Subacute Cutaneous Lupus & Pregnancy

Hey! I’ve decided to post something a little different as I was struggling to find other peoples experiences with my condition and pregnancy. I have filmed a video (to come) about this but I thought a blog post would also be helpful, especially if you’re hard of hearing or prefer to read rather than watch!

So, if you haven’t read my previous post about diagnosis, please feel free to read it here. Briefly, in September 2019 I was diagnosed with Subacute Cutaneous Lupus which affects my skin mostly with symptoms including a hive-like rash, joint pain, fatigue and Raynaud’s Phenomonon.

I found out about my pregnancy early March 2020, I was around 10-12 weeks by that time. For various reasons, I just didn’t know before then! So my immediate reaction was panic, not because I wasn’t thrilled to be having a tiny human but because I was on so much medication for my lupus. Luckily I was able to see a midwife and schedule an appointment with my rheumatologist.

My rheumatologist assured me that my medication was safe to take during pregnancy and had little or no effect on the baby. This might differ between medications, please always speak to a medical professional! I was also assured that my conditon was not hereditary and it was unlikey that I pass it on. That put my mind at ease somewhat!

Medications I take for lupus: Prednisolone, Hydroxychloroquine, Azathioprine
Additional medications for pregnancy: Multivitamins, Vitamin D and Aspirin

Daily Lupus & Pregancy Medications

I was referred to my local specialist care team because regardless of the type of lupus, I am considered high risk. High risk doesn’t necessarily mean ‘bad’, it just means that additional care is required. As with any lupus patient SLE presents a higher chance of congenital heart block. At first, I was terrified hearing this, it sounds pretty scary! My midwife explained that congenital heart block means that there was a risk of the baby’s heart beat being slower than expected during development or at birth. As a result, this means that I had a foetal echo at 20 weeks and baby’s heartbeat will be monitored fortnightly for abnormailities.
Another risk picked up at my scan was Uterine Artery Doppler, my scan showed slightly higher resistence meaning blood flow to the uterus was more strained than expected. The risk of this is pre-eclampsia and/or the size of the baby being on the small side. Again, sounds scary but it doesn’t mean it’s going to happen.

Overall, my pregancy so far has been pretty good. I have of course experienced a couple of flare ups, but I would expect that anyway at this time of year! I am like a real life vampire, minus the lust for blood. I have minimal concerns for my baby at this stage. All of my scans and check ups have been normal and my baby appears healthy.

Having an autoimmune disease doesn’t necessarily mean that you cannot or should not have children. It’s important to speak with a medical professional if you have any concerns.

Some links to helpful resources:

Lupus UK

NHS: Lupus

Arthritis Research UK: Pregnancy and Arthritis : helpful PDF with information covering SLE and various medications

NHS: Antenatal Checks & Tests

Cutaneous Lupus – Yale Medicine Explains (YouTube)

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