If you are considering becoming pregnant, discuss these potential risks with your transplant team:
Transplant recipients have a high risk of hypertension (HTN) during pregnancy. This condition, also known as uncontrolled high blood pressure, can affect the amount of blood and nutrients the fetus receives or lead to premature delivery, pre-eclampsia or toxemia.
Talk to your doctor about certain blood pressure medications that are safe to use during pregnancy.
Although risk of infection is high for all transplant recipients, urinary tract infections (UTI) are the most common during pregnancy. Other infections that may cause concern for transplant recipients during pregnancy include herpes, hepatitis, toxoplasmosis and cytomegalic (CMV) virus.
A major concern for transplant recipients is whether pregnancy will lead to loss of the organ (graft). Generally, in patients with good graft function and absence of severe hypertension, pregnancy does not affect graft function or patient survival.
However, to reduce risks to the baby, medication adjustments require close care during and post pregnancy.
Risks to the baby
One of the biggest risks to an unborn baby is related to immunosuppressive therapy. Studies vary on the effect of individual medications on an unborn baby during pregnancy, so it is important to discuss your medications with your doctor when you are planning your pregnancy. Medication adjustments are frequently needed.
Prematurity and complications of prematurity are also major risks for babies born to transplant patients. The severity of this risk may depend on the mother’s renal (kidney) function and control of blood pressure. In many cases, however, early delivery is common when risks to the mother outweigh premature delivery.
Reference and Publication Information
United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) is committed to providing accurate and reliable information for transplant patients. The content on this page was originally created on June 8, 2005 by UNOS and last modified on June 17, 2005. The following sources were used as references:
American Association of Kidney Patients, retrieved June 9, 2005.
Armenti, Vincent, et al. “Report from the National Transplantation Pregnancy Registry (NTPR): Outcomes of Pregnancy after Transplantation”. 103-113.
Morinia, Alberto, et al. “Pregnancy after heart transplant: update and case report.” Human Reproduction 13.3 (1998): 749-757.
Lessan-Pezeshki, Mahboob. “Pregnancy after renal transplantation: points to consider.” Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation 17 (2002):703-707.