Renal Transplantation and Pregnancy
AbstractIntroduction: Although pregnancy after kidney transplantation is feasible, complications are relatively common and this needs to be considered in patient counseling and clinical decision making.
Review: Fertility generally returns after renal transplantation. Approximately 74% of pregnancies in kidney transplant recipients end successfully in life births. Published reports suggest that pregnancy has no adverse affects on graft survival although patients with higher pre-pregnancy serum creatinine have a trend toward increased post-pregnancy serum creatinine. There is, however, a significantly increased risk of preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, cesarean section and preterm delivery compared to the general population. Almost half life births are preterm, and low birth weight is very common. Immunosuppressive medications are required to be continued during pregnancy in transplant recipients to prevent graft rejection, except for sirolimus and mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) which are contraindicated during pregnancy. The incidence of birth defects in the live born is similar to the general population, except for pregnancies exposed to MMF which have a high incidence of birth defects. Every female in the reproductive age group should be counseled regarding pregnancy including the potential risks to the graft, to the mother and to the child. Timing pregnancy should be based upon whether graft function is optimal, but the general recommendation is to wait one year post transplantation before conception.
Conclusion: Pregnancy in renal transplant patients should be planned with combined care from surgeons, nephrologists, obstetricians, pediatricians and dietitians which offers the best chance of a favorable outcome in the mother and the fetus.