Autoimmune Disease and Miscarriage?

Can autoimmune problems cause miscarriage?
profile picture of Jackie Gutmann, MD, reproductive endocrinologist, Reproductive Medicine Associates of Philadelphia
ByJackie Gutmann, MD, reproductive endocrinologist, Reproductive Medicine Associates of Philadelphia
Fertility Specialist
Updated
Jan 2017
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Autoimmune issues are the underlying cause of more than 100 serious illnesses, from lupus to multiple sclerosis. An autoimmune problem occurs when your body’s immune system gets confused and starts to attack its own tissues and organs. Autoimmune diseases strike women three times more often than men, with roughly 30 million American women currently living with an autoimmune problem.

An autoimmune issue can affect a variety of systems, from digestive to nervous to endocrine, as well as your skin, eyes, blood and more. Some of the illnesses directly affect pregnancy, and others are only indirectly involved. The biggest risks come for women who have lupus, which carries a 10 percent risk of miscarriageAntiphospholipid antibody syndrome (where immune cells attack the phospholipids found in the walls of the placenta) also includes a high risk of pregnancy loss. (Some women with lupus also develop antiphospholipid antibody syndrome.) But that doesn’t mean a woman with an autoimmune problem can’t deliver a happy, healthy baby — lots of autoimmune patients have successful pregnancies. If you have an autoimmune issue, talk to your doctor about the risks and complications, and the best ways to plan for your pregnancy.

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