Lupus and its symptoms, those with Lupus can actually conceive normally and have a healthy pregnancy (which was good news to me!).
With more doctors now knowing about Lupus and with an advancement in medical technology, patients with Lupus can safely get pregnant and even carry a baby full term. When before (up to a few decades ago), Lupus patients were actually told not to get pregnant and health care practitioners weren’t too sure about it. It is recommended that if you do have Lupus and are trying to conceive, that you speak to your health care provider first and that you have also been symptom-free or in remission from Lupus for at least six months. Of course for some, like myself, pregnancy does come as a surprise and therefore you should try to see and speak to your doctor as soon as possible, especially if you are taking medications and your Lupus has flared recently (since this can increase the risk of complications and miscarriage).
Once you are pregnant, most health care doctors will classify your pregnancy as high-risk, but don’t let this worry you! This only means that you will be monitored more closely so that you are able to have the best pregnancy possible and to ensure that you and the baby stay healthy. When seeing a specialist, try to choose one that is familiar with high-risk pregnancies and one that you feel comfortable with. This does make a huge difference and don’t be afraid to switch doctors. I had to switch from my first pregnancy ob-gyn and I am beyond happy that I did. I feel very comfortable with the new doctor and the nurses, they take the time to listen to my concerns, and I trust their judgment. Having Lupus and being pregnant is not the time to try not to be assertive, which I had to learn for myself. Once you choose your doctors, you are likely to have a check up every two to four weeks throughout your pregnancy.
To read part 2 of Living With Lupus While Pregnant, click here!
**Disclaimer- This post is for informational purposes only. I am not a health care provider. If you do have Lupus and are deciding whether to become pregnant or have just found out that you are pregnant, please speak with your doctor and they will answer any questions that you may have.