Study Identifies Gap Between Practice and Recommendations for the Care of Pregnant Women with Lupus
A new, first-of-its-kind, study assesses the prevalence of aspirin use in SLE pregnancies according to the presence of pre-eclampsia risk factors among women aged 18-45. Pre-eclampsia occurs when there is a problem with the placenta; a change in the mother’s immune response to fetal/placental tissue also may contribute to the development of pre-eclampsia. The symptoms include a sudden increase in blood pressure and protein in the urine after at least 20 weeks of pregnancy; severe headaches and blurred vision may also occur.
When compared to the general population, women with lupus carry a much higher risk for developing pre-eclampsia. Fortunately, aspirin is known to reduce the risk of pre-eclampsia in high risk pregnancies by more than half and is recommended by health authorities in SLE pregnancies. Nonetheless, the study revealed only 25% of the 475 pregnancies were aspirin exposed, and the percentages are even lower for Black and Asian women. The study results identify an important gap between standard practice and current recommendations for the use of aspirin among pregnant SLE women. Pregnant women with SLE should consult with their rheumatologist and care teams to determine if they should follow an aspirin regime during pregnancy. Learn more about pregnancy and lupus.