Pregnancy and Systemic Scleroderma

Author: Shelley Ensz. Scleroderma is highly variable. See Types of Scleroderma. Read Disclaimer
Autoimmunity and Pregnancy
Autoimmunity and Menopause
Antidepressants/Fetal P.H.
PostPartum Psychosis
Medications and Pregnancy
Scleroderma and Pregnancy
Slide Show
Smoking and Pregnancy
Personal Stories
Related Information

Pregnancy and Scleroderma

This information on pregnancy applies only to systemic sclerosis (scleroderma) —such as diffuse, limited, CREST, and overlap —and not to localized forms, such as linear or morphea. (Also see What is Scleroderma?, Types of Scleroderma, and Systemic Sclerosis

It is very important to consult your medical team if you are contemplating a scleroderma pregnancy, since medications may need to be adjusted beforehand, and specific risk issues can be addressed.

Many systemic scleroderma patients are able to successfully bear children, however it is always considered a "high risk" pregnancy and extra monitoring and precautions are necessary, both before and during pregnancy.

Common sense must prevail, of course. Patients with rapid onset or severe internal organ involvement may need to postpone pregnancy until the symptoms abate or toxic treatments are completed. Depending on the situation, a few people may still be advised to forego pregnancy plans altogether, or to select another route to parenthood (such as adoption or surrogate parenthood).

Pregnancy in Systemic Sclerosis (SSc): Results of a Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Pregnancies involving SSc have increased frequency of miscarriages,intrauterine growth retardation, preterm deliveries, and newborns with low birth weight compared to healthy controls. PubMed, J Rheumatol, 2020 Jun 1;47(6):881-887.

Increased incidence of pregnancy complications in women who later develop scleroderma: a case control study. This is the first study to show an association between hypertensive complications during pregnancy or IUGR and the development of systemic sclerosis (SSc) at a later age. We speculate that the pregnancy abnormalities may have resulted in increased fetomaternal trafficking, which may have played a role in the increased incidence of SSc. Arthritis Research & Therapy.

Pregnancy issues in scleroderma. This review focuses on the effects of scleroderma on fertility and pregnancy as well as on the management of pregnancy and delivery in the scleroderma patient. Autoimmun Review.

Slide Show: Pregnancy and Scleroderma

Scleroderma & Pregnancy is an online slide show by Asim Iqbal, MD, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Nishtar Hospital, Multan, Pakistan. (Also see ISN: Dr. Iqbal and "Case of the Unfortunate Fetus" in Voices of Scleroderma Volume 1 book.)

Antidepressants and Fetal Pulmonary Hypertension

Antidepressants: Safe during pregnancy? Taking antidepressants during pregnancy may pose health risks for your baby — but stopping may pose risks for you. Get the facts about antidepressants and pregnancy. MayoClinic.


Preeclampsia and Hypertension in Pregnancy: Resource Overview. Preeclampsia is a serious condition that typically starts after the 20th week of pregnancy; high blood pressure is a main contributing factor. ACOG.

Medications and Pregnancy

Use of rheumatic medications during pregnancy and lactation. During pregnancy, the effects of inflammation when rheumatic disease becomes active and medications used to treat rheumatic disease can cause problems. (Includes list of rheumatic drugs and general guidelines.) American College of Rheumatology.

Smoking and Pregnancy

Smoking poses increased dangers for systemic scleroderma patients, since they are also prone to many types of lung involvement. Smoking also worsens Raynaud's, often leading to digital ulcers, gangrene, and amputation.

Personal Stories: Pregnancy and Scleroderma

Personal Stories about Pregnancy and Scleroderma. These are our personal patient and caregiver stories about pregnancy and systemic sclerosis (scleroderma). ISN.

Related Information

Causes of Scleroderma: Genetics ISN.

Voices of Scleroderma Volume 1 book features an article, "The Case of the Misfortunate Fetus" by Asim Iqbal, MD, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Nishtar Hospital, Multan, Pakistan.

Go to Pregnancy and Autoimmunity

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