Yes. Ideally, a woman should have no signs or symptoms of lupus and be taking no medications for at least six months before becoming pregnant. Use of some lupus medications may harm the developing baby.
Two drugs used to treat lupus as well as cancer --cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan") and methotrexate -- should not be taken by women who are pregnant, think they might be pregnant or are planning to become pregnant.
Pregnancy in a woman with lupus is considered high risk, but most women with lupus carry their babies safely until the end of pregnancy. Women with lupus do have higher rates of miscarriages and premature births compared to women in general.
Women with lupus, especially those being treated with corticosteroids, also are more likely to develop high blood pressure, diabetes, hyperglycemia, and kidney complications. Women who have lupus and a history of kidney disease have a higher risk of preeclampsia (high blood pressure combined with a buildup of excess watery fluid in the body). Lupus flares can occur during pregnancy and require prompt treatment.
Possible complications mean that regular medical care and good nutrition are essential during pregnancy for women with lupus. Do not smoke and do not drink alcohol.
Women who have lupus and those who have the autoantibodies anti-Ro/SSA or anti-La/SSB should be aware that autoantibodies in their blood can pass to the fetus and cause neonatal lupus.
After delivery, the baby may develop a rash and heart, blood and liver problems. These symptoms usually go away over the next several months.
Occasionally, neonatal lupus can cause a serious heart problem that slows down the natural rhythm of the heart. This condition is almost always permanent and most children who develop it will need pacemakers for life.
Women with lupus who are pregnant should make sure they have access to a neonatal intensive care unit at the time of delivery in case the baby needs special medical attention.