Pregnancy by Antiphospholipid Antibody (APL) or Antiphospholipid Syndrome (APLS) 4.33/5 (3)

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Risk Pregnancy

Patients with APLS are followed up as «risk pregnancies» where gynecologist / obstetrician and hematologist (blood diseases) and / or rheumatologist (if also SLE, Sjögren's syndrome or other rheumatic disease) cooperates. When APL antibody is present without special disease, the need for action is assessed individually.

  • Approximately one in three with SLE has "secondary" APLS with associated risk factors
  • Lupus anticoagulant, cardiolipin antibody and beta-2 glycoprotein increase the risk of blood clots (thrombosis) and complications related to pregnancy
  • Those with high levels of antibodies, especially lupus anticoagulants or the presence of all three antibodies (triple positive) are most exposed
  • High levels of IgG antibodies are considered to be of greater importance than IgM levels and high levels are worse than low levels

Blood clot (thrombosis) risk

Risk of blood clot (Thromboembolism) is increased in pregnancy and in the weeks after birth. The pregnant woman may have blood clots (thromboembolisms) such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolism or stroke. The fetus may be affected by blood clots in the placenta (placenta) and thus increased risk of abortion or death.

  • In APLS (see above), drugs (anticoagulants) that reduce the risk of blood clots are given
  • Marevan must not used during pregnancy (increased risk of birth defects when used after week of pregnancy 6)
  • In pregnancy, acetylsalicylic acid (ASA, Albyl-E) is often used 75 mg / day (until pregnancy week 37) and Fragmin, Klexane or Heparin injections
  • Data suggest that Plaquenil (hydroxychlorokine) may also have some blood clotting protective effect (and may reduce the level of SSA / B antibody), also during pregnancy (reference: Sciascia S, 2015)
  • For all miscarriages, other causes must also be considered and the department with special expertise consulted. If «treatment-resistant» antiphospholipid syndrome is present, after careful assessment, supplementary treatment with Prednisolone 10mg / day until week 14 of pregnancy can be considered. In special indications such as severe placental insufficiency and preeclampsia, pravastatin 20mg / day and intravenous immunoglobulins (2g / kg per month) and / or plasma replacement (plasmapheresis) may be considered by the specialist department (Reference). Uthman I, 2019)
  • Anticoagulants may limit the possibility of epidural anesthesia at birth
  • After birth, after 2-3 weeks, one can consider starting Marevan again (if used before pregnancy). NOTE! INR levels can vary and create dosing problems shortly after birth. Alternatively, Fragmin or Klexane is used approx. 6 weeks after birth.


Miscarriages. Studies have shown that among patients with combined SLE and APLS, recurrent miscarriages occur in 38-59% of patients. With SLE without APL antibody, the abortion risk is 16-20%. In recurrent miscarriages in the general population, 10-15% of women have APL antibodies.

Catasthrofic Antifosfolipid Syndrome (CAPS)

The condition is characterized by rapid development (within less than 1 week) and multiorgan infection.

  • CAPS can debut during pregnancy and is associated with an increased risk of death. In order to save the mother's life, it may be necessary in some cases to provide treatment even at the risk of damaging the fetus. Unusually high doses of Fragmin or Klexane, IVIG (intravenous immunoglobulins), corticosteroids and / or Plaquenil may be used. Some also provide plasma replacement (plasmapheresis).
  • Please read more about CAPS on the page here (

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