Skip to content

Lupus Health Center

Select An Article

Pregnancy and Lupus

(continued)
Font Size

Caring for Yourself During Pregnancy

In addition to seeing your doctor regularly and following your treatment plan, there are many things you can do to care for yourself and your baby:

  • Get plenty of rest. Plan for a good night's sleep and take breaks throughout the day.
  • Eat healthfully. Avoid excessive weight gain. Have your doctor refer you to a dietitian if needed.
  • Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol.
  • If you have any unusual symptoms, speak to your doctor right away.

Managing Delivery and a New Baby

Your doctor will decide the method of delivery -- caesarian section or vaginal. He'll do this by taking into account your health and your baby's health at the time of labor. Many women with lupus can have vaginal deliveries. But if the mother or baby is under stress, a caesarean section may be the safest and fastest way to deliver. If you have taken steroids during pregnancy, your doctor will increase your dose during labor to help your body cope with the added stress.

While most mothers and babies do well, lupus often flares after the delivery, and other problems, including the following, can occur:

Breastfeeding difficulties. Babies born prematurely may not be strong enough to suckle and draw out breast milk. Mothers who deliver prematurely or are taking certain medications may have trouble producing breast milk. Also, some mothers need to take medications that can pass though the breast milk and are advised not to breastfeed. Most of these issues can be resolved. Speak to your doctor if you have concerns about breastfeeding.

Neonatal lupus. Neonatal lupus is not the same as lupus in the mother. About 3% of babies born to women with lupus will have the condition. Most often it's transient, which means it will pass. The condition consists of a rash and abnormal blood counts. By the time the baby is 6 or 8 months old, the condition usually disappears and never returns. In rare cases, babies with neonatal lupus will have an abnormal heart rhythm that is permanent and may require a pacemaker.

After the delivery, it is important to see your doctor regularly to monitor the changes in your body as it returns to the way it was before you were pregnant. Although you will be focused on caring for your new baby, remember it's important that you take care of yourself.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on June 21, 2013
1|2|3
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

grocery shopping list
And the memory problems that may come with it.
Lupus rash on nails
A detailed, visual guide.
 
sunburst filtering through leaves
You might be extra sensitive to UV light. Read on.
fruit drinks
For better focus in your life.
 
Woman rubbing shoulder
Slideshow
Bag of cosmetics
Video
 
young woman hiding face
Quiz
pregnant woman
Article
 
5 Lupus Risk Factors
Article
Young adult couple
Article
 
doctor advising patient
Article
sticky notes on face
Video
 

WebMD Special Sections