Neonatal Lupus Symptoms

Neonatal Lupus SymptomsNeonatal lupus symptoms are symptoms caused by systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), passed to the child by a mother with lupus disease. Neonatal lupus is a rare condition and doesn’t often cause major complications during pregnancy or birth, but can cause neonatal lupus symptoms that may or may not disappear several months after birth. Some of the lupus symptoms that a baby may experience at birth include:

  • Skin Rashes (usually facial rashes)
  • Anemia (due to auto-antibodies passed from the mother)
  • Congenital Heart Block

Neonatal Lupus Skin Rashes

Skin rashes are common neonatal lupus symptoms and a baby may experience a lupus malar (facial) rash at birth. Sometimes the rashes are not present at the time of birth and may develop several days or weeks later.

Anemia from Neonatal Lupus

Anemia is a rare neonatal lupus symptom. Anemia is a condition where the red blood cell count or hemoglobin is less than normal. This condition can be caused when the auto-antibodies are passed to the baby from the mother and they destroy blood platelets or red blood cells.

Congenital Heart Block

Congenital heart block is rare and only about 1% of all births by lupus patients suffer from this symptom. Unlike the other neonatal lupus symptoms, congenital heart block is a much more serious problem, and will not go away by itself. There are two types of congenital heart block: complete or partial. If there is a complete block, the condition is irreversible. When there is a complete block, there is a 15% chance that the child will die before birth during the fetal phase. If there is a partial block, the physician may prescribe the steroid dexamethasone to reverse the blockage.

Congenital heart block requires immediate treatment. Infants with congenital heart block can develop an irregular heart rate, that may need to be regulated by a pacemaker. Congenital heart block caused by the neonatal lupus disease can prove to be fatal, with about 20% of all babies born with congenital heart block by lupus patients resulting in death.

Questions About Neonatal Lupus Symptoms

If you have lupus and are concerned that your baby may suffer from some of these symptoms at birth, contact your physician and speak with your obstetrician regularly. While there is no cure for lupus at this time, it is important you understand the causes and possibly side effects of neonatal lupus symptoms.


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