Women with lupus are twice as likely to have a child with autism compared to mothers without the autoimmune disease, new, preliminary research finds.
However, the overall risk is still low and the findings won't change the management of women with lupus, said one expert.
"I wouldn't tell my lupus patients not to get pregnant," Dr. Yousaf Ali, acting chief of rheumatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.
The study was undertaken to follow up on earlier, small reports that found that women with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) -- the most common form of the disease -- may have an excess risk of having children with an autism spectrum disorder, said lead investigator Dr. Evelyne Vinet, an assistant professor in the rheumatology department at McGill University Health Center in Montreal.
"We identified all women with systemic lupus erythematosus in a Quebec database and matched them to women who didn't have SLE, and we were able to see how many of their children were diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder," Vinet said.
Read the full story in Newsday.