Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis Raise Pregnancy Risks

TUESDAY, Nov. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Pregnant women with lupus or rheumatoid arthritis may experience more pregnancy complications and longer hospitalizations than other women, a new study finds.

Stanford University researchers analyzed 2002 data from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample, which contains discharge records from representative U.S. hospitals. The researchers compared delivery outcomes and hospitalizations for nearly 3,300 women with lupus and more than 1,400 women with rheumatoid arthritis to women in the general population.

Reporting at this week's annual scientific meeting of the American College of Rheumatology in San Diego, they found that women with lupus had twice the rate of hypertensive disorders, compared to women with rheumatoid arthritis. Women with either lupus or rheumatoid arthritis had higher rates of hypertensive disorders than pregnant women in the general population.

Women with lupus or rheumatoid arthritis also faced higher rates of intrauterine growth restrictions and Cesarean delivery, the study said.

"Women with either lupus and/or rheumatoid arthritis are typically somewhat older when they become pregnant," researcher Dr. Eliza F. Chakravarty, assistant professor of medicine with Stanford's division of immunology and rheumatology, noted in a prepared statement.

"However, even after adjusting for maternal age, they run a higher risk for adverse outcomes and generally experience longer hospital stays than other women. As a result, they should be monitored carefully for the length of their pregnancies," Chakravarty said.

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