Authored by Revere Health

How Kidney Disease Affects Pregnancy

February 28, 2017 | OB/GYN

Several factors can influence the health of both a mother and her child during pregnancy, such as blood pressure, age or serious health conditions. One condition that can affect a healthy pregnancy is kidney disease, or renal disease.

Because kidney disease affects pregnancy, women who have had kidney problems should speak with their doctor prior to becoming pregnant and assess other personal health factors. Here are a few important facts to consider if you’re a potential mother with kidney disease.


Factors in Healthy Pregnancy for Kidney Disease Patients

Things to consider before getting pregnant include:

  • High blood pressure: Blood pressure can rise during pregnancy, and sometimes lead to hospitalization after 28 weeks to monitor the fetus.
  • Stage of kidney disease
  • Overall health
  • Diabetes, heart disease or other serious conditions
  • Age
  • High protein content in urine
  • If you experience any of these factors, speak with your doctor before trying to conceive.


Stages of Kidney Disease

The stage of kidney disease plays a role in whether or not you can safely have children. The risk levels are generally split into two categories:

  1. 1. Stages 1-2 kidney disease: In many women, lower stages of kidney disease are mild enough that having children is safe. If blood pressure is close to normal and there’s no protein in the urine (a condition called proteinuria, which is a sign of kidney damage), the health risks to the baby are low.
  2. 2. Stages 3-5 kidney disease: More serious stages of kidney disease have a much higher risk. If there are problems present like blood pressure or proteinuria, or others your doctor may point out, it might not be safe to have a baby.


Dialysis, Kidney Transplants and Medicine

Treatment for kidney disease varies depending on the maturity of the disease. Here’s how some options can affect potential pregnancies:

  • Medications: Many common kidney medicines are safe for pregnancy, though some are not. These can change from case to case, and your doctor will tell you what’s right for you.
  • Dialysis: Women using a dialysis machine to increase kidney function are usually doing so because they have a low red blood cell count (anemia) and hormone changes. These can lead to several complications with pregnancy, and doctors usually advise against becoming pregnant.
  • Kidney Transplant: Kidney transplants replace damaged kidneys with healthy ones, and if they’re successful, pregnancy is still possible. As long as it’s been at least two years since the transplant and your doctor says you are healthy, getting pregnant is usually possible.


Birth Control

Women who have had kidney problems in the past, especially those with high blood pressure, should not use pill-form birth control because it can raise blood pressure. It’s perfectly safe to use many other forms of birth control with kidney conditions, though, and your doctor can make the right recommendation for you.


Male Kidney Disease and Children

Although men who have had a kidney transplant or are on dialysis may have fertility issues, there’s generally no risk to them fathering a child as long as they’re able to. Because some kidney conditions and medications cause fertility problems, talk with your doctor if you’ve been trying to have children without success.

If you’ve dealt with kidney complications and are worried about possible risks of pregnancy, speak to your doctor before making any final decisions. He or she can tell you if you’re at higher risk and point you in the right direction.


Obstetricians/gynecologists at Revere Health OB/GYN provide a full range of healthcare services to women throughout all stages of their lives including; puberty, child-bearing years, menopause.



“Pregnancy and Kidney Disease.” National Kidney Foundation.

“Kidney Disorders During Pregnancy.” Merck Manual.



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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.