Nursing: Autoimmune Diseases and Pregnancy

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About the Course

Autoimmune diseases affect a great deal of the population, women more so than men. A good number of these individuals desire pregnancy and childbirth, but their autoimmune conditions present challenges to pregnancy. Most autoimmune diseases improve during pregnancy and worsen postpartum, but some women still experience symptoms or flares during their pregnancies.

What are the symptoms of these diseases and how can they improve or worsen in pregnancy? What medications can be continued and which should be stopped? How will the fetus be affected? This educational course provides the background, diagnoses and testing, as well as the effects on conception, pregnancy, delivery, postpartum, and breastfeeding considerations for patients with multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, Sjögren’s syndrome, and antiphospholipid syndrome.

Learning Outcome

Identify risk factors for women with autoimmune diseases who become pregnant and ensure safe care for these individuals during their pregnancy period.

Learning objectives
  • Discuss the backgrounds and symptomology of the conditions discussed.
  • Determine when patients can safely conceive based on their medications.
  • Describe the co-morbid diseases the conditions may present with.
  • Identify which lab testing may be relevant for multiple autoimmune diseases.
  • Discuss how to identify normal pregnancy symptoms versus a disease flare in pregnancy.
  • Discuss nursing considerations relevant to the autoimmune conditions discussed in this course.
About the Author

Allison Saran, RN, CNM, WHNP-BC, is a certified midwife and women's health nurse practitioner in Neptune, N.J. She received her undergraduate degree from Brandeis University and graduated from Yale School of Nursing in 2016. Her professional interests include autoimmune diseases in pregnancy, contraceptive education access, and family planning counseling.

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