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What is Neonatal Lupus?

Despite its name, neonatal lupus is not actually one of the types of lupus – it is a condition in which the mother’s immune system affects the unborn child. The newborn may have a skin rash, low blood cell counts, and liver problems. These symptoms typically disappear after about six months and cause no lasting effects.

Congenital heart block, which slows the baby’s heartbeat, is the most serious and potentially life-threatening symptom. While very rare, newborns whose mothers have lupus have a greater risk for congenital heart block. Doctors usually detect the condition before the baby is born, usually between 18 and 24 weeks gestation. Congenital heart block does not disappear; affected infants will eventually need a pacemaker.

What is Lupus?

Lupus is a condition in which the immune system attacks healthy tissue.

Doctors now use testing to identify mothers whose babies are at the highest risk for neonatal lupus, and they can begin treatment before or after birth. Most infants whose mothers have lupus are healthy.

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