Lupus and your body

Can antiphospholipid antibodies affect a pregnancy?

Dr. Michelle Petri is the Director of the Hopkins Lupus Cohort, a longitudinal study of morbidity and mortality in systemic lupus erythematosus, and Co-Director of the Hopkins Lupus Pregnancy Center.

See all of Michelle Petri, MD, MPH's answers.

It is necessary for the obstetrician/gynecologist to work closely with the rheumatologist or other physician who evaluates a woman with miscarriages for antiphospholipid antibodies. Miscarriages, especially early in pregnancy, are not rare, but women who have had multiple miscarriages should be checked for antiphospholipid antibodies as part of an overall obstetric evaluation for causes of miscarriage.

The best treatment for pregnant women with antiphospholipid antibodies to prevent a possible miscarriage is not completely understood. As stated above, some women are helped by combinations of aspirin and/or Heparin injections, whereas others continue to have miscarriages even with these medications. Treatment with a glucocorticoid, such as Prednisone, is more likely than subcutaneous Heparin to cause diabetes and an increase in blood pressure during pregnancy, and is usually avoided. Other treatments, including plasmapheresis or intravenous gammaglobulin, may be considered in individual cases.

Medically reviewed on July 26, 2013