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Update on pregnancy complications in systemic lupus erythematosus


Marder W1,2. Curr Opin Rheumatol. 2019 Nov;31(6):650-658. doi: 10.1097/BOR.0000000000000651.

Author Information

1 Division of Rheumatology, Department of Internal Medicine.

2 Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.



This review summarizes recent research in the field of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and pregnancy with focus on clinical and biochemical predictors of adverse pregnancy outcomes (APOs), accumulating evidence for the safety and efficacy of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) in pregnancy, and the importance of preconception counseling.


Ongoing research from PROMISSE investigators (Predictors of Pregnancy Outcome: Biomarkers in Antiphospholipid Antibody Syndrome and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus) adds to the understanding of risk factors for APOs in SLE pregnancies, including aberrant complement activation, incomplete downregulation of lupus-associated transcription factors, and lower socioeconomic status. Evidence supporting numerous advantages for continuing HCQ in pregnancy, as well as support for low-dose aspirin in preeclampsia prevention is reviewed. Practice gaps exist among rheumatologists in ensuring effective contraception when women of childbearing age are undergoing therapy with potentially fetotoxic medications. The publication of organizational guidelines provides evidence-based recommendations on lupus pregnancy management.


Outcomes of lupus pregnancies continue to improve with understanding of risk factors that predict APOs as well as improvements in disease management. Rheumatologists caring for women with SLE should be familiar with the most up-to-date research in order to optimize pregnancy outcomes in this population.