Autoimmune disease and pregnancy

Feb. 15, 2024
Institute for Systems Biology (ISB) study.

In a newly published study in the journal Lancet eClinical Health, researchers at the Institute for Systems Biology (ISB) and Providence showed nuanced pregnancy outcomes for pregnant individuals with autoimmune disease.

The research team examined the electronic health records of more than 365,000 pregnant individuals over a 10-year period, including more than 5,700 patients who had at least one of 12 autoimmune disorders: Psoriasis, inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis, spondyloarthritis, multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus erythematosus, psoriatic arthritis, antiphospholipid syndrome, Sjögren's syndrome, vasculitides, sarcoidosis, and systemic sclerosis.

The researchers accounted for a large number of pregnancy and maternal characteristics associated with preterm birth, as well as many other medical conditions, such as hypertension and diabetes. Their results provide an intricate relationship between autoimmune disease and pregnancy outcomes. 

Notably, for pregnancy after 20 weeks of gestational age:

  • In patients with autoimmune disease, the presence of other medical conditions is an important factor in risk for preterm birth, small for gestational age and low birth weight.
  • Adjusting for other medical conditions reinforced that patients with lupus have higher risk for adverse pregnancy outcomes.
  • Unexpectedly, after adjusting for comorbidities, patients with rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory bowel disease did not show significantly higher risk for adverse pregnancy outcomes.

Institute for Systems Biology (ISB) release on Newswise