A new baby can be a huge joy for any family. But pregnancy can put a lot of stress on your body. If you have kidney disease or kidney failure, it can put you and the health of your unborn child at risk.
Are you thinking about pregnancy? If so, you should discuss it beforehand with your doctor or other healthcare provider. They know you, and they can help you make a decision that is based on your own personal health. There are many things to consider. You and your doctor should discuss them all very carefully. Some things that can affect a healthy pregnancy include:
Your stage of kidney disease
Your general health
Having high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart disease
Having other serious health conditions
Protein in your urine
Here are a few brief answers to some common questions about kidney disease and pregnancy.
Can a woman with "mild" kidney disease have a baby?
That depends. There is good evidence to suggest that women with very mild kidney disease (stages 1-2), normal blood pressure, and little or no protein in the urine (called "proteinuria") can have a healthy pregnancy. What is proteinuria? It's a sign of kidney damage. Your body needs protein. But it should be in your blood, not your urine. Having protein in your urine usually means that your kidneys cannot filter your blood well and the protein is leaking out.
In women with moderate to severe kidney disease (stages 3-5), the risk of complications is much greater. For some women, the risk to mother and child is high enough that they should consider avoiding pregnancy.
If you are thinking of becoming pregnant, ask your doctor or other healthcare provider about your stage of kidney disease, your risk for complications, your degree of proteinuria, and any other health conditions you may have.
Can a woman who is on dialysis have a baby?
Some changes in your body make it hard to become pregnant. For example, most women on dialysis have anemia (a low red blood cell count) and hormone changes. This may keep them from having regular menstrual periods.
Women with kidney failure are usually advised against becoming pregnant. The rate of complications is very high. Risks to both the mother and developing baby are high. If you are thinking of becoming pregnant, talk to your healthcare provider. If you become pregnant, you will need close medical supervision, changes in medicine, and more dialysis to have a healthy baby.
Can a woman who has a kidney transplant have a baby?
Yes. If you have a kidney transplant, you are likely to have regular menstrual periods and good general health. Therefore, getting pregnant and having a child is possible. But you should not become pregnant for at least one year after your transplant, even with stable kidney function. Some medicines that