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What increases my baby's risk for neonatal lupus?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

Neonatal lupus is an autoimmune disorder, which basically means that your child's body is allergic to itself. This can result in a number of symptoms, some temporary and some permanent. Most of the symptoms, such as low blood count, skin rash and liver problems, resolve within the first few months of your child's life. More rarely, babies with neonatal lupus may also experience congenital heart block, which is a serious condition that interferes with heart function.

Your baby may be at risk for neonatal lupus if you can answer "yes" to any of the following questions.

  • Have you been diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), Sjogren's syndrome or other autoimmune disease?
  • Have you been told that you have anti-Ro (SSA) or anti-La (SSB) antibodies?

If you are pregnant and have been diagnosed with any of the above conditions, let your doctor know so that they can give you the most appropriate level of prenatal care.

If you are at risk for having a child with neonatal lupus or if your infant has a rash, your doctor may examine your baby for the disease. The doctor will generally look at your child's liver function and blood count to determine whether they are abnormal, which could signify neonatal lupus. In addition, the doctor may also examine your child for other general indicators of disease, present within the blood.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.