How Kidney Disease Affects Pregnancy

Women who only have mild renal disease will likely have a successful pregnancy. The strain of pregnancy on the body coupled with severe kidney disease, however, will likely lead to pregnancy complications.

Your body will have to work extra hard to provide sustenance for both you and your baby.

There are serious health risks for both mother and baby associated with kidney disease. Due to extra fluid retention, pregnant women may have higher blood pressure and more waste products in their blood.

A baby's growth is adversely affected when her mother has high blood pressure since she will not receive enough blood through the placenta. If blood pressure gets very high, the mother is at risk of preeclampsia, which may result in premature delivery and brain, liver or kidney hemorrhages in the mother.

Many women are advised to postpone their pregnancy until their kidney disease is under control or until after they receive a kidney transplant or kidney dialysis.

Kidney Disease and Pregnancy Risk Factors

Some of the risk factors for a pregnant woman with renal disease are:

  • Hypertension
  • Preeclampsia
  • Premature labor
  • Miscarriage
  • Decreased kidney function
  • Greater risk of urinary tract infections
  • Acute renal failure

What You Can Expect

If you are considering becoming pregnant while suffering from kidney disease, it is vitally important that you contact a kidney specialist or nephrologist.

A nephrologist will evaluate you and explain any health risks of pregnancy. If you are already pregnant, you should go to see a specialist every two weeks for the first 32 weeks of your pregnancy.

Because kidney failure can affect your immune system, potassium and mineral levels, central nervous system, your heart and your bones, the doctor will be closely monitoring your blood pressure, your creatinine levels, blood urea levels, protein levels, cholesterol and urine.

Renal Disease and Childbirth Expectations

Women suffering from anemia, high blood pressure and excess of protein in their urine face a 60% risk of infant death during their pregnancy. The further along you are in your pregnancy, the greater the progression of renal disease resulting in an increased risk of preeclampsia as well as premature delivery.

Doctors may have to induce labor, resulting in a premature baby. A baby born from a woman with serious renal disease may be placed in the intensive care unit to deal with any health complications.


Table of Contents
1. Kidney Disease
2. What are the risks?
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