Sharing the Journey: Planning for Pregnancy
The Sharing the Journey series is by you and for you. In your own words, we highlight the perspectives and personal experiences of people who struggle with lupus each day.
This month, we asked Sharing the Journey participants the following question:
By communicating with your doctor and making informed choices, it is possible for women with lupus to have a safe and healthy pregnancy. To ensure just that, what questions did you/do you plan to ask your doctor when planning for pregnancy?
I just had a baby in November, so this is very pertinent. I would recommend asking the following questions: What state should my disease be in? What should my labs look like to ensure the best pregnancy outcome? Is it safe to stay on current medications? If not, how long should I be off of them before trying to conceive? And how can I best avoid flaring postpartum? – Leslie
It is possible for women with lupus to have a safe and healthy pregnancy. It is imperative to always be connected to your doctor! I plan to ask the doctor what I can do to make the pregnancy easier for myself. What foods should I be eating? Is bedrest necessary throughout the process? And what medications do I need to stop taking while I’m pregnant? This list goes on. Always remember your right to care for yourself, so be your biggest advocate and ask as many questions as you want. – Angel
When I inquired about pregnancy with lupus, my gynecologist suggested that I speak with a high-risk obstetrician. I asked about risks with pregnancy for myself and the baby while on certain medications. I also asked about the best time to conceive, and the likelihood of flaring during or after pregnancy. – Jaime
A healthy pregnancy with lupus is possible, but it does take some extra planning due to increased risk for complications. Work with your doctor to plan a healthy pregnancy by setting up an appointment before you want to start trying to get pregnant and make sure to prepare for the appointment with a list of questions you may have. You can even learn more about potential risks and complications prior to your appointment so you can ensure you have all of your questions ready. Just as each person living with lupus is different with a unique approach to treatment, the same will be true for your plan for pregnancy.
If you’re not sure how to talk to your doctor about planning for pregnancy or what questions to ask, our Health Education Specialists can provide you with non-medical support and resources to help you prepare for the conversation.